From great to greatest: RUSH ...before Neil Peart !
The rock landscape of 1974 included classic heavy-hitters such as: QUEEN's Sheer Heart Attack, DEEP PURPLE's revival in Burn and both debut by JUDAS PRIEST in Rock Rolla and the one-two punch of KISS's Kiss and Hotter Than Hell LP. While Great-Britain created the goods, AKA heavy-rock, the Great White North would soon follow behind with the to-become-heroes RUSH and other Canuck countrymen icons BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE !
RUSH was Geddy Lee on vocals and bass, Alex Lifeson on guitars and then drummer John Rutsey. Only one album was released under this line-up, before worldwide global phenomenon, FM-hits and decade long success ..it all started with a simple rush. Released in March of 1974, in a nutshell RUSH's debut-album is: meat & potatoes heavy-rock.
The driving riff of "Finding My Way" kicks-off the 40min celebration. All decibel-driven, you know you're in for a serious rocknroll exhibition from the second Lee's screeching vocals yell: "Yeah ! Oh yeah !". Then the foot-stompin' "Need Some Love" keeps the groove in check. On the progressive off-pace intro of "Take A Friend" the trio proves that, unlike some critics at the time ...this is a no-ZEP Zone !
The tearful "Here Again" is a emotional ballad that displays the up-scale musicianship of the Torontonians. Lifeson's dramatic lead-work shines at the 4:36 to 6:34sec mark. The very foundations of hard-rocknroll itself are benchmarked against the pentatonic power-house of "What You're Doing". The blunt guitar riff and saccaded echoed-vocals puts the heavy in heavy-rock ...no this ain't a BLACK SABBATH left-over !
The easy-going one-night-lookin' tell no lies "In The Mood" should be one of rocknroll required-listening tracks. The boys, along the cow-bell, are in the mood and in full control of the vibe. Cmon, in your wildest dreams, have you ever though today's Geddy Lee could have ran away with a line like: "I just want to rocknroll-you woman - until the night is gone" ...was Mick Jagger ghost-writing for this band ?
The slow intro of "Before And After" progressively starts and then the massive metal power-chord splits your eardrums apart. Heavy-drumming, heavy-guitars, heavy-bass and heavy-vocals: heavymetal before heavymetal ? this track is a cold hard fact !
There is no "Off-Position" on the genius-switch !!!
The album ends with a standing-ovation, one of humanity's greatest and strongest guitar-riffs ever. No not "Smoke On The Water", not "Sunshine Of Your Love" and not "Frankenstein" ...but the stellar: "Working Man" The ultimate old-school RUSH song, the anthem, the blue-collar rock-machine. "Working Man" is another heavymetallesque-piece crafted way before the term was widely used. Let that deep deadly E5-chord penetrate you thru every pore. A smoking mix of a monolithic riff, a solid drum-pattern and that voice, that voice that set them apart from the others, so much that this track is the key into the band being signed to a major record-deal that would eventually thrust them into rocknroll-stardom.
Fortunately/unfortunately, the Rutsey-collaboration would come to a rapid end in mid-74, opening the door for the creation of the ultimate continuum of the united immortal elements of:
E = mc2
(Lee + Lifeson + Peart) = mc2
Now universal icons throughout the milky-way, RUSH, the band and the album, are both 45 solid years of rock majesty, excellence and masterpieces.
Hail Canada !
Hail Rock-n-Roll !
Hail the working men !
Hail RUSH !!!
RIP John Rutsey (1952-2008)
Unboxed 40 years LP
Live in St-Catherines in 1974
February 15, 1975 - 2020: 45 years of: Fly By Night.
While some critics labeled RUSH as a mere LED ZEPPELIN-clone, with their debut in 1974's Rush LP, the Torontonian terror were bound to prove that there were not a mere fly by night.
Even before the touring cycle began, the trio broke apart. Drummer John Rutsey was let go, for his own good. His diabetic health was not ready for the rocknroll-lifestyle of the seventies.
Welcome Neil Peart.
