FILE - This Aug. 1, 2015 file photo shows Neil Peart of Rush performing during the final show of the R40 Tour in Los Angeles. Peart, the renowned drummer and lyricist from the band Rush, has died. His rep Elliot Mintz said in a statement Friday that he died at his home Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 67.
Photo: Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP, File
Photo: Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP, File

Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist for Rush, dies at 67

Any rock drummer who says he wasn’t influenced by Neil Peart – at least tangentially – is lying.

Peart, a wizard of the labyrinthine percussion that powered the music of Canadian prog-rock trio Rush, was rightfully renowned as one of the greatest drummers in music. In 1983 he was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame, making him the youngest person ever honored. 

Late Friday afternoon, fans learned that Peart had died three days earlier, on Jan. 7, at the age of 67, at his California home. His cause of death was brain cancer. 

Rush posted a statement on Twitter that disclosed Peart had battled glioblastomia, an aggressive brain tumor, for more than three years. 

In addition to Peart’s dynamic drumming, which formed a potent rhythm section with Rush singer/bassist Geddy Lee, he was also the band’s primary lyricist.

Along with Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, Peart created rock radio staples from the ‘70s through the ‘90s including “Closer to the Heart,” “Tom Sawyer,” “The Spirit of Radio,” “Time Stand Still” and “Show Don’t Tell” – all instantly recognizable from the combination of Lee’s nasal vocal delivery and Peart’s tricky syncopations. 

In 2013, Rush was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After the band completed a 40th anniversary tour in 2015 (which played the then-Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta), Peart retired from performing because of the physical toll.

Here are some photos from Rush’s previous performance in Atlanta, in 2012.

Read and sign the online guestbook for Neil Peart

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Some artists are remembering Peart on social media:





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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.