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Where it really all started
on 22 March 2014
This is where it really all started for Rush, one of the best bands to come out of the '70's. Yes, they already had one album under their belts, but that was a straight forward hard rock album, albeit a very good one. Here with a change of personnel was also a slight change indirection. John Rutsey, the original drummer left and was replaced by the professor, the great Neil Peart, one of the greatest drummers to ever beat the skins of a drum kit. Not only was Peart a far more accomplished drummer, bringing in more complex time signatures, he also brought with him his lyrical ideas. Whether or not you agree with all those ideas, especially those influenced by the right wing author Ayn Rand, they certainly added more depth to the song writing.
The album starts out with one of their classic rockers, Anthem, the first song to reference Rand (It was the title of one of her novella's and the story that influenced Peart when writing 2112). Whatever its influences this is a wonderful statement of intent to start the album, yes the introduction and chorus rock out but the verses take a slightly gentler course. The next two songs Best I Can and Beneath Between And Behind carry on in the harder edged end of the Rush universe. Side 1 (Yes I am that old) signs off with By Tor And The Snow Dog, the first of their forays into extended songs telling fantastical stories, something which they continued to so over the following four albums. Although not my favourite of their extended story telling (That award goes to Xanadu) this is still a wonderful example of prog rock. A tale of good versus evil as Snow Dog battles to save us all from the evil of Prince By Tor. Okay so it may not be songwriting that looks deeply into the human condition but these were twenty year old blokes, how many of us in our early twenties were capable of looking into the human condition (Bono, Bob Dylan put your hands down).
Side 2 has more of the gentler side of Rush, the title track and Making Memories gentle rockers looking at life on the road and then Rivendell, a soothing acoustic number whose lyrics certainly earn the description 'Tolkienesque'. And finally a return to their rock roots with In The End, although you would be forgiven for thinking it's more of their acoustic leanings as the introduction starts out with a lonely acoustic guitar and Geddys voice until everything else plugs in and we're back in rock territory.
So there we have it, Rush's first great album, there were bigger triumphs to come but this was one hell of a statement of intent from a band that would go from strength to strength over the next seven years. It's funny over that period many so called 'serious' music journalists loved to poke fun at Rush and their fans. The band though have seen them all off and these days they are falling over themselves to heap praise on them. You see we were right all along, the geeks have won. Take a listen to this album and see why.