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10 Moments That Show the Awesomeness of Rush’s Neil Peart

From air drummers to Freaks and Geeks, the beloved stickman made a lasting impact

Neil Peart
Neil Peart, photo by Fin Costello/Redferns

    For decades, Neil Peart had been considered one of rock’s greatest drummers — rightfully mentioned in the same breath as John Bonham, Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, and Stewart Copeland, among only a select few.

    So, when news broke on January 10, 2020, that the long-time Rush drummer had passed away a few days earlier at the age of 67, after a secret prolonged battle with brain cancer (glioblastoma), it expectedly shook the rock community. Tributes poured in from dozens of fellow musicians, many of whom were highly influenced by Peart’s drumming.

    While Rush originally formed in 1968, it wasn’t until singer-bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson welcomed Peart into the lineup in 1974 that the band’s music began to coalesce into its trademark prog-metal sound — with Peart providing his exceptional drum skills, as well as serving as the band’s lyricist.

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    On the strength of such classic albums as 2112, Permanent Waves, and Moving Pictures (and such standout songs as “Closer to the Heart”, “The Spirit of Radio”, and “Tom Sawyer”), Rush became one of the world’s most popular and influential bands.

    Some argue that Peart was, in fact, rock’s greatest drummer of all time, but regardless of where you stand in that debate, there’s no denying his mastery behind the kit. Here are 10 moments that demonstrate Neil Peart’s awesomeness.

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