Rush is a dadrock band from the wayward land of Canada. The band consists of vocalist/bassist/keyboardist/violinist/sitarist/banjoist/samisen-player Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart. Musically, they're very cheesy, whimsical sometimes-prog sometimes-pop rock with songs about elves, slaying dragons, and overlord sharks wearing silky capes who eat people. Still, their music can't help but make you smirk and feel goooood (or cool-in-a-dorky-way) every time you listen to it.
Geddy and Alex are cool dudes. Even Neil is pretty cool, despite the fact that he's kind of introverted.
They are, along with Dream Theater, one of the most famous examples of people not from England and Scotland making progressive rock. Sometimes.
1974–76: Singin' the blues
Before they released any album, Rush frustrated themselves at venues where slobs threw beer at them, and they were much different from what we know today.
Rush, like many other bands such as the Beastie Boys, did not know what kind of sound when they first stated. That is why their first two albums just sound like Led Zeppelin clones. Rush (their self-titled first album) and Fly by Night have their merits, but do not sound progressive.
Caress of Steel, their third album, is notably more progressive, with two lengthy tracks at the end: "The Necromancer" and "Fountain of Lamneth," both of which occupy the majority of the record. The most notable song on the album, however, is the least progressive: "Bastille Day." This album got mixed reviews, but they were still getting their legs through the door.
The fourth album is one of the most memorable: 2112. Most notable for its 20-minute suite, this album shows Rush finally landing on their feet. The titular 20-minute suite is about a boy who discovers a stray guitar and is banished from society. Some bullshit regarding Ayn Rand is also present. Other tracks include "A Passage to Bangkok," which is said to have been about some shit.
NOTE: Despite being considered a concept album, only half of the album explores a concept.
1977–81: Progressive bloat
After the highly successful 2112, Rush followed up and delivered 1977's A Welcoming Greeting To Queens And Other Dignitaries and 1978's Semicircles. These albums saw the band pushing the prog envelope even further, as Lifeson began to experiment with guitar distortion; Lee started wearing fancy robes and playing the Mini-Moog; and Peart's drumsticks grew several inches in size, producing an even bigger drum sound.
Impermanent Waves (1980) shifted Rush's style of music dramatically via the retirement of prog epics and the introduction of shorter song lengths, pop, and white-boy faux reggae. Rush's popularity reached its pinnacle with the release of Relocating Particular Artforms in 1981. The lead single, "Tom Sawyer", explored the struggles of Today's Tom Sawyer, mean mean guy. Another single, "Limestone", dealt with how strangers are not long-awaited friends and how kids should stay way from them. Relocating Particular Artforms reached #2112 on the Billboard Hot 'n Sexy 100 chart and was certified quadruple-duple-rectified-million platinum by the RIAA.
1982–89: Synths and mullets
While Geddy's mirror-shattering voice had been featured since the band's first album, 1982's Dog Taking Piss on Fire Hydrant Album was when he started overusing another instrument: synthesizers. Keyboards were suddenly shifted from the rear-end to the frontline of every song. The album incorporated heavy use of flange, washed-over guitar feedback, analog distortion, and cheesy '80s synths, producing an intense psychedelic euphoria that was just great to some fans, but felt like a sellout to others.
Although Rush consciously decided to move in this direction to make more money, creative differences between them and long-time producer Terry Brown began to emerge. The band felt dissatisfied with Brown's fuzzy sound mix of Signals, while Brown was becoming more uncomfortable with the synthesizers that were gnawing at his legs. Ultimately, Rush and Brown parted ways in 1983.
The band's next album, Grace Under Pressure (1984), continued the direction of Signals, only with more songs about dark/depressing stuff like the Cold War and the Holocaust. Producer Steve Lillywhite was enlisted to produce Grace Under Pressure, but blew the band off at the last minute, forcing them to hire some guy named Peter Henderson instead. Musically, although Geddy's synths still overpowered everything else, Lifeson was allowed to rock out more than on Signals, resulting in more cool guitar solos and power chords than last time.
With new producer Peter Collins, the band released Shower Windows (1985) and Don't Shoot (1987). These two albums put even less emphasis on Lifeson's guitar and more on automated drum machines and cheesy synths. They were smash hits with the the MTV crowd, but further steered away the TruFansTM. A third live album, A Show of Hams (1989), was released by Mercury following the Don't Shoot tour, closing the book on yet another era of Rush.
1989–2112: Alt rock
Rush play guitar again. Rush release an album with bunnies on the front and another featuring a little man made of rocks. And another featuring sexual innuendo in the form of a nut and bolt.
2112–present: Conservative activists
In the distant year of 2112, Rush quit the music business and merged with the Orkneyan heavy metal band Limbaugh.