In memory of Neil Peart | 1952-2020
There aren’t many things that can completely and deeply shake the drumming community as much as the loss of a legend. When news broke of Neil Peart’s passing on January 7 after three years of fighting brain cancer, it was painfully clear how massive of an impact he had not just on drummers, but on musicians and music fans around the world.
Years before developing his iconic monster kit, Peart had to learn to play on pots and pans before his parents bought him a drum set. He was already a prodigious drummer when he joined Rush in 1974, becoming their lyricist at the same time. Soon he would become known not just for his technicality, but for his experimental approach to drums, incorporating unexpected elements of jazz and swing into his writing.
While Peart had an incredible career in music, he also met unfathomable tragedy in the late ’90s, losing his daughter in a car accident and his wife to cancer. His book, Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road, documents the motorcycle journeys he took while trying to cope with these devastating losses. He then returned to the band where they’d left off.
Following their 40th anniversary tour in 2015, Peart retired from Rush. For many people, Rush was the very first band they ever saw in concert. They put prog rock – and Canada – on the map. Rock drummers suddenly weren’t content playing straight forward grooves in 4/4…they wanted to do what The Professor could do.
The world won’t be the same without Neil Peart. The least we can do is remember him, honor his legacy, and share his work with others. Not only will his drumming live on in Rush’s discography, but in the drumming of all those who looked up to him.
If you aren’t familiar with the work of Neil Peart or Rush, listen to these three albums and check out the rest of their extensive discography here.
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