Guitarist Alex Lifeson, Jeff Jones and John Rustey started the band Rush in Toronto, Ontario in August of 1968. Jones was soon replaced by singer/bassist/keyboardist Geddy Lee, who attended school with Lifeson. Like many of their contemporaries, Rush gained a following by performing live around their hometown. The band released their first single, a cover of the late Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.” Rush formed their own record label and released their self-titled debut album “Rush” in 1974. The now famous track “Working Man” started getting radio airplay in the United States and “Rush” was rereleased by Mercury records. Although it only reached #105 on the US charts, it would eventually sell more than 100,000 copies.
Drummer Neil Peart replaced John Rustey in July of 1974 and Rush’s line up was complete. The band made its American debut in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the next month. Aside from drumming, Peart became the band’s lyricist, drawing inspiration from science fiction, philosophy and fantasy. Rush went to work on their second album, and “Fly by Night,” was released on February 15th, 1975. With the help of the now classic title track, “Fly by Night,” the album eventually sold more than a million copies in the United States alone. That same year “Caress of Steel” was also released, but failed to sell as well as expected.
After “Caress of Steel” came up short, the band was pressured into trying something more commercially viable. Fortunately for fans, and ultimately their record label, Rush ignored this advice. “2112” was released in April 1976 and despite only reaching the #61 spot on the US charts, earned the band its first #1 record in Canada. “2112” eventually sold more than 3 million units in the US alone. In September of 1977 Rush released “A Farewell to Kings.” The album would be their first to receive Gold certification in the US and included the popular song “Closer to the Heart.” Once again, the album would sell more than a million copies in each the US and Canada.
Rush began experimenting with different instruments and sounds, and after reigning in the length of their songs, released “Permanent Waves,” on January 1st, 1980. The album continued the band’s Platinum selling streak and included the hit song “Freewill.” In keeping with the theme of more radio friendly songs, the band released the mega-hit record “Moving Pictures,” on March 12th, 1981. “Moving Pictures” included the rock classic “Limelight,” and what is arguably the band’s most famous song, “Tom Sawyer.” The record flew to the top of the charts, ranking #3 in the US and #1 in Canada, receiving 4x’s Platinum certification in both countries.
The band continued their success throughout the 1980’s and into the early 1990’s with albums such as “Signals,” “Grace Under Pressure,” “Power Windows,” and “Roll the Bones” which all received Platinum certification in both the US and Canada. Rush took a break in 1998 after Neil Peart tragically suffered the loss of both his daughter and wife within a year. Peart later returned and the group released “Vapor Trails” in 2002. In 2004 the band released “Feedback” (EP) and embarked on their 30th anniversary tour which took them around the world. Rush released their most recent studio album “Snakes and Arrows,” on May 1st, 2007 which they supported with a tour. The record didn’t sell as well as those that had come before it, but still managed to earn the #3 spot on the charts in both the US and Canada. On July 16th 2008, Rush made their first American TV appearance in 30 years performing “Tom Sawyer,” on the popular Comedy Central show The Colbert Report. As of 2009 Rush is still together, but does not currently have any tour dates scheduled.