25 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Over the course of four decades, the ubiquitous Canadian power trio Rush became synonymous with bombast, blending unparalleled musical virtuosity with high-minded and often high-concept lyrical ideas. Initially a Led Zeppelin-inspired hard rock band, Rush took their great leap forward when drummer/songwriter Neil Peart joined siren-voiced singer/bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson on 1975's Fly by Night, bringing his technical prowess and his philosophical approach to lyrics. The following year's sci-fi epic 2112 was the peak of their mid-'70s concept-album period. Their 1981 breakthrough Moving Pictures kicked off a decade that saw a turn to shorter, radio-friendly songs that were still densely arranged; that album’s “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” are classic-rock staples as enduring as any to dominate an FM station’s airwaves. Through the '90s and beyond, Rush turned back to a more guitar-centric sound, and their mass appeal never wavered or waned even as their releases and tours became less frequent, adapting with the times but never feeling tied to any era or trend. The band’s 40th-anniversary tour in 2015 wound up being their swan song: Peart died of brain cancer on January 7, 2020, definitively ending the run of one of the most distinctive and successful rock bands of all time.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Over the course of four decades, the ubiquitous Canadian power trio Rush became synonymous with bombast, blending unparalleled musical virtuosity with high-minded and often high-concept lyrical ideas. Initially a Led Zeppelin-inspired hard rock band, Rush took their great leap forward when drummer/songwriter Neil Peart joined siren-voiced singer/bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson on 1975's Fly by Night, bringing his technical prowess and his philosophical approach to lyrics. The following year's sci-fi epic 2112 was the peak of their mid-'70s concept-album period. Their 1981 breakthrough Moving Pictures kicked off a decade that saw a turn to shorter, radio-friendly songs that were still densely arranged; that album’s “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” are classic-rock staples as enduring as any to dominate an FM station’s airwaves. Through the '90s and beyond, Rush turned back to a more guitar-centric sound, and their mass appeal never wavered or waned even as their releases and tours became less frequent, adapting with the times but never feeling tied to any era or trend. The band’s 40th-anniversary tour in 2015 wound up being their swan song: Peart died of brain cancer on January 7, 2020, definitively ending the run of one of the most distinctive and successful rock bands of all time.

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