The Canadian progressive rock band Rush has captivated the hearts of music lovers for over five decades. Formed in 1968 in Toronto, the trio consisting of Geddy Lee (vocals, bass, and keyboards), Alex Lifeson (guitar), and Neil Peart (drums and lyrics) developed a unique sound that earned them a dedicated fan base and critical acclaim. This article dives into the most interesting facts about this iconic band, from their beginnings to their influence on the world of music.
Before Neil Peart joined the band in 1974, Rush was initially formed by Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, and John Rutsey on drums. Rutsey played on the band’s self-titled debut album but left the group due to health issues and creative differences. Peart replaced Rutsey shortly thereafter and took over lyric writing, which solidified the classic Rush lineup that remained unchanged until the band’s retirement.
The Band’s Name
Rush’s name was suggested by John Rutsey’s brother, Bill. The band members were searching for a name that was short, powerful, and easy to remember. Bill thought “Rush” fit the bill, and the name stuck.
Rush is well-known for its concept albums, with “2112” (1976) being the most famous example. “2112” tells the story of a dystopian future where creativity and individuality are suppressed by an authoritarian regime. The band’s fascination with science fiction and fantasy is also evident in their song lyrics and album cover artwork, which often feature futuristic landscapes and mythical creatures.
Not only was Neil Peart an exceptional drummer, but he was also an accomplished lyricist. He was heavily influenced by science fiction, philosophy, and classic literature. Peart’s lyrics often explored themes of individualism, libertarianism, and the human experience, earning him a reputation as one of rock’s most cerebral lyricists.
Neil Peart was nicknamed “The Professor” due to his highly technical drumming style and his scholarly demeanor. He was widely regarded as one of the greatest drummers of all time and received numerous awards for his skill and precision. In 1983, Peart became the youngest person ever inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame.
Rush has an extensive discography that includes 19 studio albums, 11 live albums, and numerous compilations. Their music evolved significantly over the years, transitioning from hard rock to progressive rock, and eventually incorporating elements of new wave and electronic music. Some of their most popular albums include “Moving Pictures” (1981), “Permanent Waves” (1980), and “A Farewell to Kings” (1977).
Rush’s Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
In 2013, Rush was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, after being eligible for nomination since 1998. Their induction was seen as long overdue by fans and fellow musicians alike, and they were introduced by Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins, who are both self-proclaimed Rush fanatics.
Rush officially retired from touring in 2015, with their final show taking place in Los Angeles on August 1, 2015. The decision to retire was heavily influenced by Peart’s health issues, which made it difficult for him to continue playing drums at the level he desired. Tragically, Neil Peart passed away on January 7, 2020, after a three-year battle with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. His passing marked the end of an era for the band and their fans.
Throughout their career, Rush was involved in various charitable endeavors. The band members often donated a portion of their concert proceeds to charities, including disaster relief efforts, food banks, and environmental causes. They also participated in benefit concerts, such as the Canadian Live 8 concert in 2005, which aimed to raise awareness about global poverty.
Rush’s unique sound, complex compositions, and thought-provoking lyrics have left an indelible mark on the world of music. Many bands and musicians cite Rush as a significant influence, including bands like Dream Theater, Primus, and Tool. The band’s legacy is a testament to their creativity, musicianship, and ability to push boundaries within the rock genre.
Rush remains one of the most influential and iconic progressive rock bands in history. With a career spanning five decades, the band has left an unmistakable imprint on the world of music. From their unique sound and complex compositions to their thought-provoking lyrics and humanitarian endeavors, Rush’s legacy continues to inspire generations of musicians and fans alike.