Neil Peart, the prodigiously talented drummer and eclectic primary lyricist for the Canadian rock band Rush, died Tuesday in Santa Monica, California, according to a family spokesman.
He was 67.
The cause of death was brain cancer, which he had been battling quietly for three years, according to his spokesman, Elliot Mintz.
He was considered one of the most gifted and electrifying drummers in pop music history, a virtuosic stylist and technical maestro who inspired a cult following with his dazzling fusions of hard rock and jazz.
Peart, who joined Rush in 1974 and helped catapult the group to fame, was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1983, when he was in his late 30s. The popular trio included Geddy Lee on vocals, keyboards and bass, and Alex Lifeson on guitars.
“It is with broken hearts and the deepest sadness that we must share the terrible news that on Tuesday our friend, soul brother and band mate of over 45 years, Neil, has lost his incredibly brave three-and-half-year battle with brain cancer……. Rest in peace, brother.”Rush
Peart was widely celebrated for writing vivid, heady lyrics heavily influenced by science fiction, philosophy and classic literature. He also infused the band’s most famous tracks, including “Freewill” and “Tom Sawyer,” with a defiantly individualistic streak that some characterized as politically libertarian.
Calamity Jane was at the very first Rush concert in 1974. Nobody in Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena knew who they were. The concert was headlined by Uriah Heep and Manfred Mann…… I remember Rush’s 30 minute set and thought to myself these guys are great, but the drummer is TOTALLY amazing! Peart did a drum solo during the short set which I can still vividly recall!
BTW…….. Rush was only together for 2 weeks as a band with Peart on the kit!
H/T Old Rugged Cross