Formed in the summer of 1968, in the neighborhood of Willowdale in Toronto, Ontario, by its guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist, keyboardist, and vocalist Geddy Lee, and John Rutsey, Rush is a Canadian rock band. Drummer and lyricist Neil Peart replaced Rutsey on drums in July 1974. Their self-titled debut album released in 1974 and Rush become known for the instrumental virtuosity of its members, complex compositions, and eclectic lyrical motifs drawing heavily on science fiction, fantasy, and individualist libertarian philosophy, as well as addressing humanitarian and environmental concerns.
Artist Hugh Syme designed the 'starman' logo that appeared on the back cover of the 1976 album 2112. Peart says that it simply means the abstract man against the masses with the red star symbolizing any collectivist mentality. After the well-appreciated 2112, Rush made up 1977's A Farewell to Kings which in turn became the band's first U.S. gold-selling album and 1978's Hemispheres. Earlier it was all hard rock, with heavy influences from The Who and Led Zeppelin but now they became increasingly influenced by the British progressive rock movement.
The band pushed the progressive rock envelope further and expanded their use of progressive elements. Increased synthesizer usage, extended-length concept songs, and highly dynamic playing now became a staple of Rush's compositions. Alex Lifeson experimented with twelve- and six-string classical guitars. Geddy Lee added bass-pedal synthesizers and Mini-Moog. Peart's percussion became diversified in the form of triangles, glockenspiel, wood blocks, cowbells, timpani, gong and chimes. The result was long songs with odd meters and fantasy-inspired lyrics.
Rush's musical style has kept on changing over the years. 1982's Signals was Rush's most drastic stylistic transformation as keyboards were suddenly shifted from a contrapuntal background to the melodic frontlines. Traditional guitar solos were no longer a priority for them. With the albums, Presto and Roll the Bones, Rush started to deviate from their 1980s style by shedding much of their keyboard-saturated sound. With 1989's Presto, more guitar-centric work was done. Synthesizers were no longer featured as the centerpiece of Rush's compositions. 1991's Roll the Bones extended the use of the standard three-instrument approach with even less focus on synthesizers than its predecessor.
Though, Rush has musical diversity across their discography during the years of its existence, the experimentation has inevitably resulted in strong dissent among critics and fans. The use of synthetic instruments is a great source of contention in the Rush camp especially in regard to the band's heavy reliance on synthesizers and keyboards during the 1980s. Still many see it as growth and continued to support the band during all of its transitions. The band revealed their intention to begin writing new material in early 2006 in promotional interviews for the R30 Live in Frankfurt DVD.
An announcement was made that the title of their new album would be 'Snakes & Arrows' and that it would be released May 1, 2007. The new single 'Far Cry' has already been released to North American radio stations on March 12, 2007. Rush will also embark on a tour beginning in the summer.
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