Having survived more than 45 years in the music industry, the Canadian rock sensation Rush continues to rule the hearts of their massive following. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame power trio – Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart have set themselves apart due to their intricate instrumentation and lengthy musical structures.
Peart’s ingenious drumming, the blazing guitar riffs by Lifeson and Lee’s powerful vocals make Rush one of the greatest rock bands of all time. With 19 studio albums released till now, the band treated the fans to the boxed version of “2112: The 40th Anniversary” in 2016. In the last ten years, Rush has remained quite busy, both in the studio and on the road. Touring excessively, they have sold millions of Rush tickets.
Their 40th anniversary tour in 2015 featured a memorable, career spanning song-list for the ages. Will the band be touring again after openly declaring that the 2015 trek was their last hurrah? Music industry and the artists especially are known to be fickle. While at this point it may seem unlikely that Rush will embark on another tour, the same can’t be said about the individual members. Alex Lifeson seems quite eager to take the stage solo and even treat the fans to some new project.
Early Years & Influences
For the longest of time Rush was known to the music world as the biggest cult band. Originally formed by Alex Lifeson, Jeff Jones and John Rutsey in 1968, the first seeds of the band were sown in 1963. Lifeson and Rutsey, high school buddies started creating music as Projection, but later changed the name to Rush.
With just a few gigs in, Jeff Jones left the band and his place was filled by Geddy Lee. Taking baby steps, the three members honed their skills and regularly started performing in local clubs, as well as on the high school dance circuit. They tested waters by releasing the cover of Buddy Holly’s single “Not Fade Away” and it didn’t receive the response they were expecting.
But Rush moved forward with the motto – bend but not break. After not getting any leads from other record labels, they formed their own titled Moon Records and went on to release their self-titled album in 1974. Emulating the styles of the hit bands of that time, Cream, The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, Rush’s debut album managed to crack through the Billboard 200. Sure, it had its weaknesses which included limited track variation and unimpressive lyrics but overall it was a straightforward hard rock album.
Following the album release, John Rutsey left the band due to health reasons and even though he was missed, Rush continued with music making. Auditions were held and Neil Peart joined them in 1974. That’s when the band really hit its stride and Peart’s passion pushed Lifeson and Lee towards ambitious heights. The trio’s natural flair for strong hooks and intimate presentation turned Rush into a radio staple in the late 70s and 80s.
Breakthrough & Notable Albums
“Fly by Night” came out in 1975 and while it wasn’t exactly an outstanding album, it churned solid rock numbers like “Anthem” and “By-Tor & the Snow Dog”.
Shifting to a more prominent progressive rock sound, “2112” came out in 1976 and the band celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016 by releasing a boxed version. A conceptual piece, it was a commercial breakthrough and peaked at number 61 on the Billboard 200. Driven on heavy progressive style, powerful vocals and innovative songwriting, the album demonstrated Rush’s all around strengths. “A Passage to Bangkok” stands out as an upbeat number that also treats the listeners to Alex Lifeson’s stunning guitar solo.
1981’s “Moving Pictures” rose in the ranks and reached number three on the Billboard 200. Both a commercial and critical success, it’s one of the best releases by Rush. A complete package, it features superb musicianship, heartfelt lyrics and themes and radio-friendly hits.
The songs “Tom Sawyer” and “Red Barchetta” demand the listener’s attention, riding on guitar solos and pure emotions. In their 2010-11, Time Machine Tour, Rush performed the album in its entirety, which was a first for them.
Canada’s honored knights of all things rocking and progressive came out with their last album in 2012. Titled “Clockwork Angels”, it reached number two on the Billboard 200, setting a wonderful example of a band that through experience has remained relevant to today’s musical landscape.
Released after a gap of five years, it was a triumphant return which was followed by Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for lifetime achievement. Even though the band downplayed it, their biggest achievement came in 2013. After years of protests and rallying by the fans, Rush was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters presented them with the honor, stating that Rush achieved the success from the ground up. Their music has always been without any frills, no hype and definitely without the help of any mainstream press. “Their influence is undeniable. Their legacy is that of a band that stayed true to themselves no matter how uncool they may have seemed to anyone. I think it is safe to say that Rush are indeed a band that has balls. They’ve always been cool.”
On the release of Rush’s latest album “Clockwork Angels”, Lee stated that it is some of the best work that the band has ever done. And if it happens to be their last one and they are unable to make a record after that then it’s an album they are all proud of.
Rush Tour Tickets
Rush’s 2015 “R40 Tour” was announced as a farewell tour and it was a blockbuster success. While Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee are still open for selective touring, it’s a definite wrap for Neil Peart whose health doesn’t allow him to participate in extended outings.
The door is not entirely closed on Rush as they will still be making new music and perhaps join forces for few shows. This much is clear; whenever the band announces new live concerts, Rush tour tickets will be in great demand.
Rush has endured a lot and they are as unique as they come. Besides being incredible musicians and songwriters, Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart are also remarkable human beings. Throughout their run the band has remained true to themselves and abstained from chasing after commercial, mainstream success.
As the members crooned on the song “Subdivisions” –
Some will sell their dreams for small desires,
Or lose the race to rats,
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
Rush didn’t compromise on their beliefs – they learned, worked hard and lived their dream.