Rush: Moving Pictures (1981)

With yesterday's sad passing of Neil Peart, undeniably one of the most talented drummers in rock history (and, per pretty much every interview, one of the nicest guys in the business, whose past family hardships made his death particularly sad), everyone's got Rush on the mind.

Now, I can't sit here and pretend to be a huge fan.  They're one of those bands whose 70s music I feel compelled to own, and take for a rare spin, but that's about it.

Still, Moving Pictures came out when I was 14, and it was one of those records that was simply inescapable at the time, especially if you were a white, suburban teenage boy.  Everyone listened to Moving Pictures.  It was just one of those cultural touchstones at the time, something you couldn't avoid hearing on the radio, at parties, playing from passing car windows (along with the first Phil Collins album, Styx's god-awful Paradise Theater, the Who's Face Dances, and Tom Petty singing "The Waiting").  "Tom Sawyer" and "Limelight" were in constant rotation, joining the prior album's "Spirit of Radio" as among the band's finest radio-friendly pop moments; "YYZ" was the proggy instrumental every weird kid in school would insist you had to hear just one more time, trust me, you just don't get it yet; and side two was... well, the side nobody played much.

At camp that summer, my bunkmate Eric--a diehard Rush acolyte, the guy who'd preach that 2112 was incredibly deep, and Hemispheres was actually good if you gave it another chance--played the crap out of Moving Pictures.  And he taught me to play harmonics on my guitar using "Red Barchetta" (probably my favorite song on the album, great riff).

I never listened to much Rush after that album; their forays into new wave didn't cut it for me, and I have a low tolerance for Lee's vocals.  And by that time, I was far more more interested in checking out bands like the Clash and the Jam and Squeeze and Elvis Costello.  But I can watch Peart's drum solos on endless rotation on YouTube and never be anything less than blown away.

Here's the "Limelight" video:
 And a live "Red Barchetta":
And, of course, here's that live "YYZ" with the stunning Peart drum solo, one of the few drum solos that doesn't make you go, ugh, it's a drum solo: