I might as well get this over with: my two favorite bands are probably King Crimson and Rush. I am not as into prog rock is this might make it seem, but I do love the genre (although I am picky…. some prog rock is just not that interesting to me). Rush redefined rock and roll in their own mad way: they walked a fine line between prog excess and lean, mean riffs and well placed use of effects. Plus the one guy played bass like nobody else, played a synth, and sang like a banshee. And of course, the philosophical, sci-fi lyrics and themes, written by one of the most beloved drummers of all time. Sometimes this overshadows Alex Lifeson, but he has been one of the most emulated rock guitarists by future generations. What rock band did all that… and never disbanded?
Rush Live at Pinkpop 1979 performing La Villa Strangiato:
I first became a Rush fan in high school, mainly listening to the Rush Chronicles tape set. At first I thought them to be a curio: band with weird sounding singer and overly clever music. But the more I listened, their musicianship and wisdom grew on me. By the time I had moved to Chicago in ’97, they were well on the way to being one of my favorite bands.
The performance referenced here is one of their most technically dazzling, brain captivating songs. “La Villa Strangiato” has remained one of my favorite Rush songs. Hearing it performed live on ‘Different Stages’ is one of my favorite rock performances, the original is astounding as well. There are no better power trios, nor does anyone have the band chemistry that Rush has. To think they have been around touring and creating numerous albums for at least a few decades is quite mindboggling. I recommend watching the recent documentary on their history, even if you’re not a fan. They are one of the highest grossing rock bands of all time, and are the #1 cult classic of rock n roll.
One last thought on Rush… I’ve listened to a lot of bands where I got burned out on listening to their music after prolonged, repeated listening. With Rush, I seem to never get sick of most of their songs (especially the 70s material!), which is a testament to their song writing abilities and their unique perspective. It seems new every time.
Well, that’s the 70’s, and I am a child of them… I could not NOT post something disco or funk oriented, so I will try and represent both here with “Mellow Mellow Right On”.