Sad news for fans of progressive rock band Rush, as their drummer and principal songwriter Neil Peart has died at the age of 67, CNN reports. Family spokesman Elliot Mintz confirmed that the legendary drummer had passed away in Santa Monica, CA. He had been battling brain cancer for a number of years.
The band Rush confirmed the news with a tweet today. Peart joined Rush in 1974, rounding out the band’s iconic lineup of bassist/singer Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson.
Neil Peart September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020 pic.twitter.com/NivX2RhiB8
— Rush (@rushtheband) January 10, 2020
Rush, a Canadian band that in many ways has come to define progressive rock, was formed in 1968 with Lee, Lifeson and original drummer John Rutsey. Just a few weeks before the band was set to tour the United States for the first time ever, they replaced Rutsey with Peart and the rest is history.
Rutsey did provide the drumming on Rush’s debut album, 1974’s self-titled LP. After that Peart took over the skins, appearing on 1975’s Fly By Night and every subsequent album they’ve released.
Peart was more than just a drummer. While Lee became the most iconic member of the band with his piercing falsetto wail, much of the band celebrated narrative songwriting was the work of Peart.
Rush was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. They’re known for hits such as “Closer to the Heart,” “Fly By Night” and of course, “Tom Sawyer,” which many consider the group’s most recognizable song.
Photo Credit: Dave Gatson