Rush is a Canadian rock band comprising bassist, keyboardist, and vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer and lyricist Neil Peart. Rush was formed in the summer of 1968, in the neighborhood of Willowdale in Toronto, Ontario, by Lifeson, Lee, and John Rutsey. Peart replaced Rutsey on drums in July 1974, two weeks before the group's first U.S. tour, to complete the present lineup. Since the release of the band's self-titled debut album in 1974 Rush has become known for the instrumental virtuosity of its members, complex compositions, and eclectic lyrical motifs drawing heavily on science fiction, fantasy, and individualist libertarian philosophy, as well as addressing humanitarian and environmental concerns.
Musically, Rush has changed its style dramatically over the years, beginning in the vein of blues-inspired heavy metal on their eponymous debut to styles encompassing hard rock, progressive rock, a period dominated by synthesizers and, more recently, modern rock. Rush's three decades of continued success under the lineup of Lee, Lifeson, and Peart have earned the band the respect of their musical peers. Rush has influenced various modern artists such as Metallica, The Smashing Pumpkins and Primus, as well as many notable progressive metal bands such as Dream Theater and Symphony X.
Rush has been awarded several Juno Awards and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994. Over the course of their career, the individual members of Rush have been recognized as some of the most proficient players on their respective instruments with each member winning several awards in magazine readers' polls. As a whole, Rush boasts 23 gold records and 14 platinum (3 multi-platinum) records, making them one of the best-selling rock bands in history. These statistics place Rush fifth behind The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, KISS and Aerosmith for the most consecutive gold and platinum albums by a rock band. Rush ranks 78th in U.S. album sales according to the RIAA with sales of 24.5 million units.
Rush's musical style has changed substantially over the years. Their debut album was strongly influenced by British-Blues rock: an amalgam of sounds and styles from such rock bands as Cream, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple. Over the first few albums their style remained essentially hard rock, with heavy influences from The Who and Led Zeppelin but also became increasingly influenced by the British progressive rock movement. In the tradition of progressive rock, Rush wrote protracted songs with irregular and multiple time signatures combined with fantasy/science fiction-inspired lyrics; however, they did not soften their sound. This fusion of hard and progressive rock continued until the end of the 1970s. In the 1980s, however, Rush successfully merged their sound with the trends of this period, experimenting with New Wave, reggae and pop rock. This period included the band's most extensive use of instruments such as synthesizers, sequencers and electronic percussion. With the approach of the early '90s and Rush's character sound still intact, the band transformed their style once again to harmonize with the alternative rock movement. The new millennium has seen them return to a more rock and roll roots sound, albeit with modern production.