Now on tour supporting their LP, a new-found camaraderie united and fused the three rebels. In Peart, Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee did not only got an amazing friend, but an accomplished lyricist and overall drum genius. And from there, RUSH 2.0 was born. Pushing away the blues-based classic-rock signatures, the unit was now more open for exploration and musical experimentation, that would be the band's trendsetting sound for decades to come.
The now classic anthem "Anthem" punches away hard as the opening track. Meaner and meatier, this one reeks heavymetal. Bigger and fuller production, make way as the steamroller is on full blast. The boys really did the "Best I Can" in this short 3:29sec to-the-point rock cut ...never a dull moment.
The folk-guitars of "Making Memories" are instantly addictive and the title-track is another riff-driven piece, that explores beautiful melodies at the 2:04sec mark, while the camp-fire ballad "Rivendell" is a beautiful back-to-basic acoustic soundscape.
The cornerstone of this fresh new record is explicitly displayed with the epic "By-Tor & The Snow Dog", an 8min+ showcase that would become the band's voice for future generations. Fast paced intro and groove that breaks apart into an adventure at the 1:46sec mark. Full on drum climax at the 3:50sec followed by the break-down riffing and dreaming away at the 4:41sec mark. The lead-guitar knocks on heaven's door at 6:28sec point, as the main back-bone picks-up again at 7:32sec. This ricochet-track sums up RUSH and their new beginning for this young band. Unparalleled musicianship !
The hard-rock solid Fly By Night LP cemented the band as a legitimate act in the exciting ever changing music landscape of the mid-70s. From great to greatest, RUSH would again challenge themselves and rock music as a whole with Caress Of Steel in late-1975 and then, with the universally acclaimed musical tour-de-force, the ultimate masterpiece and untouchable progressive fireworks of 1976's 2112 LP.
Now 45 years later, the Fly By Night era marks the precise turning point for this local grungy-band, to a soon-to-become worldwide phenomenon.
RIP Neil Peart, The Professor (1952-2020)
Anthem - video
Fly By Night - video
Live gig in 1975 - audio
September 24, 1975 - 2020: 45 years of: Caress Of Steel.
I think they're going bald !
Quick rock-fact: RUSH shaped the hemispheres of heavyrock not once, but TWICE, in a single calendar-year. On February 15, the cacophonous Canuck trio released the impressive Fly By Night LP, the first collaboration and ultimate incarnation of RUSH, featuring then new drummer Neil Peart. Six months later, with album #3, they are back, better and balder.
Moving away from the British pentatonic-rock standards, the boys were now fully immersed in a progressive-journey, that would make them rulers of the genre for 2112 years to come. ...press play and roll the bones !
The album is a two faced show of hands:
Three fast-n-short tracks that not only displays some commercial appeal, but also solid guitar-driven cuts. Frenchies unite on "Bastille Day", a rock-machine that kick majors-asses, oui, oui. The fat rocking funny titled "I Think I'm Going Bald" raises awareness amongst rockers to the eventual fate that awaits us all, while "Lakeside Park" is about a local area where Neil Peart once had a summer-job as a teen.
What started on the Fly By Night LP, with the epic "By-Tor & The Snow Dog" was once again displayed on the tour-de-force "The Necromancer". A full 12:32sec whirlwind rock-fury. After the snakey intro, red-hot distorted guitars welcomes you into the terrordome. Lead-guitars that defy the stereo-effect at 5:28sec and then all of the elements of Mother Nature goes into overdrive at the 7:01sec mark. No turning back ! The beautiful acoustic-intro of "The Fountain Of Lamneth" is disturbed by high-voltage amplifiers at the 1:42sec point of no return. The aggressive-progressive tempo reaches biblical proportion leading to the greatest drum-fill in human-history at the 4:17sec mark: "Didacts And Narpets" ...Neil (kneel) to your Master ! A voyage into the outer reaches of the musical spectrum, a complete 19:58sec saga.
Progrock is now official. Actual heavyrock immersed in progressive crescendos. RUSH is now officially a band to be reckoned with. Brits and Americans loudness-merchants were all in awe, trying to comprehend this untouchable musical craftsmanship ...45 years later, they are still searching.
Three's a charm.
Live in 1975
April 1, 1976 - 2021: 45 years of: 2112.
