Neil Peart, drummer for Rush, died at 67

Eloise Marshall
January 14, 2020

Peart, 67, died earlier this week at his home in Santa Monica, California, his representative, Elliot Mintz, said Friday, according to the Associated Press.

The drummer first joined Rush in 1974 alongside frontman and bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson.

Peart was known for his complicated and instantly recognizable solos. The band sold 25 million albums in the United States.

Danish drummer Lars Ulrich of Metallica also said on Instagram that Peart was a big inspiration for him.

Ash Pearson, drummer with Three Inches of Blood, a Vancouver-based heavy metal band that disbanded in 2015, says his whole band counted themselves as Rush superfans. It was just one of many strong connections Rush formed with the city that never loosened throughout their decades-spanning career. He was also an author and published six books.

Listening back to Rush's album's today, it's astonishing how a group making music this unabashedly nerdy could find themselves performing to crowds of thousands.

Rolling Stone reported that Peart quietly battled brain cancer for three years.

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A true virtuoso, Peart's precise and inventive playing led to him being thought of by many as one of the greatest rock and roll drummers to ever live.

Peart was born on September 12, 1952 in Ontario, Canada. My ankles were weak, so I couldn't play any sports. After an audition, he got the job. He became the band's lyricist, he said in 1980, "just because the other two guys didn't want to write lyrics". Few musicians on the planet can boast the longevity of RUSH, especially in a band context. You will always be the Professor On The Drum Kit. Because his fans knew every drum break, drum hit, fill and anticipation.

With Rush, Peart released 18 albums, from Fly by Night (1975) to Clockwork Angels (2012), and the band's sound evolved significantly during these 37 years, from a blues/hard rock outfit to a prog rock band putting out complex compositions and adapting electronic instruments along the way. The title track on the 1980 album rail's against the corporatization of rock: "Glittering prizes and endless compromises shatter the illusion of integrity".

His songs included the iconic song Tom Sawyer, Limelight, A Farewell to Kings and Xanadu. And since that day, music has never been the same. They released another album that same year, "Caress of Steel", which reached gold status. It was turned into a science-fiction novel by Kevin J. Anderson.

Canadians like actor Dave Foley, comic Rick Mercer, and musicians Bryan Adams, Billy Talent, and The Tragically Hip's rhythm guitarist Paul Langlois also weighed in with much Peart love. Turns out this was the absolute flawless place for me last night in my mourning of the greatest drummer the world will ever know.

Peart was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1996.

He is survived by his daughter, Olivia Louise Peart, and his wife, photographer Carrie Nuttall. A pair of tragedies in the late 1990s previously had claimed the lives of both his 19-year-old daughter Selena, and, less than a year later, his longtime partner and common-law wife, Jacqueline Taylor.

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