Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Rush is an award-winning Canadian rock band comprised of bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart (pronounced: 'Peert') that has been consistently recording since 1973. The band was formed in the summer of 1968, in Toronto by Lifeson, Lee, and John Rutsey (who played drums for Rush on the first album but resigned for health concerns shortly thereafter). Since Peart joined in 1974, they have remained intact. Lee and Lifeson usually write the music and Peart writes the lyrics, although every once in a while they will collaborate on lyrics or music.
Fans of the band argue that Rush displays a virtuosity and longevity rarely achieved in hard rock circles. Often considered the musician's musicians, Rush is known for their professional prowess on each respective instrument that they have mastered. They take an attitude of perfectionism into the studio, and this fact is made clear by the crispness and superb engineering evident on most of their studio albums.
Rush's musical style has changed greatly over the lifetime of the group. Albums prior to 1980's Permanent Waves are a mix of heavy metal and progressive rock similar to Yes or Genesis. Demonstrating their birth within the short-lived era of glitter rock bands, such as Alice Cooper or Ziggy Stardust, Rush were known to have flashy costumes and stage shows. 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) 1976's 2112 and 1978's Hemispheres. Many of their early songs received limited airplay because of their extended length (in some cases exceeding ten minutes) which were deemed unprofitable by station managers. One notable exception was the 3-minute "Closer To The Heart" from their 1977 album A Farewell To Kings, which was played widely on Canadian radio, due to its running time and Canadian content regulations.
Permanent Waves changed things dramatically. Rush felt they had taken the genre of lengthy, progressive-influenced music as far as they could or wanted, and began to opt for shorter, more compact compositions. Although the music was still based on heavy-metal style, more and more keyboards were introduced. The themes of the songs changed dramatically, and became far more in common with alternative rock than prog-rock. Beginning with Permanent Waves, their music maintained certain progressive aspects, such as an emphasis on playing and time signature changes, but melded those elements into a more accessible format that placed more emphasis on songwriting.
With Permanent Waves, Rush began to receive frequent airtime on rock radio stations. As a result, the album cracked Billboard's Top 10 and went platinum. One song in particular, "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 #3 on the Billboard Album Chart and has been certified quadruple platinum by the 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 accessible style that began with Permanent Waves, even to the point that their recordings in the later 1980s and 1990s have sometimes been derided as being too mainstream.
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. Peart's 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 travelled thousands of miles across North America. He subsequently wrote about his travels in his book . Rush later said that they came very close to disbanding during this period.
The band returned in 2002 with a surprisingly heavy and modern Vapor Trails album, their first without keyboards in over twenty years. 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.
The band was one of a number of hometown favourites 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 companion DVD won the 2004 Juno for best music DVD. June 2004 saw the release of Feedback, a studio EP featuring eight covers of such artists as Cream and The Who. In the summer of 2004, Rush again hit the road for a successful 30th Anniversary Tour, playing dates in the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands. It is rumored that the band is to go back into the studio to record a new album in early 2005.
Rush was nominated for a Best Rock Instrumental Performance Grammy Award in 2005 for Neil Peart's drum solo, “O Baterista” 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 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Debate
Rush themselves have noted that people "either love Rush or hate Rush." There doesn't seem to be much middle ground. The result is strong detractors and an intensely loyal fan base. Despite having completely dropped out of the public eye for five years following the loss of Peart's wife and daughter, and despite being relegated almost solely to classic rock stations in the U.S., their 2002 Vapor Trails release shot up to #6 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.
With such a fan base, it is not surprising that they were not pleased to learn that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame passed over Rush for induction in 1999, Rush's first year of eligibility. Since that time, the Hall of Fame has not nominated Rush for induction, causing more and more frustration as time goes by. The debate has become one of the hot debates involving the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as fans clamour extensively for the band's induction while the Hall of Fame voters steadfastly refuse. At one point, in an ESPN.com article introducing basketball star LeBron James to Cleveland just before James' rookie season in 2004, the writer suggested James be up to speed on the latest rumblings from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: "U2-definitely yes, REM-maybe, Rush-definitely no."
Rush's detractors associate the band with the progressive rock era of the 1970s, which they view as overblown and pretentious. Indeed, many believe that era to be the nadir of rock and roll. Rush's supporters note that their music was only of the true "prog" school from 1975-1979, a small portion of their thirty year history. They also point out that the critics seemingly ignore when Rush truly distinguished themselves, beginning with 1980's Permanent Waves and 1981's Moving Pictures, which they claim blended the virtuosity of talented players with strong song-writing skills in an accessible format. Additionally, these supporters note, Rush has influenced countless musicians and bands, from inspiring numerous people to learn to play their instruments to bands that have openly declared such influence, notably Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, and Primus.
