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The Greatest Band on the Planet

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Sam Steiner

on 7 December 2013

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Transcript of The Greatest Band on the Planet

Eary Beginnings
Originating in Toronto, ON, Rush had a turbulent start. In August 1968 the original members, Jeff Jones, John Rutsey, and Alex Lifeson formed the band
The Working Men
Rush debuted the first self-titled album in March, 1974
In Peart We Trust...
Shortly after Rush's album release, John Rutsey quit the band for health reasons.
Alex Lifeson's Influences
The Who
The Greatest Band on the Planet
For the first six years, several lineup changes
included the likes of:
- Geddy Lee
- Lindy Young
- Joe Perna
- Mitchell Bossi

After several shake-ups, Lifeson, Lee, and Rutsey emerged as the first stable members of the band, and the saga begins
Their first hit single "Working Man" first gained traction by joining the regular rotation on WMMS-Cleveland
North Americans were drawn by Lee and Lifeson's hard rocking, Zeppelin sound
After travelling to London, England in search of musical success, Neil Peart returned to Canada and tried out for Rush
After some deliberation, Peart was accepted into the band, and the lineup was finalized
Fly By Night and beyond...
Over the next few years, Peart's influence became more apparent as Rush's song style became increasingly more progressive. Song structures became more complex and extensive.
Their blues-inspired sound
guided listeners through epic tales of fantasy and science-fiction, again heavily influenced by Peart
The entire second side of the album is dedicated to the epic track "The Fountain of Lamneth", a musical nod to J.R.R. Tolkien, legendary fantasy novelist.
Band Members
Geddy Lee
Born Gary Lee Weinrib on July 29, 1953 to Morris and Mary Weinrib, Jewish refugees from Poland.
Willowdale, Ontario, Canada
Alex Lifeson
Born Aleksandar Živojinović on August 27, 1953 to Nenad and Melanija Zivojinovich, Serbian refugees in Fernie, British Columbia, Canada.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
John Rutsey
Born John Howard Rutsey on July 23, 1952 to Howard and Eva Rutsey.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Neil Peart
Born on September 12, 1952 to Glen and Betty Peart in Hagersville, Ontario, Canada.
Hagersville, Ontario, Canada
Died May 11, 2008 of diabetes related heart attack in Ontario.
Geddy Lee's Influences
The Who
Led Zeppelin
Jethro Tull
Pink Floyd
Joni Mitchell
Jefferson Airplane
Jimi Hendrix Experience
Neil Peart's Influences
Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Phil Collins/Genesis
King Crimson
Todd Rundgren's Utopia
Pink Floyd
-- Rush into Mainstream --
1977 - A Farewell to Kings
1978 - Hemispheres
1981 - Moving Pictures
1981 - Exit...Stage Left
1979 - Permanent Waves
>Trademark Synthesizer usage
>Extended length concept songs
>Complex time signature changes
>New additional instruments
- 12-string and flamenco guitars
- triangles, glockenspiel, wood blocks, cowbells, gong, chimes
"Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres
+ Last side-spanning epic
- Lyrics heavily influenced by classical poetry, science fiction, fantasy literature, and novelist Ayn Rand
- After the album, Lee proclaims a shift in the bands musical focus on extended length songs onto new sounds
>Heavier synthesizer sound
>Reggae and new wave influence

"Spirit of the Radio"

Lengthy tracks continue to comprise the Rush style, such as nine-minute track
"Natural Science"
- Zenith of Rush's career
- Radio-friendly tracks with heavy rotation and popularity
"Tom Sawyer"
Heavier keyboard use in 11-minute track
"The Camera's Eye"
also laden with beautifully poetic lyrics
Decline of Rush's mainstream popularity as musical style shifts dramatically
The Instrument that Defined the 80's
Rush's heavy incorporation of the keyboards and synthesizer dominated their sound a the greater portion of the decade.
Signals (1982) - incorporation of ska, reggae, and funk. Features hit tracks including "Subdivisions" and "New World Man"
Grace Under Pressure (1984) - Peart begins to use electronic drums and percussion. Featured several popular MTV video tracks, including "Distant Early Warning"
Power Windows (1985) - Produced by Peter Collins. Lee's multi-layered synthesizer work becomes prominent, increased used of sequencers and guitar minimalism
Hold Your Fire (1987) - Lifeson begins experimenting with audio processors
A Show of Hands (1989) - Moved from Mercury Records to Atlantic Records and released their third live album.
The Guitar Returns
As the band exited the 80's, as did their dependency on keyboards, and the guitar came back to the foreground
Peart's lyrics focused on new subjects to include:
* the evironment
* emotion and human relations
* symbolism using meteorology, Earth Science, and celestial imagery
1989 - Presto
1991 - Roll the Bones
1993 - Counterparts
1996 - Test For Echo
The Final Chapter?
Rush took a hiatus from the release of
Test For Echo
in 1996, but returned in 2002 with
Vapor Trails

They have followed up with a cover album
Snakes & Arrows
Clockwork Angels
(2012), and
Vapor Trails Remixed

guitars (bass, acoustic and electric), lead vocals, keyboards, mellotron, bass and synthesizer pedals
guitars (six string, twelve string, acoustic, electric and classical), mandolin, mandola, bouzouki, backing vocals, bass and synthesizer pedals, keyboards
Drums, percussion, backing vocals
drums, electronic and acoustic percussion
Landed them with Mercury Records
Rush's "Working Man" ethic
raised them to international stardom as they have tirelessly toured the globe since the early 80's.
Don't believe me? Check out the size of that crowd in Rio de Janeiro!
Among the stars...
Between 1975 and 2012, Rush has received nine Juno awards, and have been nominated for 9 Grammys.
They have been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Harvard Lampoon, Canada's Walk of Fame, the CMW Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriter's Hall of Fame... and finally after years of neglect, they have been accepted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.
In 1996, all three members were made Officers of the Order of Canada, the first rock musicians honored as such
They have been awarded scores of awards over the years and continue to be recognized for their talent and creativity
With no foreseeable end in sight, the future is bright for Rush, the greatest rock band on the planet!

Jimi Hendrix
Led Zeppelin
Eric Clapton/ Cream
The Police
Another album full of colorful alliteration of futuristic, science fiction themes, and yet still very symbolic, addressing issues important to Peart.
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