"Attention all planets of the Solar Federation"
Look up to the sky ...here comes the Starman, the ultimate rock star. Canada's pride and joy, hard-rocking and providing excellency since 1974's debut Rush LP.
The album that almost wasn't meant to be, as their label Mercury Records was tired of their lukewarm reception and the 9, 12 and 19min epics on their previous records. The Canucks lied themselves into one last deal: open wide. And just as rare as a 4-leaf clover, the band's 4th album is not a stroke of luck: it is a body of hard work of perfect cutting-edge rock music crafted by this trailblazing space power-trio.
Head towards the rising sun, on "A Passage To Bangkok", a suave rock guitar track with FM-tones. Light yet heavy, this band never disappoints. On the other side of the lightness, we dwell into "The Twilight Zone", a eerie venture dedicated to the morbid TV-show of the same name.
The folky "Lessons" punches away with Lee's stylistic high-pitched voice, while the melancholic and mesmerizing ballad "Tears" is sure to make you shed a few. The closing piece, the beautiful "Something For Nothing" starts-off with a classical intro but rapidly thrusts into a whirlwind of rock hard concrete.
And now to Side A.
Welcome to a full 20 minute trek into futuristic rock. "2112" is the ultimate rocknroll supernova. Then, now and forever !
The intro-punches rings aloud throughout the Milky Way, until the raw galloping rhythms sets-in at 1:32sec. Pressure builds-up until the total machiavellian ending at 3:35sec. Alone in the dark unto the discovery of this familiar stringed-device at 6:49sec. The lullaby slowly lits the room into massive heavymetal fireworks at 10:16sec, how can a trio be so loud ? "Listen to my music" Lee firmly commands. All cylinders glows at full RPM on cue at the 12:58sec lunch-pad where we all blast-off deep into the unknown. Lifeson's guitar-lead decapitates everything in sight and suddenly stops at the 13:52sec mark. The 14:51sec breaking-point reaches Biblical proportions, when Mother Nature collides with RUSH. Nothing is spared. Still alive and well at the 16:01sec point, where once again we oddly get to rest calmly next a forgotten river-side, for now. Final boarding, all aboard, the 18:18sec mark is our point of no return, as we forever leave this world. Distorted guitars, crushing thumping bass and Peart's thunderous drums, propels-us into oblivion, into the 19:46sec cataclysmic grand-finale, where all ends. Pure genius, pure madness.
"Alright will you please welcome home: RUUUSH !!!"
Alive, amped and afire, thank god all of this fury was immortalized to tape on the "All The World's A Stage" live in YYZ, companion LP ...we dare to ask again: how can this trio be so loud ?
Make no mistake about it, RUSH are the senior architects of rock, no band has matched this larger than life tour-de-force. Unique in the universe, the progressive-elements that started with 1975's Caress Of Steel LP would strike back with 1977's gigantic A Farewell To Kings LP. Make no mistake about it, RUSH are the EPCOT of hard rock.
RIAA-certified 3x Platinum, culturally, historically and aesthetically significant, 45 rich years strong, 2112 is the Mount Everest of progressive-rock that transcend generations and continues to inspire. Be patient my friends ...in 91 years it shall all make sense.
"We have assumed control - we have assumed control - we have assumed control"
2112 = full LP
All The World's A Stage = full LP
Live in 1976
RUSH's 1981 Moving Pictures is more than one of rocknroll's greatest album of all-time: it could possibly be rocknroll's greatest album of all-time !
Bold statement indeed, but when you take into consideration RUSH's clean track-record, their 40+ year career, the stable line-up, the FM-hits, the Platinum Awards, the respect from their peers from all musical avenues, the RnRHoF ...all of this straight outta Los Ange ....I mean rainy Londo ...I shout: from fuckin' Toronto !!!
From the rawness of almost heavymetal with 1974's Rush LP, evolving to 1976's 2112 futuristic grandiose ensemble, to Farewell To Kings's progressive prowess ...Moving Pictures is all of these fine elements, with a commercial twist, that brought the band to new heights: both musically and financially.
Jazz-rock ? soft-metal ? prog-rock ? AOR ? ...this trio has it all. We mortal humans are nothing next to Geddy Lee, Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson.
LIVE ONE LAST TIME
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