Nevertheless, the issue remains unresolved. It is an issue that seems to be entirely between the Hall of Fame and Rush's fans, as Geddy Lee himself has noted that the issue "seems to be a lot more important to our fans than it does to us."
Original studio albums
- Rush (March 1974)
- Fly by Night (February 1975)
- Caress of Steel (September 1975)
- 2112 (February 1976)
- A Farewell to Kings (September 1977)
- Hemispheres (October 1978)
- Permanent Waves (January 1980)
- Moving Pictures (January 1981)
- Signals (September 1982)
- Grace Under Pressure (April 1984)
- Power Windows (October 1985)
- Hold Your Fire (September 1987)
- Presto (November 1989)
- Roll the Bones (September 1991)
- Counterparts (October 1993)
- Test for Echo (September 1996)
- Vapor Trails (May 2002)
Other studio records
Official live albums
- All The World's a Stage (September 1976)
- Exit...Stage Left (October 1981)
- A Show of Hands (December 1988)
- Different Stages (November 1998)
- Rush in Rio (October 2003)
- Archives (April 1978) – Repackage of the first three albums (Rush, Fly by Night and Caress of Steel)
- Chronicles (September 1990) – Essentially a "Greatest Hits" release
- The Story of Kings - Interview (1992) – Interview with Alex Lifeson
- The Interviews - Vol 2 (October 1995) – Interview with Geddy Lee
- Retrospective I 1974-1980 (1997) – Repackaging of best songs from their first decade.
- Retrospective II 1981-1987 (1997) – Repackaging of best songs from their second decade.
- (February 2003) – Repackaging of Mercury/Polygram -held songs up to Hold Your Fire (1987), not endorsed by band
Solo efforts of band members:
- Burning for Buddy, Volume 1 (Buddy Rich tribute album) – (Solo), Peart, et al (1994)
- Burning for Buddy, Volume 2 (Buddy Rich tribute album) – (Solo), Peart, et al (1994/-5?)
- Victor – (Solo), Lifeson, et al (1996)
- My Favorite Headache – (Solo), Lee, et al (November 2000)
- Drum Techniques of Rush – Peart (1985) – ISBN 0769250556
- More Drum Techniques of Rush – Peart, Wheeler (1989) – ISBN 0769250513
- – Price, et al. (1999) – ISBN 1587151022
- – Peart (1999) – ISBN 1895900026
- – Peart (2002) – ISBN 1550225464 (hardcover), ISBN 1550225480 (paperback)
- – Telleria (2002) – ISBN 1550822713
- – Steve Gett (1984) – ISBN 0895242303
- – Peart (2004) – ISBN 1550226649
Rush has received many awards during their career.
Rush has been awarded the following Juno awards:
- 1974 Most promising group of the year
- 1977 Group of the year
- 1978 Group of the year
- 1991 Best Heavy Metal Album
- 1991 Best album cover - Presto
- 1992 Best Hard Rock Album
- 1992 Best album cover - Roll the Bones
- 2004 Music DVD of the year - "Rush in Rio"
- 1982 Runner-up in Best Rock Instrumental
- "YYZ" - beat by The Police's "Behind My Camel"
- 1992 Runner-up in Best Rock Instrumental
- "Where's My Thing" - beat by Eric Johnson's "Cliffs of Dover"
- 2004 Nomination in Best Rock Instrumental Performance
- "O Baterista" from Rush In Rio Lost to Brian Wilson's "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow"
- Geddy Lee is in the Bass Hall of Fame for Guitar Player Magazine
- (he has won Best Rock Bass more than 5 times).
- Geddy Lee won "best Rock Bass player" in the 1993 "Bass Player" readers' poll. - Alex Lifeson won Best Rock Talent in 1983 (I assume that it's on the same mag), and he was inducted into the Guitar for the Practicing Musician Hall of Fame in May of 1991. Neil Peart has received the following awards in the Modern Drummer magazine reader's poll:
- Hall of Fame: 1983
- Best Rock Drummer: 1980,1981,1982,1983,1984,1985
- Best Multi-Percussionist: 1983,1984,1985,1986
- Best Percussion Instrumentalist: 1982
- Most Promising New Drummer: 1980
- Best All Around: 1986
- Best Recorded Performance: 1981: Moving Pictures
- 1982: Exit... Stage Left
- 1983: Signals
- 1985: Grace Under Pressure
- 1986: Power Windows
- 1988: Hold Your Fire
- 1989: A Show of Hands
- 1990: Presto
- 1992: Roll The Bones
- 1986 Honor Roll: Rock Drummer, Multi-Percussion
- Power Windows - a Rush tribute site
- Counterparts Rush Fan Website
- www.rushmessageboard.com (requires registration)
- The Rush Forum
- Rush Tablature Project
- Rush @ MusicWiki
- RushRadio.org - a 24/7 Rush Internet radio station
- Rush MIDI
- All Music Guide
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