"The Big Wheel" as written by and Neil Peart Alex Lifeson....
Well, I was only a kid, didn't know enough to be afraid
Playing the game, but not the way the big boys played
Nothing to lose, maybe I had something to trade
The way the big wheel spins

Well, I was only a kid, on a holy crusade
I placed no trust in a faith that was ready-made
Take no chances on paradise delayed
So I do a slow fade

Playing for time
Don't want to wait for heaven
Looking for love
For an angel to forgive my sins
Playing with fire
Chasing something new to believe in
Looking for love
The way the big wheel spins

Well, I was only a kid, cruising around in a trance
Prisoner of fate, victim of circumstance
I was lined up for glory, but the tickets sold out in advance
The way the big wheel spins

Well, I was only a kid, gone without a backward glance
Going for broke, going for another chance
Hoping for heaven, hoping for a fine romance
If I do the right dance

Wheel goes round, landing on a twist of faith
Taking your chances you'll have the right answers
When the final judgment begins

Wheel goes round, landing on a leap of fate
Life redirected in ways unexpected
Sometimes the odd number wins
The way the big wheel spins

Lyrics submitted by shed27

"The Big Wheel" as written by Alex Lifeson Geddy Lee


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The Big Wheel song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentO.o;; Noone posted on the big wheel!? *Gasp*

    Always loved religious debates, so interesting... and this song works great with it to be honest. Only other song I can think of that goes into such depth on religion would be God Thinks by Voltaire.

    There is a mixture of both religion and love seeking though, one could argue it's looking to be loved by a higher power, i.e. God, or one could go with the reverse, that love itself is a form of religion and faith, one's lover being their angel.

    As such I'll cover both points of view:

    Love: As a love song, they start off as a child, just starting to look into the concept of love but not really understanding it, not able to play to a serious relationship yet. They decide to skip ahead of that and go for the real deal from the start, the whole "yeu'll get love when yeu're older" and after dating many times over just isn't worth it, nor are one night stands, or arranged marriages.

    Time goes quickly, but drags on so slowly as well; spend all the time looking for someone to truly care deep down, more than just the outer shell. As time passes, things go wrong in their life, they could've been rich, could've been famous, could've had a wonderful wife, but it all falls apart as it does to so many. The job doesn't turn out, the fame doesn't show, the love doesn't last. Still young, no reason to dwell on it, they get back up on their feet and go at it again, insistant to get it right this time.

    The wheel is circular though, as hard as yeu push it, yeu just end up going in circles and wind up back where yeu started. But at the same time, it means yeu have multiple chances to get it right as well; yeu learn from experience, in the end, yeu might just get it right, even if things have never worked out from the start before. Just have to keep trying until the dice land right.

    Religion: Starting out early in life, we're given religious views from birth quite often. A destiny to fulfill, a god, or gods, to worship, we can't truly grasp it at the time, even as adults the concept of even such a simple concept as "infinity" is beyond mortal comprehension, so to a child, did yeu ever TRULY understand religion back then? Most people can't even come close even when they do practice a faith, so really, this isn't unexpected.

    So the singer admits they have no clue whot to do, they don't understand, they can't comprehend a religion given to them from the start, they yearn for more, for something to believe in that isn't just hand fed to them. Too many people start off life as whichever religion, and never change, insistant that they know it all from the beginning. How can they all be right? Fact is, yeu have to give up on the idea that any organization can have all the answers. They can't. Yeu have to go out into the world and learn things for yeurself, seek yeur own god, in whichever form and shape they take. When yeu're given the option of heaven or hell, yeu can't just assumme yeu had it right from the start because yeu were born into it, the price of failure is too high, yeu have to know for certain.

    So yeu have to buy time while yeu do yeur research; yeu can't accept waiting for heaven, better to go for it now, try out things yeu shouldn't, perhaps carnal interests, perhaps drugs, cults, etc, anything that promises an easy out, be it in a bottle or in a lover's embrace.

    They get stuck knocked down, they could've had it all but things just didn't go that way. Is it their lack of faith? Perhaps, or perhaps their answer requires them to endure the trials they go through. To find the face of god is not an easy task, and many hardships will have to be faced along the way, regardless of which religion yeu belong to.

    Yeu try to make it on yeur own, give up on everything taught from the start and start over anew, a genesis of yeur own, hoping to get it right, that yeu'll finally reach heaven for real and not a passing bliss which doesn't last. Depends on picking the right religion this time, whether yeu get it right or wrong determines yeur fate.

    But really, does it truly matter? All the spokes of the wheel lead to the center, does it matter which one yeu land upon? When the end is near, and yeu have to answer for whot yeu've done, yeu can only pray yeu made the right choices, and the truth is that the answer may not be a single option... trying to strive for the right answer, and searching with an honest heart to get it right can be worth far more than just blindly accepting whotever yeu were given from the start. Maybe it was right, and yeu screwed up, but yeu tried, had yeu just accepted the 'right' answer for the 'wrong' reason, then really, were yeu deserving of the reward just because yeu lucked out from birth?

    Any god worth worshiping would prefer someone who made a mistake, and converted to another religion by TRYING to find the right answer, maybe they screwed up and picked the wrong one, but they TRIED to find the truth. And I honestly believe that those who just accept whot they're given from birth and never question that it may be wrong, will get nowhere. When the final judgement begins, it's not whether yeu were right or wrong, it's whether yeu tried or not.

    Maybe yeu chose the odd number, and maybe it was the wrong one, but yeu can still win regardless of that fact. When yeu're going around in circles in life anyway, it doesn't matter where yeu started, yeu'll always end up in the same place regardless. It's the journey around the wheel that matters more than the point yeu started at.
    Katsunion August 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhile we're on obscure Rush songs what about Need Some Love, Chain Lightning, the entire Test For Echo album.
    digitalmanon July 20, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionI can't stop listening to this song it's disturbing because it's not that good.
    digitalmanon July 31, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor me, even though it has the word 'heaven', I don't see this as a song about religion. More of a song using religious terms as an analogy for life. The 'big wheel' being the grind of life, always rolling forward.

    I see it as a song about a boy going about life in his own way, "Playing the game, but not the way the big boys played" & "I placed no trust in a faith that was ready-made" He want's to have a good life, and he wants it now (heaven being the good life) "Playing for time, Don't want to wait for heaven". And along the way meet someone who can see past his flaws (in this case flaws being the sins) "Looking for love, For an angel to forgive my sins"

    All in all this song fits the theme of this album, that life is a gamble.
    Jadakon April 08, 2017   Link

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