Rush


Rush is a Canadian rock band formed in August 1968, in Toronto. The band is composed of bassist, keyboardist, and lead vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist and backing vocalist Alex Lifeson, and drummer, percussionist and lyricist Neil Peart. Since the release of the band's self-titled debut album in March 1974, Rush has become known for the musicianship and the virtuoso performance skills of its members. Rush's music style has changed over the years, beginning with blues-inspired hard rock on their first album, then encompassing progressive rock, and a period with heavy use of synthesizers. Over the first few albums their style remained essentially hard rock, but also became increasingly influenced by bands of the British progressive rock movement. In the tradition of progressive rock, Rush wrote protracted songs with irregular and multiple time signatures combined with fantasy/science fiction-inspired lyrics; however, they did not soften their sound. This fusion of hard and progressive rock continued until the end of the 1970s. In the 1980s, Rush merged their sound with the trends of this period, experimenting with New Wave, reggae and pop rock. This period included the band's most extensive use of instruments such as synthesizers, sequencers, and electronic percussion. With the approach of the early '90s and Rush's characteristic sound still intact, the band transformed their style once again to harmonize with the alternative rock movement. The new millennium has seen them return to a more rock and roll roots sound, albeit with modern production.


Rush has won a number of Juno Awards, and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994. Over their careers, the members of Rush have been acknowledged as some of the most proficient players on their respective instruments, with each band member winning numerous awards in magazine readers' polls. As a group, Rush possesses 24 gold records and 14 platinum (3 multi-platinum) records. Rush's sales statistics place them third behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band. Rush also ranks 79th in U.S. album sales, with 25 million units.


HISTORY

The original line-up formed in the neighbourhood of Willowdale in Toronto, Ontario, by Alex Lifeson, bassist and front man Jeff Jones, and drummer John Rutsey. Within a couple of weeks of forming, and before their second performance, bassist and lead vocalist Jones was replaced by Geddy Lee, a schoolmate of Lifeson. After several line-up reformations, Rush's official incarnation was formed in May 1971 consisting of Geddy LeeAlex  Lifeson, and John Rutsey. The band was managed by local Toronto resident Ray Danniels, a frequent attendee of Rush's early shows. After gaining stability in the line-up and honing their skills on the local bar/high school dance circuit, the band came to release their first single "Not Fade Away", a cover of the Buddy Holly song, in 1973. Side B contained an original composition, "You Can't Fight It", credited to Lee and Rutsey. The single generated little reaction and, because of record company indifference, the band formed their own independent record label, Moon Records. With the aid of Danniels and the newly enlisted engineer Terry Brown, the band released their self-titled debut album in 1974, which was considered highly derivative of Led Zeppelin. Rush had limited local popularity until the album was picked up by WMMS, a radio station in Cleveland, Ohio. Donna Halper, a music director and DJ working at the station, selected "Working Man" for her regular play list. The song's blue collar theme resonated with hard rock fans and this new found popularity led to the album being re-released by Mercury Records in the U.S.


Working Man

Immediately after the release of the debut album in 1974, Rutsey was forced to leave the band due to health difficulties and his general distaste for touring. His last performance with the band was on July 25, 1974 at Centennial Hall in London, Ontario. Rush held auditions for a new drummer and eventually selected Neil Peart as Rutsey's replacement. Peart officially joined the band on July 29, 1974, two weeks before the group's first U.S. tour. They performed their first concert together, opening for Uriah Heep and Manfred Mann with an attendance of over 11,000 people at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 14. In addition to becoming the band's drummer, Peart assumed the role of principal lyricist from Lee, who had very little interest in writing, despite penning the lyrics of the band's first album. Instead, Lee, along with Lifeson, focused primarily on the instrumental aspects of Rush. Fly by Night (1975), Rush's first album after recruiting Peart, saw the inclusion of the band's first epic mini-tale "By-Tor and the Snow Dog", replete with complex arrangements and multi-section format. Lyrical themes also underwent dramatic changes after the addition of Peart because of his love for fantasy and science-fiction literature. His lyrics were heavily influenced by classical poetry, fantasy literature, science fiction, and the writings of novelist Ayn Rand, as exhibited most prominently by their song "Anthem". However, despite these many differences some of the music and songs still closely mirrored the style found on Rush's debut.

