In December 1974, Rush recorded their second album Fly by Night with their new drummer, Neil Peart. With the addition of The Professor, "suddenly, it was a very different band" said Geddy Lee. "Once we had Neil with us, so much changed in the way we wrote music and the way we presented it. And from that point on, it felt like we could do anything..." Alex Lifeson agreed, "in many ways, the second album felt like a new start for the band."
"One of the first lyrics I submitted to Alex and Geddy was 'Fly By Night,' and when the time came to make our first album together, we decided that was a good title. (Our other candidate was Aurora Borealis, so we probably made the better choice.) As a bird lover since childhood, I remembered an illustration of a snowy owl swooping down toward the viewer with fierce eyes, and I suggested an image like that for the cover, maybe with the northern lights in the background. It fell to me to talk on the phone to the record company artist in Chicago, and try to describe this picture in words. In the same way that writing those few lyrics for the band would lead to me becoming the band's chief wordsmith, that phone conversation led to me becoming the 'graphic arts supervisor.'" - Neil Peart