Watch a video clip featuring popular rock band Rush performing their song "Tom Sawyer." From YouTube.
From 1974 to 1976, Rush often opened in the US for Kiss, Aerosmith and other hard-rock bands, but by 1975-76 it had started to headline concerts in the US and Canada. By the end of the decade its usual venues were sports arenas and outdoor stadiums - eg, Maple Leaf Gardens, the CNE Grandstand, and their US equivalents (Madison Square Garden, the Nassau County Coliseum, etc). Rush made its first European tour in 1977 (returning in 1981, 1983, 1988, 1992, 2004 and 2007) and also performed in Japan in 1984, in Mexico and Brazil in 2002, and in Puerto Rico in 2008. In its early years, the trio gave more than 200 performances annually (often in smaller venues), but its dozen tours from 1980 to 2004 each consisted of about 70 concerts (in larger venues). The Canadian bands April Wine, Chilliwack, Max Webster, the Pat Travers Band, Streetheart, Payola$, Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, Wrabit, FM, Chalk Circle and Voivod have all served as opening acts for Rush, as have dozens of US and British artists.
The trio's success has come largely through its 30 albums which collectively have sold more than 43 million copies internationally, and through its concerts. The band's best-selling (and, arguably, best) album, Moving Pictures (1981), has sold over four million copies in the US. All three members - Peart in particular - came to be highly regarded for their technical skills, which are given full play in live performance. They also worked on solo projects in the 1990s, and Peart wrote several books, including Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road (2002), after his daughter and spouse died in 1997 and 1998, respectively. The band was moderately successfully as a Top 40 act in Canada, but "New World Man" (1982) was the band's only Top 40 hit in the US. However, many of its songs have enjoyed considerable success on album-oriented rock formats in Canada and the US. Rush is equally known for its extended works (1975-81) - eg, "By-Tor & The Snow Dog," "2112," "Xanadu," "Cygnus X-1," "Hemispheres," the instrumental "La Villa Strangiato," and "Natural Science" - but it moved completely away from the extended format in its new music from 1982 to 2002.
A substantial portion of Rush's "hardcore" fans comprise hundreds of thousands of amateur and professional musicians, ranging from progressive/hard rock drummers, bassists, and keyboardists to classical violinists to death metal guitarists and vocalists. Four Rush tribute albums, reflecting all of these styles, appeared between 1996 and 2005. By comparison, the band has met with, at best, mixed reception among rock critics. Nonetheless, Rush has won numerous music industry awards in Canada, such as Juno Awards for best new band in 1975, and group of the year in 1978 and 1979. Presto (1989) won the inaugural Juno for hard rock/metal album of the year in 1991, followed by Roll the Bones (also for hard rock/metal album) in 1992, and music DVD of the year for Rush in Rio (2004). CRIA identified Rush in 1990 with Bryan Adams and k.d. lang as the "artists of the decade" for the 1980s. The band also played at the post-SARS mega-concert Toronto Rocks (2003) and for the post-tsunami fundraiser Canada for Asia (2005). In 2010 Rush was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Rush seemed to ride a wave of renewed interest at the dawn of the new decade as the DVD from its successful tour in support of its gold-certified Snakes & Arrows album was nominated for a Juno in 2010, the excellent documentary Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage won a Juno in 2011 and the Rush: Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland DVD received a 2012 nomination. The group toured ambitiously in support of its 2012 Clockwork Angels album, which debuted at number one in Canada and number two in the United States. A novelization of the album by science fiction writer Kevin J. Anderson was published that same year, when Rush also received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. Clockwork Angels went on to win the Rock Album of the Year award at the 2013 Juno Awards in Regina.
Many thought the honour was long overdue, but Rush was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 after selling more than 40 million albums worldwide and performing in front of millions through numerous high-grossing tours. Rush's sales statistics place it third after The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band in the US.
Author Durrell Bowman, Steve McLean
Links to Other Sites
The website for the Historica-Dominion Institute, parent organization of The Canadian Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Check out their extensive online feature about the War of 1812, the "Heritage Minutes" video collection, and many other interactive resources concerning Canadian history, culture, and heritage.
The website for the JUNO Awards and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Scroll down the page to check out the latest award winners and music clips. Sample the latest JUNO Awards CD. From the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Canadian Music Hall of Fame
The website for the Canadian Music Hall of Fame from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS).
Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards
See biographies of recipients of Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. Also, check the menu on the left for links to video clips of recipients' speeches. From the website for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation.
Rush joins Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
A CBC article about the induction of the legendary Canadian rock band Rush into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the US.
The official website for the hit rock group "Rush." Features bios, a discography, multimedia, and more.
Rush - 2112 - The Temples of Syrinx
Watch a video clip featuring popular rock band Rush performing "The Temples of Syrinx." From YouTube.
Hockey anthem a Rush
A news story about drummer-lyricist Neil Peart's recording of the "The Hockey Theme," the former "Hockey Night In Canada" anthem.
The CanCon Atlas
An interactive map depicting some of the Canadian places celebrated in song. Click on the map icons around the country to view music videos by a cross-section of Canadian musicians. From the CBC website.