By-Tor and the Snow Dog


Anthem

Following quickly on the heels of Fly By Night, the band released Caress of Steel (1975), a five-track hard rock/heavy metal album featuring two extended multi-chapter songs, "The Necromancer" and "The Fountain of Lamneth." Some critics said Caress of Steel was unfocused and an audacious move for the band because of the placement of two back-to-back protracted songs, as well as a heavier reliance on atmospherics and story-telling, a large deviation from Fly by Night. Intended to be the band's first "break-through" album, Caress of Steel sold below expectations and the promotional tour consisted of smaller venues, which led to the moniker the "Down the Tubes Tour".

The Necromancer

In light of these events, Rush's record label attempted to pressure them into moulding their next album in a more commercially friendly and accessible fashion. However, the band ignored the requests and developed their next album, 2112 with a 20-minute title track divided into seven sections. Despite this, the album was the band's first taste of commercial success and their first platinum album in Canada. The supporting tour for the album culminated in a three-night stand at Massey Hall in Toronto, which the band recorded for the release of their first live album titled All the World's a Stage. Allmusic critic Greg Prato notes that the album demarcates the boundary between the band's early years and the next era of their music. On the album, Neil Peart credits "the genius of novelist Ayn Rand" from which Peart borrowed the broad strokes of the 2112 song's plot.

2112: I. Overture / II. The Temples of Syrinx

A Passage to Bangkok

After 2112, Rush retreated to the United Kingdom to record A Farewell to Kings (1977) and Hemispheres (1978) at Rockfield Studios in Wales. These albums saw the band members expanding the use of progressive elements in their music. "As our tastes got more obscure," Geddy Lee said in a recent interview, "we discovered more progressive rock-based bands like Yes, Van der Graaf Generator and King Crimson, and we were very inspired by those bands. They made us want to make our music more interesting and more complex and we tried to blend that with our own personalities to see what we could come up with that was indisputably us". Trademarks such as increased synthesizer usage, lengthy songs reminiscent of miniature concept albums, and highly dynamic playing featuring complex time signature changes became a staple of Rush's compositions. To achieve a broader, more progressive palette of sound, Alex Lifeson began to experiment with classical and twelve-string guitars, and Geddy Lee added bass-pedal synthesizers and Minimoog. Likewise, Peart's percussion became diversified in the form of triangles, glockenspiel, wood blocks, cowbells, timpani, gong and chimes. Beyond instrument additions, the band kept in stride with the progressive rock movement by continuing to compose long, conceptual songs with science fiction and fantasy overtones. However, as the new decade approached, Rush gradually began to dispose of their older styles of music in favour of shorter, and sometimes softer, arrangements.

