Tales of Rock – Rush frontman Geddy Lee lists his 13 favorite albums of all time

Geddy Lee, the Canadian musician best known as the lead vocalist and bass player of famed rock band Rush, has created a list of his favorite albums.

Lee, who joined the band in 1968, has triumphed a unique technique and bass playing style which has inspired a string of musicians from Cliff Burton of Metallica to Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine.

Since releasing their eponymous debut album in 1974, Lee and Rush have gone on to achieve 24 gold records and 14 platinum records with astronomical album sales statistics which place them only third behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. When sitting down with The Quietus to detail some of the bands that have inspired him through the years.

Opening up with The Who and their iconic 1971 album Who’s Next?, Lee said: “Many of these records happened to be during the period when I was just beginning to find my way, not just as a musician but beginning to discover what music was all about. Pete Townsend, for me, is arguably the ultimate rock musician.”

He added: “Who’s Next was one of those albums that never left my turntable for years. For me it is the album that shows four great musicians touching their creative peak.”

Including some more predictable great such as Led Zeppelin, Cream, Genesis, Pink Floyd and Joni Mitchell, Lee did discuss some more recent musicians with Fleet Foxes, Jethro Tull and Radiohead all being name checked. “I love the very approach of Fleet Foxes. They seem to have no desire whatsoever to appear trendy,” he told Quietus. “They are simply natural, organic and are so well rooted in folk and rock that they can take both these extremes anywhere they want.”

See the full list, below.

Geddy Lee’s favorite albums of all time:

  • The Who – Who’s Next?
  • Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin
  • Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
  • Genesis – Nursery Crime
  • Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick
  • Cream – Disraeli Gears
  • Pink Floyd – Meddle
  • Joni Mitchell – Blue
  • Jefferson Airplane – Bless Its Pointed Little Head (Live)
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?
  • Bjork – Post
  • Yes – The Yes Album
  • Radiohead – OK Computer

Detailing further, Lee said: “To me, Radiohead carried on the tradition of bands like Yes. They are always adventurous and challenging and yet they have remained ahead of the game, really.

“I love the way they blend old and new…including contemporary beats and instrumentation.”

 

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Geddy Lee Misses Playing With Rush but Doesn’t Expect Reunion

Rush‘s Geddy Lee says he misses playing with his band mates but doubts whether the band will ever tour again.

“I don’t miss leaving [my family]. But I miss those three hours on stage with my buddies. That, especially in the last 10 years of touring, was so much fun and so gratifying,” Lee said in an interview with the Toronto Sun.

When asked whether the band knew the last show of the R40 tour would be the last ever, Lee said, “Neil [Peart]insisted that that was his last gig. And you know, Alex [Lifeson] and I would look at each other and go, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, he’s just saying that.’ So I think we kind of knew, we should have known, it was the last show. But I think being eternal optimists we hoped that after a break we would be back out there. That never materialized.”

Lee says he sees Rush guitarist Lifeson “quite a lot” and that he and Lifeson visit drummer Peart “quite often.”

“So we’re all close but I don’t think we would ever do a project — the three of us,” he added. “It’s certainly possible that Alex and I would do something down the road. I can’t see the three of us ever really doing anything.”

Meanwhile, Lee is currently busy promoting his new book, Geddy Lee’s Big Beautiful Book of Bass.

 

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Tales of Rock – Rush – This Elegant Band That Is Like No Other

My baby sister Jill, loves Rush. They once played two nights near where she went to college and she went both nights! That’s dedication. She said she stood on her chair the entire show and sang every lyric right back to Geddy Lee. Rush is to her as Aerosmith is to me.

Here’s some cool facts about this legendary band from Canada.

Rush have fans in high places. Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan is an outspoken “fanboy,” and he even interviewed the band for a radio segment. Country star Tim McGraw called himself a “big Rush fan” during an interview with Larry King. On a grander stage, hip-hop/pop/R&B mega-producer Pharrell Williams subtly rocked a ‘Test for Echo’ t-shirt during an episode of ‘The Voice.’

Neil Peart is rightly regarded as one of the greatest rock drummers in history. In addition to his famously massive kit, he also plays a seemingly endless list of auxiliary percussion instruments. On 1977’s ‘A Farewell to Kings’ alone, he is credited with “drums, orchestra bells, wind chimes, bell tree, vibraslap, triangle, tubular bells, and temple blocks”; on the following year’s ‘Hemispheres,’ he added gong, cowbells, wind chimes, crotales, and timpani.

“Alex Lifeson” has a nice ring to it – by design. The guitarist was born Aleksandar Zivojinovic to Serbian immigrant parents, but he used his surname’s English equivalent for the stage, fearing it would be too difficult for others to pronounce. Bassist Geddy Lee, the son of two Polish Holocaust survivors, changed his name from Gary Lee Weinrib. But how did her get the name “Geddy”? His mother had such a thick Yiddish accent, that when she would call his name (Gary) it always came out as “Geddy” so they boys started to refer to him as Geddy. (I love that bit!)

Rush have rarely taken a break since their 1974 self-titled debut. True, the trio have slowed down considerably in recent years, but their early amount of work is staggering, releasing 18 studio and live albums (from ‘Rush’ to 1993’s ‘Counterparts’) in a 20-year span.

Peart isn’t just the band’s primary lyricist. He’s also an author, with six books published since 1996 that have chronicled his travels as a touring musician and motorcyclist. His most recent, ‘Far and Near: On Days Like These,’ was released in October 2014.

Terry Brown co-produced every Rush album from 1975’s ‘Fly By Night’ to 1982’s ‘Signals.’ But that fruitful partnership was ruined largely by one song, the reggae-tinged bass monster ‘Digital Man.’ The trio were aiming to push their music in new – often more commercially accessible – directions, but Brown was reluctant to leave the prog epics behind.

Though Rush is from Toronto, the band’s first true success came when DJ Donna Halper played the band’s hard-hitting ‘Working Man’ on Cleveland’s WMMS. It became a fixture on local radio, propelling Rush to a record deal (and LP re-release) with American label Mercury and high-profile opening slots for Uriah Heep and Kiss.

Rush was christened by an unlikely source: Bill Rutsey, the brother of the band’s original drummer, John Rutsey. “The band was excited, but they had a big problem,” author Bill Banasiewicz explains in his 1988 biography ‘Rush Visions.’ “While they had been dreaming of playing, they had neglected to come up with a name for their group. So a few days before the gig they sat around in John’s basement trying to come up with an appropriate moniker. They weren’t having much luck when John’s older brother Bill piped up, ‘Why don’t you call the band Rush?’, and Rush it was.”

Rush rank alongside Cream and ELP as one of rock’s greatest power trios, but they’ve recruited a number of outside studio collaborators over the years. The first of these guests was Hugh Syme, who played keyboards on several albums beginning with ‘2112.’ Syme is more famous for his visual art: he’s designed all of Rush’s album covers since 1975’s ‘Caress of Steel.’

YYZ,’ Rush’s Grammy-nominated instrumental showcase, was named after the identification code for Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. The song’s drilling intro riff is based on the visual pattern for those three letters, rendered into Morse code. It’s the most lovably nerdy moment from prog’s nerdiest band.

 

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