A great songwriter and drummer passed away

The main songwriter for the rock band “Rush” and voted fourth best drummer in the world, Neil Peart, passed away Friday night from brain cancer.

One of the best examples of Peart’s clever wordsmithing is from the song “Freewill:”

“When you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

When my two sons and I saw Rush, Peart had two sets of drums surrounding him. In the middle of the show, the drums rotated, so he could play a different sounding set.

He was representative of the band, which included Alex Lifeson (superb lead guitarist) and Geddy Lee (lead singer, bassist and keyboardist), as people were amazed by how much sound came out of just three people.

People know their bigger hits like “Freewill,” “Tom Sawyer,” ” Spirit of Radio” and “Fly by Night,” but their body of work is pronounced due to great lyrics and musicality. Here are a couple of samples:

From the song “Subdivisions” about cookie cutter housing and thinking is the classic line about having to fit in:

“Conform or be cast out.”

Another clever set of lyrics comes from “Limelight” as he writes:

“All the world’s indeed a stage,
And we performers are merely players,
Performers and portrayers,
Each another’s audience,
Outside the gilded cage.”

Finally, from the metaphor “The Trees,” Peart and his mates write:

“There is trouble in the forest,
There is trouble in the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight,
And the oaks ignore their pleas.”

In the end, the forest is destroyed. The metaphor is plain – the haves must not ignore the plight of the have-nots, but destroying the haves is not the answer either.

Peart will be missed. His drumming, songwriting and his ability to make us think.

12 thoughts on “A great songwriter and drummer passed away

  1. Keith, so cool you’re honoring Neil Peart. You have great taste! Rush played a big part in my life in high school. I saw them a couple of times and possessed several of their CD’s. My buddies and I loved them. They voted him 4th best? I’d put him number 2, just behind who I think was the best, John Bonham from Led Zeppelin. But hey, it’s all subjective, right? Nevertheless, the fact he wrote most, if not all of their lyrics, is a testament to how important he was to the band.
    One of my favorites was “2112”…took up a whole side of an album if I remember correctly. Also, “Limelight” “Road to Bangkok” and “Anthem” are right up there, as are the ones you mentioned.
    We lost another great one Keith. It sucks getting old!

    • Jeff, thanks for sharing your love of the band and personal memories. I agree with your assessment on his ranking. It was a great memory for my sons and me. We also saw AC/DC and Tom Petty together, with my wife joining us at Petty. These are great memories. Keith

      • Our generation is so much different. I can’t imagine ever going to a concert with my parents back in the day. That’s so cool that you were able to do that Keith.

      • Jeff, I could not imagine going with my parents either. It is a treat to hear live music with my kids. My wife and I have gone to many as well. Keith

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