255: RUSH

With an active career spanning over 40 years (particularly as the holy trinity of Lee, Lifeson, and Peary from 1974 onwards) Rush are one of the most influential progressive rock bands of all time.

Their unfettered experimentation in the rock realm helped pioneer concept albums, lengthy tracks, and synthesisers in prog rock. They also delved into heavy metal at times, helping foster the birth of prog metal.

The most important factor in Rush’s success it’s 3 core members, with the lineup that was cemented in 1974.

Geddy Lee’s vocals are iconic and instantly recognisable. Early in, his unique voice was a point of contention, and polarising with some listeners. However, it wasn’t long before it because evident that Lee’s voice was a key part of that incredible Rush sound. Lee’s skill as a bass player is outstanding and he is considered one of the best rock bassists of all time. Many bassists have been influenced by his techniques, notably Les Claypool.

Alex Lifeson’s guitar style has evolved considerably through the years. As synthesisers became more prevalent in Rush’s music in the 80s, Lifeson began working with more effects and processing styles, essentially rethinking the guitar’s role in Rush’s music.

Finally, Neal Peart – consistently by fans, critics, and publications as the greatest rock drummer of all time. Peart’s constant expansion of his own percussive vocabulary with each Rush album revolutionised drumming in rock – especially prog rock. By incorporating unconventional elements to his kit (such as tubular bells and a glockenspiel) Peart was able to greatly expand the possibilities for what a drummer could do.

Rush just happened to consist of 3 of the most skilled musicians on Earth with their respective instruments, who were able to make culturally relevant music in five different decades. Every time they would help to steward the prog rock scene at the time, while still managing to be in an exclusive field of one. They would manage to influence countless bands throughout a 50 year period, yet always were held above everyone else.

Because any band can be inspired by Rush, but only one band could be Rush.