R.I.P. Neil Peart of Rush

Music News
Dusty Henry
photo by Fin Costello

News broke from this afternoon that legendary Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart died on Jan. 7 after a year-long battle with brain cancer, according to CBC News. He was 67. The news was confirmed by Rush’s spokesperson Meg Symsyk.

Peart was born in 1952 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Rhythm came naturally to Peart, constantly tapping out rhythms around the house with chopsticks until his parents bought him a drum set when he was 13 years old. He’d spend his teenage years playing in local bands before traveling to London to pursue a career as a professional musician. After over a year in London and not finding the steady gig he’d hoped for, Peart returned to Canada and was invited to join Rush in 1974 after their original drummer John Rutsey had to leave the project due to health issues.

While the band was impressed with his feverish drumming style, Peart also became the group’s de facto lyricist. His first recording with Rush came with the band’s sophomore record, Fly by Night. The band’s biggest initial breakthrough came with their album 2112 and its sprawling, 20-minute epic title-track. The song became a calling card for the band and launched their career through the next four subsequent decades.

The band was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994 and nearly two decades later were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2015, the band celebrated its 40th anniversary with what would be their final tour. In 2018, vocalist/bassist Geddy Lee confirmed to Rolling Stone that the band had no intention of touring or recording new material, but that the band remained close.

Join us in remembering Peart’s life by revisiting some of our favorite Rush songs and moments below.