The drummer and principal songwriter Neil Peart from Rush died on January 7 in Santa Monica, California at the age of 67. He had been battling brain cancer for a number of years. Peart joined Rush in 1974, rounding out the band’s lineup of bassist/singer Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson. Since his death, Rush’s music has seen a massive surge in streams and sales. In an article from Loudwire, streams of the band’s songs rose 776 percent in the U.S. and sales have increased well over 2,000 percent.
Neil Peart September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020 pic.twitter.com/NivX2RhiB8
— Rush (@rushtheband) January 10, 2020
According to Nielsen Music/MRC Data, between Jan. 10–13 on-demand audio and video streams of Rush’s catalog increased to a combined 24.53 million. Sales of Rush songs climbed over 2,300 percent to 19,000 from 1,000 while the group’s album sales leaped over 1,800 percent to more than 6,000 copies. Fans spent time online researching lyrics of Rush songs in the wake of Peart’s death. According to Billboard’s LyricFind U.S. and LyricFind Global charts, Rush dominates the top 25 with 23 songs in the global chart and 18 out of 25 spots on the U.S. chart. Searches included iconic Rush songs like “Tom Sawyer,” as well as “Limelight,” “The Trees,” “The Temples of Syrinx,” “The Garden,” “Losing It,” “Closer to the Heart,” and 1984’s “Afterimage.”
Rush is a Canadian band that 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. In an article from mxdwn.com, Peart is described as 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. Since Peart’s death, bands have done Rush cover songs like Tool from their Fear Inoculum tour, paid tribute to Peart by performing “A Passage to Bangkok” and ended the set with “2112”.
Photo credit: Dave Gatson