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Rush: Subdivisions: Mark Dailey: The Truth

** Update December 5, 2010: On the passsing of Mark Dailey, I've written an update for this article with the latest thought on the subject. I hope it may put the issue to rest.

More than ten years ago, I posted an item at correcting a "fact" in the Rush Frequently Asked Questions list:

- Neil says "Subdivisions" in the song of the same name, even though Alex is shown saying it in the video and does it live.
That's wrong. I've found who really says it.
If you live near Toronto, you know who he is. He's Mark Dailey, evening newscaster and "The Voice" of Toronto television station City-TV and also MuchMusic.

I'm thrilled to have first brought this fact to the Internet so many years ago ... and credit and thanks to Mike Wilner for the tip that sent me off on the research mission in the first place.

I spoke briefly with Mark about it back then, and posted a clip of him saying "Subdivisions". He confirmed it outright. Some still didn't accept it as fact. The story has sat idle, and the RealAudio sound is old and scratchy by modern standards. Besides, who likes using RealPlayer these days?
Here's subdivisions-dailey-1997-whole-from-ra.mp3 -- an MP3 version of the first RA file, which was mono, 11khz. I don't know if I still have the original master of the cassette source.

Well, I was going through my old Minidiscs recently and happened upon a follow-up chat I had with Mark Dailey in late 2002. It's provided me with a good opportunity to update the story and post some new audio -- this time in MP3, which wasn't the standard in 1997 that it is today.

Here's subdivisions-dailey-2002-whole.mp3 -- the new audio of Mark from 2002. Okay, strangely enough, he's completely changed his story. Now he's suggesting it's former Buffalo newscaster Nolan Johannes, who moved to a station in Pennsylvania in 1982. Is he trying to swerve us to preserve a sense of mystery? I think he's just joking with me. All signs point to Dailey as The Voice. I'm in the process of contacting Nolan Johannes to get his take.

Here's subdivisions-dailey-comparison-2007.mp3 -- a compilation clip with the following:

  • a clip from the first instance of "Subdivisions" in the original song
  • the centre channel isolated from that clip, to highlight "Subdivisions
  • Dailey from 1997 saying the word, with effects, then without
  • Dailey from 2002 saying the word, without effects, then with
  • the original song clip again
  • a centre-channel-extracted clip mixed with the 1997-with-effects clip for illustration

People have tried to edit the correction into the Wikipedia article about the song, but other editors have repeatedly nixed the change, even though the Mark Dailey article says exactly this.
I don't suggest using a "fact" on one Wiki page to corroborate a fact on another -- that's useless, circular logic -- but you're welcome to cite me, for heaven's sake. If I'm credible enough deliver the news every night, I'm certainly credible enough to quote on Wikipedia. Heck, my stuff has been used to support articles about Sam The Record Man, TTC's Lower Bay subway station, TTC's Lower Queen Station, and an article about Russell Oliver that has since been deleted.

I should also point out that some authors have accepted this reality. The book Rush Tribute: Mereley (sic) Players by Robert Telleria (Quarry Press, 2002)doesn't cite my web site by name, but says:

Contrary to popular belief, Neil does not sing the part "Subdivisions" (nor does Alex who filled in for concerts and in the video promo). It was actually Toronto newsman Mark Dailey's voice. (p. 181)

So ... can we settle this already? Mark Dailey says "Subdivisions" in "Subdivisions".


  1. Why would anybody give a damn about this???

  2. I do, jerkwad! This article and those clips have proven to come in very handy for me, thanks!

  3. Ha, Neil Peart said MY VOICE. IT WAS HIM

  4. Neil Peart says it was his voice. In an interview regarding the recent Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame induction, Neil says:

    "We all shared Jacob Moon's performance of Subdivisions quite a long time ago and sent it to each other, 'Hey have you seen this?' because it's such a beautiful cover. The imaginative way that he uses the little cassette player to get my voice in there. It's superb. And it is that kind of song. It's a singer-songwriter's song. I loved to see his version of it and I loved the idea that song has endured to his generation." ...

  5. Thanks, Anonymous and Anonymous. The fine folks at Power Windows tipped me off to this a coupla weeks ago. I'll be looking into it further and will post what I can find.

  6. An update on Mark Dailey will be posted in the next few minutes at the top of Please keep refreshing 'til it appears.


    "With his distinctive voice, Dailey could never quite escape the rumours that he was the voice in the chorus of the Rush song 'Subdivisions,' a myth he dispelled in a 2009 posting on Citytv’s website. 'That’s been an urban myth for years,' he wrote. 'It’s not my voice on ‘Subdivisions’ by Rush but I continue to get credit. I’ve tried to dispel it but won’t go away.'" -, December 6, 2010

  8. I have an audio cassette tape of a radio interview w/Geddy Lee that I recorded in 1982; Signals had just been released and Ged talks about the album. He stated that it was Nolan Johannes who said the word 'Subdivisions' during the chorus of the song.


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