Lyricist and drummer of Canadian rock band Rush, Neil Peart passes away at 67

Founding member and creative powerhouse, Neil Peart, a core member of Rock outfit Rush, passes away at 67, social media responds with condolences

Born Neil Ellwood Peart, Neil Peart was a founding member of the highly successful Canadian progressive rock outfit Rush, passed away at the age of 67 on Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif. The artist was shuffled off his mortal coil due to brain cancer he had been suffering as revealed by the band's spokesperson, Elliot Mintz.

The history of the band is prolific, seeing many ups and downs after its creation in 1968. The band only gained mainstream recognition in 1974 after the departure of their then drummer John Rutsey. It was after this replacement that Peart came into the fold and officially became a part of the band. The band, like most musical acts, tried to experiment with a ton of sounds to find their own.

Peart in 2015
Peart drumming for Rush in 2015, which would be their final tour as a band. wikimediacommons

Rush came to be known for their musicianship

Rush came to be known for their musicianship, complex compositions, and eclectic motifs drawing heavily from science fiction, fantasy, and philosophy. The band's musical style would be in a constant state of flux to satiate the appetite of their music consumers of the time which would see them move from hard rock with a dab of blues thrown into the progressive rock to a period where they attempted to be modern by adding in heavy synthesizers.

massively successful
Rush sold over 25 million records in the U.S alone as their sound evolved with time @wikimediacommons

One primary aspect of their sound that did not change with the passage of time was their guitar-driven sound-- that defines their identity as a rock band. The band truly came into its own as the trio that included Geddy Lee on vocals, keyboards, and bass, Alex Lifeson on guitars and the dearly departed Mr Peart on drums started to spearhead the direction they wanted their musical act to go.

Neil Peart was a lyrical genius

Peart was the lyrical genius of the group, providing verses that came from a personal place and spoke about individualism and libertarianism. Acutely political and socially conscious, Neil Peart provided life to songs like "Tom Sawyer" and "Freewill" by speaking his truth through the lyrics in the songs.

As a drummer, he was considered an ace with his odd, intricate and wholly original drumming style that broke the conventional rules of drumming and yet managed to sound amazing.
According to the RIAA, Rush ranks 88th with sales of 25 million units in the US, with nearly 40 million sold worldwide. The group has been awarded 24 gold, 14 platinum, and 3 multi-platinum albums.

Peart was passionate about drumming from a very young age

Neil Peart was born on September 12, 1952, in Hamilton, Ontario, where his parents, Glen and Betty Peart had a dairy farm. He was passionate about drumming from a very young age. In a career that continued into the 2010s. Rush headlined arenas and had more than a dozen platinum albums. Mr Peart was also an author, writing books about his travels and his memoirs.

After a Rush tour in 2015, he retired from performing, citing its physical toll. According to the band's statement, he had been suffering from brain cancer for three and a half years.
Foo Fighters' drummer Taylor Hawkins spoke on how Peart's drumming was his songwriting when Rush was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

The official statement from the band's Twitter account @twitter/rush
The band, along with Peart toured till 2015, before Peart was diagnosed with his fatal illness @twitter/rush
Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger pays his respect to the fallen legend on Twitter @twitter/rush