Rush

  • Progressive rock band formed in 1968 from Toronto Canada. Members are Geddy Lee (vocals, keyboards, bass guitar, songwriting), Alex Lifeson (guitars, songwriting) and Neil Peart (drums, lyrics).
  • Lifeson and original drummer John Rutsey were high school friends who decided to form a band in 1963, called The Projection. By 1968, the group included bassist and front man Jeff Jones, and they were renamed Rush. They performed only once with this lineup – weeks after Jones joined the band, he quit, and was replaced by Lee, who was a friend of Lifeson. They played at coffeehouses and high school dances, and by 1971, they were playing original songs in nightclubs.
  • In 1973, not finding interest in the band by record companies, they formed their own record label and self released a single, a cover of Buddy Holly’s Not Fade Away. They followed this with their debut album in 1974, the self titled Rush. It had a sound similar to Led Zeppelin, and it only had limited popularity in the Toronto area, until a Cleveland radio station discovered it, and started playing Working Man on their regular playlist. Its blue collar sound was popular with hard rock fans, and Mercury Records picked it up for national distribution. Immediately after its release, Rutsey left the band for health reasons, and Peart was chosen for his replacement, 2 weeks before their first U.S. tour. In addition to drumming, Peart became the principal lyricist for their future music, as Lee and Lifeson preferred to focus on writing the music.
  • The following year, the band released 2 albums – Fly By Night and Caress of Steel. These albums were more progressive albums, with long songs that featured complex arrangements. While they hoped for a breakthrough, these records did not achieve that – the singles did not chart in the U.S. or the UK. Fly By Night eventually was certified platinum, as sales improved in later years as the band achieved success.
  • Their record label tried to convince them to make an album that was more commercial – instead, in 1976, they released 2112, with the title track a 20 minute epic science fiction song containing 7 parts. Despite the obvious lack of commercial appeal, it sold well, with over 3 million copies sold in the U.S.
  • Pleased with their growing popularity, they recorded 4 albums from 1977 to 1981 that solidified their success as progressive rock artists. All 4 were certified platinum, with 1981’s Moving Pictures certified 4x platinum, and peaking at #3 on the album chart. In true prog rock fashion, singles from the albums hardly charted on the Hot 100 chart. But, several of their signature songs proved popular on rock charts – The Spirit of Radio, Limelight, and Tom Sawyer were released during this time.
  • By now, Rush concerts had become music experiences, largely due to the virtuosity of Lee, Lifeson and Peart. They attempted to have their shows sound like their recordings – a significant task given the complexity of their music. During their performances, they included an extended drum solo by Peart – a treat for their fans, as Peart is considered by many to be the greatest rock drummer of all time (Rolling Stone ranks him at #4). Lee and Lifeson are amazing too – Rolling Stone ranked Lee #4 on their Greatest Bass Players of All Time list, and Lifeson is ranked #98 on their Greatest Guitarist list. Lee is particularly amazing as he is a virtuoso on keyboards at the same time as playing the bass!
  • During the 80s, Rush’s music was more oriented to synthesizers. Four albums released from 1982 to 1987 all were certified platinum, and 7 singles managed to chart between #36 and #56 on the Hot 100 chart, with New World Man topped the Mainstream Rock chart. Other top 5 songs on the Rock chart were Distant Early Warning, Time Stand Still, and The Big Money. 
  • Rush returned to guitar rock songs for their 4 albums from 1989 to 1996. These album sold well, with 3 of them charting in the top 5, though only Roll the Bones in 1991 went platinum. Four singles topped the Mainstream Rock chart – Show Don’t Tell, Dreamline, Stick It Out and Test For Echo. 
  • After the Test For Echo album, the band went on hiatus – Peart lost his daughter in an accident and his wife to cancer. By 2001, he had remarried and was ready to make music again. The band released 4 albums since 2001 – the most recent in 2012. One album, Feedback, covered 8 songs that were influential to the band, dating from the 60s. It’s pretty cool – check out their cover of Cream’s Crossroads. Their last tour was in 2015 – Lifeson is managing arthritis, and Peart was dealing with tendinitis. In January 2018, Lifeson told the world that Rush was done. In January 2020, Peart passed away from brain cancer.
  • Rush has been nominated for 7 Grammy awards (but no wins), and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. While apparently they have retired, you can still enjoy Rush. They have produced 10 video albums, so you can still see their awesome performances. Be ready to rock and roll! Enjoy this brilliant band as they perform Tom Sawyer. WOW – could Neil Peart play the drums! GOAT!

4 thoughts on “Rush”

  1. Biggest RUSH fan I know! Saw Max Webster, Styx, Starcastle, and Rush at the St. Paul Civic Center in the Spring of 1977 for $5. My Mom went in to the local Head Shop Third Stone Music in Downtown Hopkins the day of the show and got me a ticket! She picked us up right after school, and drove 6 of us to St. Paul. We picked up at least 3 additional Hopkins North Jr. High School classmates that Scottie Stevenson promised a ride home, in a 1969 rusted out Firebird his Mom drove. 9, 9th grade boys, Scottie’s Mom, and his Grandma (Sat on my lap!) Seatbelts!!! Who needed em?
    Had the live album, All The World’s a Stage, and 2112. Been to see them over 20 times since then! Side note, Tracey doesn’t mind when I drag her to this concert, There is NEVER a line for the Ladies Room…
    Thanks for the memories Mark!
    Jim

  2. Awesome Jim. I was at the same show! Was billed as four bands for 5 bucks! That concert started it all for me with RUSH. Been to see the all over. Sadly not anymore. I thought I recall iy was a band called Starz and not Max. Either way. Awesome!

    1. Yo Scott! I thought I saw you there!!!
      I looked it up Starcastle it was. Starz opened for Foghat the following Feb. I also saw them open for KISS at the old Met Center. One hit wonder if that…
      05/06/1977
      Rush
      Starcastle
      Styx
      Max Webster

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