“We’d like to play some rock and roll now.” Those words coming from Geddy Lee’s mouth back in 1974 at the Cleveland Agora sum up why this once 12 year old, now 51, still listens to Rush today. As I mentioned in an earlier blog , I was a fan of Rush when most people had no idea who they were.
During my younger days, if I set my transistor radio at precisely the right angle on my bedroom window, I could tune in WMMS, a radio station from Cleveland. As a result, I heard “Working Man” well before most of my friends. I took pride in my discovery, even if my friends thought Rush was weird.
Air drumming all the time and trying to sing as high as Geddy Lee probably only furthered the weirdness factor. But I really didn’t care. Which is probably why I liked Rush somewhat instinctively. They never really seemed to care what others thought about their music.
Of course I was drawn to Neil Peart . He was a drummer and so was I. Initially, I was drawn to the look of his drum set. This quickly progressed to the type of gear he used, then his style of drumming, and finally how to emulate his sound.
After all of this, I believe that Neil’s greatest influence upon most people is not his playing, but his writing. Contributing song lyrics and writing non-fiction books, Neil Peart has made his art attainable by all.
Below are some of his greatest lyrical moments:
1. “It is the fire that ignites itself but it burns with a restless flame.” Cut to the Chase from Counterparts. A song about motivation and the difference one person can make.
2. “You can be the captain and I will draw the charts.” Closer to the Heart from A Farewell to Kings. All about working together to get life right.
3. “Suddenly you were gone from all the lives you left your mark upon.” Afterimage from Grace Under Pressure. Remembering a friend…
4. “Quick to judge, quick to anger, slow to understand.” Witch Hunt from Moving Pictures. Not tolerating ignorance, prejudice or fear. Something everyone can learn.
5. “I will choose freewill.” Free Will from Permanent Waves. Enough said.
6. “Got to pick up the pace, if you want to stay in the race.” Marathon from Power Windows. As a runner, really good advice but of course the song isn’t really about running. But it might be.
7. “Dressed in flowing hair. Go wild.” I Think I’m Going Bald from Caress of Steel. Done both of those, sometimes at the same time. How simple yet exciting can life be?
8. “Steer the airship right across the stars.” Headlong Flight from Clockwork Angels. I wanted to do that when I was 12 and I still do at 51.
Naturally, one line from a lyric doesn’t make a song. If you dig deep, you’ll find that Neil has a lyric for everyone. What’s your favorite Rush lyric?