For a three piece band check out these credentials: Drummer Neal Peart is widely considered one of the most influential musicians of all-time. Famous for playing the drums with the sticks held backward to avoid breaking them, Neal was also the main lyricist for Rush. Guitarist Alex Lifeson was ranked #3 on the list of greatest rock guitarists in a poll by Guitar World Magazine. And last but not least, lead singer Geddy Lee’s voice is one of most distinctive ever. Hit Parader Magazine ranks Geddy at #13 all-time and his skill on the bass guitar has influenced greats like Cliff Burton (Metallica) and Les Claypool (Primus). Put this trio together and you have a true all-star band.
After a decade of Progressive rock albums that featured outrageously long epic tracks some even reaching up to 20 minutes a song, the band saw their first huge success in the U.S. with their 7th album, Permanent Waves. Only six tracks long and spanning less than 37 minutes total, the Canadian rockers released a more radio-friendly sound including two singles (something unheard of for the band in their previous years). Side One featured the hits: 1. The Spirit of Radio 2. Freewill and the ominous Biblical track 3. Jacob’s Ladder. “Spirit Of Radio” actually incorporates reggae influences and “Freewill” became one of rock radio’s most played songs of 1980.
THE SPIRIT OF RADIO
When you flipped the album over, Permanent Waves, brought back a little of the 70’s Rush sound to appease their fans. Concert staple 4. Entre Nous and 5. Different Strings set the stage for the epic 6th Track “Natural Science”. Clocking in at almost 10 minutes long, Rush combined three mini-songs into one progressive rock medley: I. Tide Pool II. Hyperspace and III. the title track. The album reached as high as #4 on the Billboard Album Charts. But more significantly, Rush was now seen as more commercial band in the eyes of radio listeners. Their concert audience grew younger and multiplied quickly. By the time they were ready for the 8th album, “Moving Pictures”, Rush was achieving mainstream success with their first multi-platinum release.