The Spirit of Radio

Neil Peart (Source:

i just learned about the passing of Rush drummer and lyricist, Neil Peart.

Rush is one of my all-time favorite rock bands and their music has been an ever-present part of my life. Although all three of Rush’s members are incredibly talented musicians, Peart truly defined Rush, in my opinion. Rush is one of the few rock bands that prominently feature the drummer front-and-center in every piece.

Peart was a legend and surely a benchmark for any percussionist.

As the Rolling Stone put it:

“Peart was one of rock’s greatest drummers, with a flamboyant yet utterly precise style that paid homage to his hero, the Who’s Keith Moon, while going well beyond that example. He joined singer-bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson in Rush in 1974, and his virtuosic playing and literate, wildly imaginative lyrics – which drew on Ayn Rand and science fiction, among other influences – helped make the trio one of the essential bands of the classic-rock era.”

Peart passed away at the age of 67 after more than a three year battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer

One of my favorite pieces by Rush is “The Spirit of Radio” which was released in 1980 and appeared on their iconic album Permanent Waves. The following live performance features an phenomenal intro into the song. If you like Rush, you’ll love this concert clip:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Rest in peace, Neil…

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18 thoughts on “The Spirit of Radio

  1. Luke Perry

    When I saw the news that he died it almost felt like a family member had died. To say that Rush played a major role in my childhood is a understatement. We looked up to them as gods as teens and I had caught virtually every one of their tours since 1978 all the way to R40.

    A very intelligent man he was and if I could find a word to describe his work it would be ‘excellence’. RIP Professor.

  2. Scott Gamble

    Thanks for sharing this here Thomas. It’s not a coincidence that Neil’s music resonated with many of us who are also into radio, and not just because of a conveniently-titled hit song. Neil was truly an artist in every sense of the word, and I’m lucky to have seen him perform in person a few years back. You’ll enjoy Ghost Rider – and all of his other writing too.

  3. Blues Dude

    Neil Peart was a master percussionist. His incredible talent was reflected in his amazing drum kit.
    Rest in peace.

  4. Marcus Keulertz

    I was introduced to their music by a Mormon guy who was my roommate at SnowCollege in southern Utah. Their music style infected me immediately when I listed to the album “Fly by Night” and the self titled album. Inspired by the old Led Zeppelin music. I was a huge fan from those old groups like Pink Floyd,Deep Purple,Black Sabbath,Yes,Ernerson Lake and Palmer and many more bands. My range varies I love Blues,Classical Music,Rock Jazz,Salsa, Reggae,Punk,Ska, Alternative,Metal. It all depends on my mood.
    But Rush was an awesome Canadian band.


  5. Craiger11

    Wow, a certain sadness that is so haunting. I feel honored to have Neil enrich our lives.
    Thank God for these recordings!
    Be sure to check out the video titled: Neil Peart – A Work In Progress Part 1 on
    Thanks for all you have done Neil

  6. Tom Servo

    Oh man, this is the first I’m hearing of this. So sad! I didn’t “get” Rush until well into my adulthood, so I’m still discovering some of their music. What finally tipped me into being interested was catching one of their concerts on the old MTV Live channel. Seeing his drumming and Geddy’s bass playing was awe inspiring.

  7. Dan

    Fan since forever. Saw them 4 times. Simply amazing.

    Fun Fact:
    The into riff to their song YYZ, is based on the morse code NDB airport identifier for Toronto Pearson Airport.

  8. grantbob

    Yep. I’ve been parked on the couch in front of the stereo rather than fiddling with the the radio tonight. Luckily I think The Professor will keep people learning and thinking for years to come.

  9. Tom Laskowski

    I was fortunate enough to see them four times in concert. They are my favorite band and I’m very saddened by this news. RIP, Neil.


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