It's a big step for the Hall to allow the fans to push them over the edge. Next stop, Kiss? Bachman-Turner Overdrive? GFR???
Rush have been great sports about every critic in the land once making fun of them. The money helps, I'm sure. A new generation of critics who grew up spending their teenage years trying to unravel the rhythms of "YYZ" have come on the scene and the jokes have become fewer and that documentary Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage allowed musicians to pay homage, too.
Even a doubter must admit that Rush continue to tour and record with the same high standards and precision of their earlier work. 2012's Clockwork Angels is surely a more exciting experience for Rush fans than whatever most veteran bands are giving to their fans these days.
Anyhow, I've picked out 25 tracks that cover the band's broad spectrum. Surely, go over to Spotify and check them out. But this is one band you'll want to listen to in the best format possible. Fidelity counts!
24) Working Man: John Rutsey! John Rutsey! John Rutsey! But it was not to be and their first drummer left and opened the door for Neil Peart! Which is a bit like Pete Best leaving a seat open for Ringo Starr, except we don't have a debut album from the Beatles with Best playing on it. And we also don't have countless albums like The Rush Member That Time Forgot or Rutsey's Rush! cluttering up the cut-out bins. There aren't any more cutout bins!
22) Bastille Day: The production on these early Rush albums guarantees the riffs fall a little flat. Imagine what they'd sound like with Jimmy Page overseeing things.
20) Jacob's Ladder: 1980's Permanent Waves has somehow gotten overshadowed by 1981's Moving Pictures. I can assure you that at the time the kids were just as excited about this album. Interestingly (or maybe not), both albums feature a first side that the kids committed to memory and a side two that rarely got played at all. Considering most kids bought their albums on cassette, this was a big statement to be making. You'd rather rewind the tape than have to listen to side two! If hardcore eighth-graders wouldn't go there, why should I?
18) Closer To The Heart: This was another fan-favorite. It must be since the audience sings along on Exit…Stage Left and the band didn't bother to include the not-quite-as-catchy "Cygnus X-1 Book One: The Voyage Prologue," also from their fine, fine A Farewell to Kings album. This tune sounds like pop music to me!
16) Armor and Sword: Acoustic guitar! Folk music! Just hearing a brief snippet of an acoustic makes me wonder what Rush would sound like doing an Unplugged. Will you do it if we let you bring your Taurus pedals?
14) Free Will: Again with the first side of Permanent Waves. I'm trying here, I really am. But this is just too mathematically correct for my tastes. I know Rush fans swear by this tune. I've had it quoted to me enough times, but maybe when it all comes down to it I wouldn't choose freewill. Maybe I want to be stereotyped. Maybe I want to be classified. Are we allowed to get drunk here?
12) YYZ: The IATA airport identification code for Toronto Pearson International Airport, "YYZ" is begins in 5/4 time in morse code. It was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Rock Instrumental category in 1982. It lost to "Behind My Camel" by the Police, which is clearly a crappier song. Had they made a song based on LAX or JFK, I guarantee you, they would've won!
10) The Weapon: Another track from Signals! Most hard rock bands who uses synthesizers made their music worse by doing so. Synths sounded right with groups like The Cure and Talk Talk and for some reason Rush, who had a new dimension opened to them. I guess you could says synths were like a new weapon to these guys! Get it?
8) The Spirit of Radio: This was the song they gave to radio, so radio would have something to play off Rush's new album, which was then 1980's Permanent Waves. Not sure if the music programmers ever caught on to the "words of the profits…and the sounds of salesmen" bit, but I remember a friend of mine who was deeply into Ten Years After saying to me, "I can't get into this stuff at all." That sounded amusing at the time. Still does. Ten Years After?
6) The Red Barchetta: There's a 'citation' needed at Wikipedia to confirm that this song is similar to the 1981 movie The Last Chase, starring Lee Majors and Burgess Meredith. You think the Moving Pictures album syncs up to it?
4) Subdivisions: I considered this song to be a calling from the gods when it came out because I was in a new school and didn't know anyone and nearly got into a fight with a kid my first day because he didn't want me sitting at his lunch table and this song seemed to describe the awfulness of it all quite well. Besides, who doesn't love that voice interjecting "Subdivisions"? Who comes up with stuff like that?
2) 2112: At 20:35, the title track is the perfect song to play in the morning before school / work / prison. It allows you to clear your mind and to feel as if you might one day beat the man (you won't) and that the awful suburb you live in actually has something going for it (well, your friends live there!). I've been told young musicians attempted to play this in their high school bands, which seems pretty amazing considering I was in bands where we struggled to play Ramones songs! Maybe it's true what they say about kids today. Maybe they're so far advanced beyond us oldsters that we should just hang it up and die already!
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