As preposterous as it sounds, in the mid-1970s, a power trio of white kids from Canada could think that pretending to have the blues was the fast track to stardom. The prevailing notion back then held that The Beatles and Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix were important; that they saved the world from something. (From Mel Tormé, one presumes.)
Out of either boredom or the (correct) realization that this idea was ludicrous, Rush abandoned that route, hired an Objectivist drummer/lyricist, and started penning multi-part suites about trees and the saving power of rock and roll as allegories for the encroaching nanny state. Thank God for that.
What often gets lost, though, is that these humble epics of Far East tourism and tribute to Samuel Taylor Coleridge somehow linger in the head because of their tunefulness. "The Necromancer" may be 12 minutes long, but it manages to interpolate "Sweet Jane." Geddy Lee has a keening wail, but it's distinctive. The next logical step was to make pop records like Power Windows and Moving Pictures; even those crushed under the weight of 2112's sweeping adolescent ridiculousness had to give credit to Rush's thoughtful position within hard rock's pop triumph.More »