Xanadu

Cygnus X-1 Book I: The Voyage

Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres

La Villa Strangiato

Permanent Waves (1980) dramatically shifted Rush's style of music into shorter, less sprawling compositions. Although a hard rock style was still evident, more and more synthesizers were introduced. Moreover, because of the limited airplay Rush's previous extended-length songs received, Permanent Waves included shorter, more radio-friendly songs such as "The Spirit of Radio" and "Freewill", two songs that helped Permanent Waves become Rush's first U.S. Top 5 album; both songs continue to make appearances on classic rock radio stations in Canada and the United States to this day. Meanwhile, Peart's lyrics shifted toward an expository tone with subject matter that dwelled less on fantastical or allegorical story-telling and more heavily on topics that explored humanistic, social and emotional elements. Rush joined with fellow Toronto-based rock band Max Webster on July 28, 1980 to record "Battle Scar" for their 1980 release, Universal Juveniles. While on tour together following the release, both bands would join between sets to play "Battle Scar". The song acted as both a transition from Max Webster to Rush, as well as a warm-up for Peart. In addition, Max Webster lyricist Pye Dubois offered the band lyrics to a song he had written. The band accepted; the song went on, after reworking by Peart, to become "Tom Sawyer". Rush's popularity reached its pinnacle with the release of Moving Pictures in 1981. Moving Pictures essentially continued where Permanent Waves left off, extending the trend of highly accessible and commercially friendly rock that helped thrust them into the spotlight. The lead track, "Tom Sawyer", is probably the band's best-known song with "Limelight" also receiving satisfactory responses from listeners and radio stations. Moving Pictures was Rush's last album to feature an extended song, the eleven-minute "The Camera Eye". The song also contained the band's heaviest usage of synthesizers up to that point, hinting that Rush's music was shifting direction once more. Moving Pictures reached No.3 on the Billboard 200 album chart and has been certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Following the success of Moving Pictures and the completion of another four studio albums, Rush released their second live recording, Exit...Stage Left, in 1981 identified the margin of a new chapter of Rush's sound. 

Tom Sawyer

Witch Hunt (Part III of Fear)

Jacob's Ladder

The band underwent another radical stylistic transmutation with the release of Signals in 1982. While Lee's synthesizers had been featured instruments ever since the late 70s, keyboards were suddenly shifted from the contrapuntal background to the melodic front-lines in songs like "Countdown" and the lead-off track "Subdivisions". Both feature prominent lead synthesizer lines with minimalistic guitar chords and solos. Other previously unused instrument additions were seen in the song "Losing It," featuring collaborator Ben Mink on electric violin. As the 1980s continued, Rush grew into a phenomenally popular live draw as albums like 1984's Grace Under Pressure, and 1985's Power Windows continued to sell millions of copies, while hardcore followers complained of a sameness afflicting slicker, synth-driven efforts like 1987's Hold Your Fire and 1989's Presto


At the dawn of the '90s, however, Rush returned to the heavier sound of their early records and placed a renewed emphasis on Lifeson's guitar heroics; consequently, both 1991's Roll the Bones and 1993's Counterparts reached the Top Three on the U.S. album charts. In 1996, the band issued Test for Echo and headed out on the road the following summer. Shortly thereafter, Peart lost his daughter in an automobile accident. Tragedy struck again in 1998 when Peart's wife succumbed to cancer. It would be five years until anything surfaced from the band. Fans were reassured in early 2002 by news that Rush were recording new songs in Toronto. The fruit of those sessions led to the release of Rush's 17th studio album, Vapor Trails, later that spring. The single and lead track from the album, "One Little Victory" was designed to grab the attention of listeners with its rapid guitar and drum tempos.

One Little Victory

In 2006 Rush returned to the studio to begin work on a new album. The resulting Snakes & Arrows was released in May 2007. Rush's 19th full-length studio album, Clockwork Angels, arrived in June of 2012.

Caravan


BAND MEMBERS

Geddy Lee


Geddy Lee's high-register vocal style has always been a signature of the band and sometimes a focal point for criticism, especially during the early years of Rush's career when Lee's vocals were high-pitched, with a strong likeness to other singers like Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Although his voice has softened over the years, it is often described as a "wail". His instrumental abilities, on the other hand, are rarely criticized. An award-winning musician, Lee's style, technique, and ability on the bass guitar have proven influential in the rock and heavy metal genres. Lee is notable for his ability to operate various pieces of instrumentation simultaneously. This is most evident during live shows when Lee must play bass, supply lead vocals, manipulate keyboards, and trigger pedals during the course of a performance. Because of this, he is required to remain in one place during songs containing complex instrumentation.


