“Suddenly you were gone, from the lives you left your mark upon…”
– Rush, Afterimage
Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist with Canadian prog legends Rush has died. He was 67 years old.
Rush were one of the biggest rock bands in the world with album sales in excess of over 40 million records. Right up until their farewell shows in 2018, Rush were one of the only prog bands with the ability to sell out huge US and UK stadiums. Part of the appeal came from their abilities to fuse pop and other musical influences into their art – their early 80s albums were entirely contemporary, often sounding like a prog take on The Police – which helped broaden their fan base.
In addition, a massive part of their appeal came from lyricist Neil Peart, a man capable of telling grand, fantastical stories, of putting across an accessible viewpoint on political and social themes, environmental concerns and more besides, but also able to convey a huge amount of human emotion in a lyric in a way that so many other prog musicians could not. The fact that his lyrics were always given to others to sing made his gift more powerful, in a way.
An avid reader, a travelling soul and one of the finest drummers, Neil was one of the most broadly gifted souls the world has ever seen. He has been name-checked as an influence by many, but his style was never truly replicated. Whichever way you look at it, Peart was a genuinely one of a kind musician.
Real Gone remembers Neil with a few Rush favourites, as well as an audience shot gig from the Roll The Bones tour of ’92.