For Rush fans, the band’s ’80s era can be polarizing: People tend to either love the contemporary, synth-driven sound the trio embraced during the decade—or they long for the more experimental, prog-leaning ’70s era. One of the band’s critically beloved LPs from that era is 1985’s Power Windows, which featured “The Big Money,” a favorite on the 2013 “Clockwork Angels” tour.
Coincidentally, the video for that song features occasional glimpses of the same young man who appeared on the cover of Power Windows, Neill Cunningham. As it turns out, the now-52-year-old owns and operates the Toronto book and record store Pandemonium—which currently features an entire wall covered with the vinyl reissue of Power Windows. “How many record store owners get to sell records of themselves?” Cunningham tells The Toronto Star. “[The display] is hard to miss. I’m just having fun with it.” Later, he laughed, “I had to do the wall. You would have done the wall too.”
Oddly enough, Cunningham wasn’t a huge Rush fan when he ended up posing for the cover, an opportunity which came about after a nudge from friend Marcus Pearson, who was working for the photographer designing the Power Windows art, Dimo Safari. “Dimo had been working with Madonna, so I was all excited at the idea I could be on a Madonna cover,” he recalled, adding that they were looking for a “skinny blond” at the time. “When he said Rush, I was like, ‘Yeah, oh, all right. Not bad either.’” Cunningham ended up becoming a fan and even met Rush in 1986—“I didn’t have a lot to say,” he admits—and says he’s only been recognized once as the Power Windows figure by a stranger: “I denied it was me.”
(h/t Ned Raggett)