Alex Lifeson


Instrumentally, Lifeson is regarded as a guitarist whose strengths and notability rely primarily on signature riffing, electronic effects and processing, unorthodox chord structures, and a copious arsenal of equipment used over the years. For versatility, Lifeson was known to incorporate touches of Spanish and classical music into Rush's guitar-driven sound during the 1970s. Taking a backseat to Lee's keyboards in the 1980s, Lifeson's guitar returned to the forefront in the 1990s, and especially on Vapor Trails (2002). During live performances, he is still responsible for cuing various guitar effects, the use of bass-pedal synthesizers and backing vocals.


Neil Peart


Peart is commonly regarded by music fans, critics and fellow musicians as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time. He is also regarded as one of the finest practitioners of the in-concert drum solo. Incorporation of unusual instruments (for rock drummers of the time) such as the glockenspiel and tubular bells, along with several standard kit elements, helped create a highly varied setup. Continually modified to this day, Peart's drumkit offers an enormous array of percussion instruments for sonic diversity. For two decades Peart honed his technique; each new Rush album introduced an expanded percussive vocabulary. In the 1990s, he reinvented his style with the help of drum coach Freddie Gruber. 


DISCOGRAPHY
(Studio albums)

Early & Prog Rock influenced albums


Rush (1974):
1. Finding My Way
2. Need Some Love
3. Take a Friend
4. Here Again
5. What You're Doing
6. In the Mood
7. Before and After
8. Working Man






Fly by Night (1975):
1. Anthem
2. Best I Can
3. Beneath, Between & Behind
4. By-Tor & the Snow Dog
I. At the Tobes of Hades
II. Across the Styx
III. Of The Battle
a. Challenge and Defiance
b. 7/4 War Furor
c. Aftermat
d. Hymn of Triumph"
IV. Epilogue
5. Fly by Night
6. Making Memories
7. Rivendell
8. In the End

Caress of Steel (1975):
1. Bastille Day
2. I Think I'm Going Bald
3. Lakeside Park
4. The Necromancer
I. Into the Darkness
II. Under the Shadow
III. Return of the Prince
5. The Fountain of Lamneth
I. In the Valley
II. Didacts and Narpets
III. No One at the Bridge
IV. Panacea
V. Bacchus Plateau
VI. The Fountain

2112 (1976):
1. 2112
I. Overture
II. The Temples of Syrinx
III. Discovery
IV. Presentation
V. Oracle: The Dream
VI. Soliloquy
VII. Grand Finale
2. A Passage to Bangkok
3. The Twilight Zone
4. Lessons
5. Tears
6. Something for Nothing

A Farewell to Kings (1977):
1. A Farewell to Kings
2. Xanadu
3. Closer to the Heart
4. Cinderella Man
5. Madrigal
6. Cygnus X-1 Book I: The Voyage








Hemispheres (1978):
1. Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres
I. Prelude
II. Apollo (Bringer of Wisdom)
III. Dionysus (Bringer of Love)
IV. Armageddon (The Battle of Heart and Mind)
V. Cygnus (Bringer of Balance)
VI. The Sphere (A Kind of Dream)
2. Circumstances
3. The Trees
4. La Villa Strangiato (An Exercise in Self-Indulgence)
I. Buenos Nochas, Mein Froinds!
II. To Sleep, Perchance to Dream...
III. Strangiato Theme
IV. A Lerxst in Wonderland
V. Monsters!
VI. The Ghost of the Aragon
VII. Danforth and Pape
VIII. The Waltz of the Shreves
IX. Never Turn Your Back on a Monster!
X. Monsters! (Reprise)
XI. Strangiato Theme (Reprise)
XII. A Farewell to Things

80's to present albums

Permanent Waves (1980)
Moving Pictures (1981)
Signals (1982)
Grace Under Pressure (1984)
Power Windows (1985)
Hold Your Fire (1987)
Presto (1989)
Roll the Bones (1991)
Counterparts (1993)
Test for Echo (1996)
Vapor Trails (2002)
Snakes & Arrows (2007)
Clockwork Angels (2012)