The rock world lost a giant this week. Whatever your opinion of Rush, Neil Peart was a unique force of nature behind the drums (and, critically, also the band’s principal lyricist). I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a crowd reaction to rival this one – just listen to the roar for Peart’s opening tinkling of the chimes – as the band performs their instrumental tour-de-force, ‘YYZ’ (those letters being the airport identification code for Toronto International Airport, near Rush’s hometown). The piece’s introduction, played in a 10/8 time signature, actually renders “Y-Y-Z” repeatedly in Morse Code, using a variety of musical arrangements. How cool is that? The Rush trio were prog-rock geniuses, and Peart was their mighty percussive engine. Countless drummers of the last half-century exist in the wake of his technical proficiency and worship around his 360-degree drum throne. RIP to a drum deity, Neil Peart.
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