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.
Some artists are remembering Peart on social media:
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