Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Neil Peart, RIP

 

Neil Peart, drummer for the Canadian rock band Rush, died on January 7 from brain cancer. Saturday, the news caught up with us 50- and 60-something fans, as yet another hero from our youth passed on.

Peart was a drummer’s drummer, and people far more qualified than I will give him his appropriate tribute. I do have a couple of stories that reflect my own admiration for his skills.

In 2015 our family went to a St. Louis Cardinals game at Busch Stadium, against whom I forget. After the game, as we were walking to the parking garage, at the corner of Clark and 8th, there erupted a drum solo that drew hundreds of hearers. Someone had set up a kit, and was hammering away.

As we drew nearer, it occurred to me: “That’s the drum part to ‘Tom Sawyer.’ And not with a boom box blaring distorted noise by which he could play. He was playing just the drum part, and everyone knew what song he was playing! At first, I was simply amazed that a street drummer could handle a part like that. Then it occurred to me that I can’t think of any other song (barring gimmicks) that I could identify just by the drum part. And that’s to Peart’s great credit.

My second story dates from about the same time. On May 14, 2015, Rush appeared at the Scottrade Center here for its fourth stop on the R40 Tour. The show was a trip through the Wayback Machine as the group began with newer songs and ended with older ones (the hinges being “Subdivisions” ending the first set and “Tom Sawyer” beginning the second). The sets changed as the band retrogressed through old tours. It was fantastic.

Our family attended, including my wife, who came to be part of what was sure to be an historic experience, our 13-year-old daughter, and her two older brothers. They were the ones to watch, especially the younger son, 19 at the time. Rush is his favorite band. For me, at any rate, the great fun was to look across the seats and see the sheer joy on my family’s faces as they sang, cheered, and kept the beat (when they could!) to music from a band that began when I was a junior in high school (earlier versions hail back to 1968). I can’t remember such enthusiasm for music from my parents’ youth.

Rush’s lead singer Geddy Lee was once mocked for saying that his band’s music would outlast that of Madonna. “Who’s Geddy Lee?” said the trendy ’90s host. I’m betting that in the long run, the music of Peart, Lee, and Lifeson will indeed prevail.

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  1. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Madonna? The one by Raphael or Titian? 

    • #1
    • January 11, 2020, at 6:15 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  2. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My old drummer was pretty good. He learned by playing along with Rush and with Dave Matthews Band. I was always partial to Vinnie Paul.

    • #2
    • January 11, 2020, at 6:51 AM PST
    • 1 like
  3. Blondie Thatcher

    My husband texted me about Neil’s passing right before I went in to the hockey game last night. The song played at the first whistle was “Closer to the Heart”. I admit I teared up a little. Not sure how many got the significance, but I considered it a nice touch. 

    • #3
    • January 11, 2020, at 10:35 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Neal Peart was also the bands lyricist. I can’t think of another band where the drummer wrote lyrics, other than Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters ( but he replaced himself and plays guitar). They had a strong libertarian streak, which no doubt came at least in part from Mr. Peart.

    Love those guys. There’s a good documentary on them on Netflix I’d recommend. Amazing story.

    • #4
    • January 11, 2020, at 11:54 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  5. Blondie Thatcher

    @franco, one of my favorite Rush songs is “Trees” because of the lyrics.

    • #5
    • January 11, 2020, at 1:26 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    A one-of-kind site by awesome Rick Beato “What makes this song great” breaks down great songs. It’s a little in the wonky- weeds for non musicians, but you don’t have to understand it all ( I certainly don’t) to appreciate it.
    Here he dissects Limelight by Rush:

    • #6
    • January 11, 2020, at 2:17 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  7. Blondie Thatcher

    Rick Beato’s stuff is great!

    • #7
    • January 11, 2020, at 2:25 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Franco (View Comment):
    I can’t think of another band where the drummer wrote lyrics, other than Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters ( but he replaced himself and plays guitar).

    Don Henley of The Eagles. I can’t recall another. 

    • #8
    • January 12, 2020, at 1:15 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  9. Jeffery Shepherd Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    I can’t think of another band where the drummer wrote lyrics, other than Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters ( but he replaced himself and plays guitar).

    Don Henley of The Eagles. I can’t recall another.

     

    • #9
    • January 13, 2020, at 11:57 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. Jeffery Shepherd Member

    Phil Collins

    • #10
    • January 13, 2020, at 11:58 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  11. Franco Member
    Franco Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Levon Helm, too.

    All very good lyricists. Can’t believe I forgot Phil Collins. I’m a big Genesis fan. Their older stuff mostly.

    • #11
    • January 13, 2020, at 12:44 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  12. Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) Coolidge
    Sisyphus (hears Xi laughing) Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Franco (View Comment):

    Neal Peart was also the bands lyricist. I can’t think of another band where the drummer wrote lyrics, other than Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters ( but he replaced himself and plays guitar). They had a strong libertarian streak, which no doubt came at least in part from Mr. Peart.

    Love those guys. There’s a good documentary on them on Netflix I’d recommend. Amazing story.

    That was great. I have a video that appears to be the same performance that I love for showing a lot of Neil’s performance from many angles. This one is obviously edited to show Neil’s full performance. Very nice.

    Oh, and Ringo Starr has written a few songs.

    • #12
    • January 13, 2020, at 3:42 PM PST
    • 3 likes