Canadian group’s legacy will never be matched
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
Disclaimer: I absolutely love Rush. I have “I Love You, Man” moments with fellow fans constantly. I listen to them every day. I’ve seen them live several times, and I came close to crying about a year ago when they announced they probably won’t be touring in the future.
Why do I love them so much? Quite simply, because I genuinely believe they’re one of the greatest rock bands of all time. They’ve sold over 40 million albums, and have more gold and platinum albums than any other group except The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. They’ve had the same members since 1974, recording albums almost consistently from 1974 to 2012.
And what a lineup of members it is. The most regarded is drummer and lyricist Neil Peart. He’s well-regarded by music fans and critics alike as being one of the best drummers ever. On stage, he plays with over 50 drum heads in a 360-degree setup that’s honestly unimaginable. He’s an amazingly intelligent man, shedding traditional “Rock n’ Roll” lyrics for ones about politics, science fiction, fantasy, and philosophy. Indeed, Rush’s lyrics are incredibly complex for such a large rock band, and several of their albums are full-on rock operas.
Rush’s complex time signatures and songs make it hard to believe there are only three members of the band. Lead singer and bassist Geddy Lee constantly switches instruments in studio and live mid-song, including keyboard and percussion. Many think Rush’s singer is a woman at first listen—he hits high notes unlike any who have come before. He’s been going strong for over 40 years, and has never lost his pitch, like so many other aging stars.
Alex Lifeson, while no doubt overshadowed by his bandmates, is still a pretty great guitarist. The solos on Limelight or Dreamline alone are enough to rival any major legendary guitarist.
Perhaps Rush’s most endearing factor is their genuine and unapologetic commitment to being Rush. Not once have they ever tried to adapt to mainstream rock or create a sound that’s not distinctly Rush. Nevertheless, their sound has evolved and changed with general styles of the time, and their 20 studio albums are each distinctive and experimental. Rush is Rush for their own sake, and it works.
While many Canadian groups come and go, forced into our ears through the CanCon laws, and even with The Tragically Hip’s legacy being celebrated more than ever these days, no one will ever have the impact Rush has had. Their fan base—in which I, of course, am included—has long term dedication.
There are few bands like Rush, and there will never be another quite like them.