Rush is a Canadian progressive rock band comprised of bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Geddy Lee (formerly Gary Weinrib), guitarist Alex Lifeson (real name Alexander Zivojinovich), and drummer Neil Peart (pronounced "Peert") who recorded their first album in 1974. The band was formed in the summer of 1968, in Sarnia, Ontario, by Lifeson, Lee, and John Rutsey (who played drums for Rush on the first album but resigned for health concerns). They soon moved to Toronto to further their career. Peart joined in 1974, to complete the present lineup. Lee and Lifeson usually write the music and Peart writes the lyrics, because the other two can't spell, although every once in a while they will collaborate on lyrics or music. Rush has been awarded the Juno Award (Canada's equivalent of the Grammy Award) on numerous occasions. Additionally, Lee, Lifeson, and Peart are all Officers of the Order of Canada.
Rush's musical style has changed substantially over the lifetime of the group. Their debut album is somewhat derivative of the British rock band Led Zeppelin, but over the first few albums their style progressed eclectically, influenced by the British progressive rock movement in particular, but maintaining a hard rock ethos at its core. The lyrics of that time were heavily influenced by science fiction and, in a few cases, the writings and philosophy of Ayn Rand, as exhibited most prominently by 1975's Anthem (named after Rand's novel) and 1976's 2112. Many of their early songs received limited airplay because of their extended length (in some cases exceeding ten minutes); one notable exception was the three-minute "Closer to the Heart" from their 1977 album, A Farewell to Kings, which was played widely on Canadian radio.
Permanent Waves (1980) changed things dramatically. Rush felt they had taken the long-form song format as far as they could or wanted, and began to opt for shorter songs that still retained their trademark musicianship and complexity. Although a hard rock style was still evident, more and more keyboards were introduced. Lyrical themes changed markedly, beginning to rely much less on science-fiction imagery. Lengthy songs did make a few final appearances in this period, in the form of "Jacob's Ladder", "Natural Science" and "The Camera Eye". It should be noted, however, that many of the band's songs would continue to clock in at five or six minutes, still just outside of mainstream music convention. At this point, Rush began to receive frequent airtime on rock radio stations. As a result, Permanent Waves cracked Billboard's Top Ten and went platinum. One song in particular, "The Spirit of Radio" (named for the Toronto-local groundbreaking radio station, CFNY), went on to become a huge hit on the alternative circuit.
Rush's popularity hit its zenith with the release of Moving Pictures in 1981. The lead track, "Tom Sawyer", is perhaps the band's best known song, and Geddy Lee has referred to it as "the quintessential Rush song". Moving Pictures shot up to number three on the Billboard Album Chart and has been certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). "Tom Sawyer" can be heard frequently on American classic rock stations to this day.
From that point on, their albums of the 1980s tended to incorporate more keyboards and stuck to the style that began with Permanent Waves, such that their recordings in the later 1980s and early 1990s are markedly different from their earlier work. After the "synthesizer period" of 1982-1991, the band largely dropped synthesizer-style keyboard sounds from their studio recordings in favor of more organic keyboard sounds, such as strings and organ. This, coupled with a return of more heavily guitar-driven songs, began with the well-received 1993 album Counterparts. Each of the three individual artists has produced and released work independent of the band's structure, to varying degrees of commercial and critical success.
After 1996's Test for Echo, the band entered a six-year hiatus due mainly to personal tragedies in Peart's life. His daughter, Selena, died in a car accident in August 1997, followed by his wife, Jacqueline's death from cancer in June 1998. Peart embarked on a self-described "healing journey" by motorcycle in which he traveled thousands of kilometers across North America. He subsequently wrote about his travels in his book, Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road. Rush later said that they came very close to disbanding during this period.
The band returned in 2002 with the surprisingly heavy, modern, progressive and badly produced Vapor Trails album. The album contains the song, "Ghost Rider", describing Peart's motorcycle journey. It debuted to moderate praise and was supported by the band's first tour in six years, including first-ever concerts in Mexico City and Brazil, where they played to some of the largest crowds of their career.
The band was one of a number of hometown favorites to play the SARS relief concert (dubbed SARStock) at Downsview Park in Toronto in August 2003, with an attendance of over half a million people. Also in 2003, Alex Lifeson appeared in the highly successful Canadian mockumentary, Trailer Park Boys. Rush also played for CBC's 2004 tsunami relief telethon, along with Ed Robertson (of the Barenaked Ladies) and Mike Smith (Bubbles) from Trailer Park Boys.
A live album, Rush in Rio, was released in late October 2003. The DVD, which it accompanied, won the 2004 Juno for best music DVD. Feedback, a studio EP featuring eight covers of such artists as Cream and The Who, was released in June 2004.
In the summer of 2004, Rush again hit the road for a very successful 30th Anniversary Tour, playing dates in the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands. Rush was nominated for a Best Rock Instrumental Performance Grammy Award in 2005 for Neil Peart's drum solo, "O Baterista" (portuguese for The Miserable Drummer) from the album Rush in Rio, but lost to Brian Wilson's "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow". The band has so far had three Grammy Award nominations, all for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
The members of Rush have themselves noted that people "either love Rush or hate Rush", resulting in strong detractors and an intensely loyal fan base. Despite having completely dropped out of the public eye for five years following Peart's loss of his wife and daughter, and the band's being relegated almost solely to classic rock stations in the U.S., the 2002 Vapor Trails release shot up to number six on the Billboard Chart in its first week of release. The subsequent Vapor Trails tour grossed over $24 million and included the largest audience ever to see a Rush show - 60,000 fans in Sao Paulo. The following year, the band released Rush in Rio, which the RIAA has certified gold, marking the fourth decade in which a Rush
album had been released and certified at least gold.
Anthem/Atlantic recording group Rush
return with its first new collection of original material in nearly five years, entitled Snakes & Arrows
. The album was recorded in the fall of 2006 with Grammy Award-winner Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters
, Velvet Revolver
) and Rush
co-producing. "It's hard to describe," stated Geddy Lee. "It's big, it's bold, and I think it's some of the best work we've done in years. I'm really pleased with the quality ofthe songs, and there's lots of playing on it. " Rush
- Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart - will trumpet the release of Snakes & Arrows
with a full-scale North American tour, the renowned trio's first since 2004's An Evening with Rush: 30th Anniversary Tour
Legendary rock band Rush has unveiled details of its 2012 album, Clockwork Angels. The recording of Clockwork Angels began with Grammy award-winner Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Deftones) who collaborated with the band on their 2007 studio album, Snakes and Arrows - and Rush co-producing. Lyrically, Clockwork Angels chronicles a young manís quest across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy as he attempts to follow his dreams. The story features lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnival, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life. With more than 40 million records sold worldwide and countless sold-out tours, Rush - Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart - is not only one of the most inventive and compelling groups in rock history, but remains one of the most popular.