Saying Good-Bye to a Reluctant Superstar

Neil Peart, 1952 - 2020
Neil Peart, 1952 – 2020. Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns.

I awoke this morning to the incredibly sad news that , drummer & lyricist for Canadian progressive rock band Rush, had died at the far-too-young age of only 67.

As a drummer, Neil was my second God, right after another drummer who died far too young, Clive Burr.  And that statement would have sent shivers up and down Neil’s spine…

Neil Peart was famously allergic to his own stardom, internally conflicted by being so worshipped and loved by people he has never met.  One of his most poignant lyrics is the song Limelight, which includes the following line, speaking explicitly to his internal turmoil:

“Living in a fish eye lens, Caught in the camera eye, I have no heart to lie, I can’t pretend a stranger, Is a long-awaited friend…”

Certainly most renowned for his drumming, Neil’s lyrics were equally impressive.  Thanks to his voracious reading habits, with topics spanning from the well-know Tom Sawyer to Xanadu to Hobbits and Lord of the Rings to Ayn Rand to hash and well beyond.

I think no other quote could sum up Neil than this one, from the band’s website:

“What is a master but a master student? And if that’s true, then there’s a responsibility on you to keep getting better and to explore avenues of your profession.”

I will close with a few of my favorite Rush songs below.

Good-bye for now my unknown friend.  Thanks for the inspiration, travel safely…


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