Although rightfully considered prog icons, Rush were a testament to what happened when bands refused to rest on their laurels. In a career that spanned over four decades, the Toronto trio pushed hard rock into new and futuristic territory via an embrace of cutting-edge musical trends (think the zooming keyboards propelling “Tom Sawyer”) and elaborate concert staging. Guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee started playing together as Rush in the late ’60s, initially favoring a sound heavily indebted to Led Zeppelin. However, after drummer Neil Peart joined the band in summer 1974, weeks before Rush were scheduled to tour the U.S., the group began to explore more sophisticated arrangements and complex songwriting. An acolyte of the jazz great Buddy Rich, Peart took a methodical approach to drumming; in fact, his flashy live solos exhibited masterful rhythmic artistry. As a lyricist, Peart was equally meticulous and unafraid to challenge the status quo, whether he was crafting fantasy epics (“By-Tor and the Snow Dog”), critiquing suburban homogeneity (“Subdivisions”), or encouraging people to live in the moment (“Time Stand Still”). Accordingly, Rush also kept their sound updated, adding New Wave-friendly synthesizers during the ’80s, dabbling in hulking grunge grooves and funk rock in the ’90s, and concluding their studio recording career with 2012’s eclectic opus Clockwork Angels. The band retired from the road in 2015 after a successful R40 Live tour, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of their self-titled debut LP, and disbanded in 2018. Peart’s 2020 death from brain cancer effectively ended any hope of a reunion, but Rush remain the world’s biggest cult band, their music a source of solace for those who carve out a unique life path.
ORIGINToronto, Ontario, Canada