Amazon is currently running a spectacular CD deal that all fans of the band Rush cannot ignore — only $5.00 for select titles in their rich history of work, and most of those albums are some of the bands best in their long and still-going career.
Hailing from Canada, Rush has been defying music critics and delighting progressive and hard rock fans for over 40 years. The trio mixes a basic framework of classic rock with impossibly amazing arrangements and hyper rhythms to create ear popping music which scores of bands try to emulate to much lesser degrees. All told, Rush set a standard and carved a niche in music which cemented their status as one of rock and roll’s best.
Below is a breakdown of all the titles on sale, which is mainly the first 12 studio albums, with a little bit of history and the stand-out tracks. Note, two of the albums are priced a dollar or so higher, but the price is definitely still worth it. Also, we’ve include links to the MP3 downloads in case you just can’t wait to get your Rush fix (we can’t blame you!).
RUSH (1974) CD | MP3 – It all starts here, and for most fans who may only know their later, more popular work, expect a stripped down, bare bones no-nonsense attack by the young band. Original drummer John Rutsey plays more in the 4/4 pocket and in a way the band profits from it, especially on stand out cuts like “What You’re Doing,” “Here Again,” and the concert favorite to this day “Working Man.”
FLY BY NIGHT (1974) CD | MP3 – The first album with new drummer Neil Peart, who’s style comes from the Carl Palmer, Keith Moon, Buddy Rich school which was decidedly different from Rutsey’s. This new approach gives the band a completely new dynamic. Peart, versed on literature of the Ayn Rand variety, becomes the band’s chief lyricist, which shapes them into a more progressive juggernaut. The music, however, still retains its immense power, as evidenced on tracks like “Best I Can,” “By-Tor and the Snow Dog” and the memorable title track.
CARESS OF STEEL (1975) CD | MP3 – One the most underrated albums in the Rush canon, this is as close to real genuine progressive rock as the band ever got. Played with a tightness and adventurous abandon that the band never really attempted ever again on subsequent releases, this is definitely a dark horse in the Rush catalog. “Bastille Day” almost puts them in a punk genre, “The Necromancer” has some nifty guitar work by Alex Lifeson, and “The Fountain of Lamenth” is another jagged, wild, sprawling piece of rock and roll.
2112 (1976) CD | MP3 – This is the album that put Rush on the map and suddenly found them in the heavyweight division of rock music. The title track, clocking in at over 20 minutes, condenses the Ayn Rand influences and presents them like a musical tale, keeping and refining the Rush sound into a listenable and challengeable experience. “Passage to Bangkok,” “Lessons.” and the only song that Peart ever played in Rutsey style 4/4 “Tears” are not to be ignored. You can read more about the album in article my sister in ‘pedia, Eviepedia (you guys know her as Empress Eve), wrote for 2112 day last month.
A FAREWELL TO KINGS (1977) CD | MP3 – Following up the massive success of 2112 was going to be a huge challenge to the band, but they manage to attain the same standards set by the former album and then some. Starting to play with a real confidence, this album starts to employ sounds found on their later albums. Bassist and vocalist Geddy Lee has a field day with the title track; “Madrigal,” “Xanadu,” and especially “Cygnus X-1” (with a great progressive funk sequence) make the band expand its genres even more so.
HEMISPHERES (1978) CD | MP3 – The band meets a kind of crossroads with this one. Bookended by the long title track which is the last to explore themes prevalent on the other records that came before it and another concert favorite “La Villa Strangiato” with shorter tracks in between (“Circumstances” and “The Trees”), this kind of closes the chapter of the first wave of Rush, as changing styles forced them adapt to the new wave of leaner, less indulgent music.
PERMANENT WAVES (1980) CD | MP3 – As the new decade rolled in, Rush found themselves conforming to the new sounds in the music circles, keeping their core sound at hand, but starting to employ the reggae and new wave genres that became the norm during this time. The band, however, doesn’t use it as a detriment, on the contrary, it actually complements their existing sound rather nicely, as the memorable “Spirit of Radio,” “Free Will,” and “Entre Nous” demonstrates. Some long pieces still remain, “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Natural Science” among them.
MOVING PICTURES (1981) CD | MP3 –Moving Pictures is Rush’s Led Zeppelin 4. Their Dark Side of the Moon. This is the record that really propelled Rush in the stratosphere, this is the record that brought Rush to the masses, finally having the band rise above its already strong cult. Almost every track has been played on the radio and in concert countless times, “Tom Sawyer,” “Red Barchetta,” “Limelight,” and the instrumental “YYZ” are key examples. For this sale, this album is about a dollar higher than the other $5 ones, but still worth it at its discounted price. For most casual fans of the band, this remains the one essential record to get for most.
SIGNALS (1982) CD | MP3 – Heavily influenced by The Police, another successful trio, the band tackles reggae and rock rhythms, but in a sound and style as only they can pull off. The last album to be produced by their long-time producer Terry Brown, and ultilizing synthesizers which would be a prominent instrument on many of their ’80s releases, this is another album most Rush fans have forgotten about. But the dark track “Subdivisions” and other great tracks like “New World Man,” “Digital Man,” and “Countdown” still show that the band keeps progressing and keeps trying new musical ideas.
GRACE UNDER PRESSURE (1984) CD | MP3 – By now, Rush was almost getting swallowed in the fray of the hair bands and loose abandon of pop music which preferred substance over style that was a fact of musical life living in the mid 1980s. With this album, they still have their sound firmly intact, but the light production and conformity to the times treat the album in ways unthinkable on former releases. That said, “Distant Early Warning,” “Kid Gloves,” “The Enemy Within,” and “Between the Wheels” are still great songs indeed. (Note, the price in the sale seemed to jump up a little bit while I was pulling this post together, but again, definitely worth owning for a few bucks more.)
POWER WINDOWS (1985) CD | MP3 – By their 11th album, there was quite a bit of stumbling going on regarding the band’s direction. Almost weighed down by the attack of the synthesizers and again, finding themselves lost in the ’80s shuffle, Rush still manages to pull some things off here, like an underdog in a prizefight. “The Big Money,” “Mystic Rhythms,” and “Marathon” make one almost forgive the band picture included in its liner notes, which finds them in a very uncharacteristic and embarrassing 80s shot, complete with overblown hair styles.
HOLD YOUR FIRE (1987) CD | MP3 – As the 1980s was coming to an end, Rush started to re-steer its own ship and started to slowly chart it back to the waters it was known for. While that approach would still take a few more records after this one to be fully realized, Hold Your Fire still finds the band musically stretching as is their wont, classical Chinese music gets the Rush treatment on “Tai Shan,” but “Force Ten” and “Time Stands Still” finds them in more familiar territory. This album closes the second chapter of the Rush story in a way, and the future would find them reaching higher and higher summits of success.
So head on over to Amazon.com and check out these and other great Rush titles (here’s the main Rush catalog page)!
Note – when you purchase MP3s through Amazon, it stores your purchases to Amazon’s Cloud Drive; from there you can stream the music right from their online player. Also, if you have a Kindle Fire, your MP3 purchases will automatically be available for you to stream on your device. All your purchases are backed up and available for you to download at any time. You can download the files to your computer to load to an MP3 device and to your iTunes account if you have one. If you’d like to gift these MP3 purchases, you can – just click the “Give album or song as gift” button on the right on the product page. From there you enter the recipient’s email address and then select either specific songs to gift or the entire album.