I first heard the rock band Rush back in the late seventies at the end of junior high. They were different from everything else I was listening to. The music was aggressive hard rock, like other bands I loved but the lyrics were something else entirely. Sci-fi lyrics about dystopian societies with the 20+ minute song 2112 from the album of the same name, By-Tor and the Snow Dog from the Album Fly By Night, and many more thematic works. They also have shorter songs like Working Man, from the first album simply entitled Rush, Freewill and The Spirit of Radio from Permanent Waves. They have 20 studio albums and at least 4 live albums, Rush is still going after forty years. But somehow I lost track of them in the eighties. I have always been glad to hear them on the radio but didn’t get as immersed as I did with other bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Super tramp and so on. I am not sure why other than they were kind of known as a geeks band and I was so obviously a geek. Maybe I didn’t want to fly my geek flag that high. Whatever the reason, I have rediscovered why I loved them, and even more now that I can appreciate their accomplishments over time.
I came across a documentary called “Beyond the Lighted Stage”, which is the story of Rush. It jumped started my love of Rush and has had me fascinated with them as a successful band, musicians, and songwriters ever since. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in music in general, or rock bands specifically. You don’t even have to be a hard rock fan to enjoy a look behind the scenes. They don’t have the typical VH1 behind the music history. They have managed to avoid most of the pitfalls associated with the music industry and done things their own way. Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, and Neil Peart managed to stay friends and keep doing what they love to do. Give it a watch and you will not be disappointed.
Since this is a blog for literature Geeks I will be sharing portions of their song lyrics, most of which were written by Neil Peart, the drummer. Hopefully you will be interested enough to look up the song. I suggest the live material on YouTube. I will start by a selection from the song Red Sector A, a song off of the album Grace Under Pressure. It is about life in a concentration camp. Several of the Bands family members went through that horrific experience and the lyrics are heart pulling and starkly dramatic. . Any lyrics posted are copywrited by Rush and no money is made in my use of them.
A wound that will not heal
A heart that cannot feel
Hoping that the horror will recede
Hoping that tomorrow we’ll all be freed
Sickness to insanity
Prayer to profanity
Days and weeks and months go by
Don’t feel the hunger
Too weak to cry
I hear the sound of gunfire at the prison gate
Are the liberators here?
Do I hope or do I fear?
For my father and my brother, it’s too late
But I must help my mother stand up straight
Are we the last ones left alive?
Are we the only human beings to survive?