One of Canada’s most successful musical exports, Rush, are currently touring to support the release of their latest Snakes and Arrows album. Having amassed hugely impressive sales over four successive decades, earning nearly 40 Gold and Platinum records while shifting an estimated 35 million albums worldwide, this progressive rock trio is showing no signs of giving any of it up.
With Geddy Lee (lead vocals, bass and keyboards), Alex Lifeson (lead guitar), and Neal Peart (drums), Rush have been as constant a success in the worldwide record industry as they have been a solid rock band since the release of their debut album in 1974.
With a lengthy discography behind them, Rush have always been about the album, not the single. An emphasis on instrumental skills combined with chief lyricist Neal Peart’s fondness for science fiction and fantasy-inspired lyrics, hasn’t always been especially pop or radio friendly.
Despite this, they have managed to score a number of hit singles through the years, including Limelight, Fly By Night, Tom Sawyer, Closer To The Heart, Spirit of Radio, New World Man, and Subdivisions.
Their music has proved popular as cover material for bands as diverse as Catherine Wheel and Audioslave, and Rush are frequently listed on other artist’s lists of musical influences. If you want a good introduction to the band and some of their more accessible material, their 1990 double-CD best-of release, Chronicles, is a very worthwhile purchase.
Discography (original studio albums only):
Rush – Mar 1974, #105 (US only) Gold
Fly by Night – Feb 1975, #148 (US only) Platinum
Caress Of Steel – Sep 1975, #113 (US only) Gold
2112 – Apr 1976, #61 (US), #1 (Canada) 3x Platinum
A Farewell To Kings – Sep 1977, #33 (US), #2 (Canada), #22 (UK) Platinum
Hemispheres – Oct 1978, #47 (US), #4 (Canada), #14 (UK) Platinum
Permanent Waves – Jan 1980, #4 (US), #1 (Canada), #3 (UK) Platinum
Moving Pictures – Jan 1981, #3 (US), #1 (Canada), #3 (UK) 4x Platinum
Signals – Sep 1982, #10 (US), #3 (Canada), #3 (UK) Platinum
Grace Under Pressure – Apr 1984, #10 (US), #1 (Canada), #5 (UK) Platinum
Power Windows – Oct 1985, #10 (US), #2 (Canada), #9 (UK) Platinum
Hold Your Fire – Sep 1987, #13 (US), #9 (Canada), #10 (UK) Platinum
Presto – Nov 1989, #16 (US), #11 (Canada), #27 (UK) Gold
Roll The Bones – Sep 1991, #3 (US), #1 (Canada), #10 (UK) Platinum
Counterparts – Oct 1993, #2 (US), #1 (Canada), #14 (UK) Platinum
Test For Echo – Sep 1996, #5 (US), #1 (Canada), #25 (UK) Gold
Vapor Trails – May 2002, #6 (US), #3 (Canada), #38 (UK)
Feedback – Jun 2004, #19 (US), #5 (Canada)
Snakes & Arrows – May 2007, #3 (US), #3 (Canada), #13 (UK)
Over the years Rush have become Canadian cultural icons, even crossing boundaries to become involved in the most unlikely of mediums for a serious band, such as spoofs and TV comedy.
Geddy Lee with Bob & Doug McKenzie (the infamous Canadian SCTV brothers), scored a 1982 hit with their anthem Take Off, and the Canadian comedy series Trailer Park Boys features a character with a Rush fixation. A 2004 episode of the show was based around an appearance by Alex Lifeson, who was kidnapped from his hotel prior to a concert and forced to perform a private concert in the trailer park.
Rush have built a solid reputation for incredible live performances and the band have released half a dozen live album recordings to support this. Currently on tour throughout Canada, this October sees the band injecting their special brand of rock to a European audience, kicking off with several dates around the UK.
3 Oct – Glasgow, Scotland – SECC
5 Oct – Newcastle, England – Metro Radio Arena
6 Oct – Sheffield, England – Hallam FM Arena
9 Oct – London, England – Wembley Arena
10 Oct – London, England – Wembley Arena
12 Oct – Birmingham, England – NEC Arena
14 Oct – Manchester, England – MEN Arena
16 Oct – Rotterdam, Netherlands – Ahoy
17 Oct – Rotterdam, Netherlands – Ahoy
19 Oct – Oberhausen, Germany – Arena
21 Oct – Mannheim, Germany – SAP Arena
23rd – Milan, Italy – Forum Arena
26th – Oslo, Norway – Spektrum
27th – Stockholm, Sweden – Globe Arena
29th – Helsinki, Finland – Hartwell Arena