Remembering Rush – and Neil Peart

| March 21, 2020

The band Rush closed up shop in 2018 (they’d ceased touring 3 years previously). And it’s a virtual certainty that there won’t be a revival. The drummer and primary lyricist for the band, Neal Elwood Peart, died of cancer earlier this year; if I recall correctly, that fact was noted in comments to a recent Weekend Open Thread.

I had the chance to listen to some of their music while on the road this past week. In Peart’s memory, here are two cuts that weren’t released as primary singles (though a live version of one of them was used as a “B” side for a single released in the UK). Both are over 6 minutes in length; that could well have been the reason neither was released as a primary single.

Both tunes received significant airplay nonetheless. You might or might not have heard them before, even if you’re not a fan of the band.

IMO they should have been singles. They’re two of the best tunes the band ever did; in my book, they’re the two best tunes. The first is from 1981 album Moving Pictures; the second, from 1993’s Counterparts.




FWIW: while the lyrics of the second tune above – “Animate” – are often thought to be a commentary on male-female relationships from the male perspective (and work quite well from that viewpoint, actually), that appears not to be the case. Many if not most critics hold that Peart based the song’s lyrics primarily on Jung’s concept of anima and animus. I’m not sure if Peart ever identified his inspiration for the tune’s lyrics.

RIP, Mr. Peart. Thanks for the music, and for the memories. Hope you were in heaven a half-hour before the Devil knew you were gone.

Category: Pointless blather, Who knows

Comments (14)

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  1. Sapper3307 says:

    We lost our Gambler.

  2. 5th/77th FA says:

    Neal had to get there and warm up the crowd for Kenny’s arrival. They probably jamming their azzes off right now. Your correcto mundo on the lengths of the songs for air time. Many of the musicians had issues with the record producers that were trying to hold the play time to that magic 2:47-3:11 slot. God forbid that the entertainment cut into the commercial time. ‘Bout the only time you would hear the longer cuts would be late at night, on them long hauls trying to get back home, when the DJ needed a smoke/bathroom/booty call break.

    And Neal’s inspiration? Most probably, just like Provo and his privy…it sings.

    Thanks Hondo! Guess you’re home, safe, now.

    • Hondo says:

      Home? Don’t I wish. Still 1200+ miles and one more intermediate stop left. And the collective idiocy regarding Covid-19 is making road travel “very interesting”.

  3. Comm Center Rat says:

    I grew-up in northern NY State in the 1970s near the Quebec border and listened to CHOM-FM (The Rock of Montreal) which played entire albums of Rush. I saw the band in concert on their Grace Under Pressure tour at the Lake Placid Olympic Arena in Fall 1984. Red Barchetta was on the set list and remains one of my favorites. Rush is still one of my top 5 favorite rock bands. Neil Peart was a virtuoso drummer and genius lyricist.

    During this pandemic I’ve listened often to Witch Hunt from the Moving Pictures album (1981) for its brilliant relevance:

    They say there are strangers who threaten us
    Our immigrants and infidels
    They say there is strangeness to danger us
    In our theaters and bookstore shelves
    That those who know what’s best for us
    Must rise and save us from ourselves

    Quick to judge
    Quick to anger
    Slow to understand
    Ignorance and prejudice
    And fear walk hand in hand

  4. 2banana says:

    Time Stand Still…

    IMHO…Their best song.

  5. Devtun says:

    Neil playing in a big band setup in tribute to his idol Buddy Rich.

  6. Cameron says:

    My favorite song from Rush is One Little Victory which is included in Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2 and where I first heard it.

  7. marinedad61 says:

    << Retired drummer, and fan of Rush since 1976 (2112).
    A talented snare drummer and rock nerd at the time (age 15),
    I never believed in playing off of albums,
    until I backtracked,
    buying the older Rush albums, and heard THIS,
    the 1st song off the 2nd album (Fly By Night),
    the 1st album (and 1st song) with Neil Peart on drums.

    2 years later, I could nail La Villa Strangiato (Hemispheres) by memory.
    Thanks, Neil. RIP.

  8. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    A tribute to Neil by the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own”

  9. charles w says:

    Saw them in 1979 in Denver. Great show. I was turned on to Rush by the D&D nerds in the lunch room.

  10. 3/10/MED/b says:

    Thanks, Hondo, for “Red Barchetta”. I was 15 when I got that cassette (Hey, kids, remember those?). Could not wait to get my driver’s license and listen to music and drive to…anywhere.
    Peace to all.

    b out

  11. OlafTheTanker says:

    True Story, Neil Peart helped me graduate HS.

    I was a crappy student my senior year, not from being dumb, just a lazy 17 year old.

    My last marking period of English Comp I was in danger of failing, one of our last assignments was to write about being an object that was not alive, and describe going through a specific day as that object.

    The year was 1985, and the album Moving Pictures was still all the rage.

    I cleared it with my teacher first telling her exactly what my plan was, and she thought it was actually a brilliant idea as long as I didn’t cut/paste lyrics, I would write a story about BEING the Red Barchetta being taken on that drive in the song.

    That “A” got on that paper helped me graduate.

    Thanks Neil.

  12. NHSparky says:

    A lot of their work gets overlooked or worse, given short shrift. Some of my faves, outside the obvious choices:

    Best of their 90s work, from Roll the Bones:

    Then see below.

  13. NHSparky says:

    Between 2112 and Moving Pictures, Rush released what I think are some of their most overlooked albums: A Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres, and Permanent Waves.

    These two cuts are both from Hemispheres, and to me show how diverse they were becoming, both musically and even politically. Peart, while he didn’t complete high school, was still highly intelligent, and was exposed to the writings of Ayn Rand on his first move to London. His secular and libertarian views (he had plenty of criticism for both conservatives and liberals) shows in 2112, but also in the song, The Trees:

    At the same time, they found themselves leaving their harder rock roots and branching into more progressive areas, synthesizing being much heavier than before, such as in La Villa Strangiato: