Canadian rock trio Rush are set to release a 40th anniversary edition of their self-titled debut album this year, according to The Globe And Mail. The band is said to be “an example of active partners in the [reissuing] process,” according to the article, who cites Ivar Hamilton, VP of catalogue marketing for Universal Music Canada. No other details about the release were revealed.
The eponymous LP, released on March 1, 1974 through Moon Records, is best known not for what’s on it, but rather what’s not on it — the masterful drumming and philosophical lyrics of the great Neil Peart, who didn’t join the band until Rush’s second album, 1975’s Fly By Night. Instead, the 8-song Rush features original member John Rutsey on drums and blues-rock tunes with sex and rock-n-roll-themed lyrics by singer/bassist Geddy Lee.
While Rush might be the band’s most forgotten album — perhaps only behind their most notable flop, 1975’s unrated Caress of Steel — it does have a few fan-favorite standout tunes that the band have been playing live for years, like “In The Mood” and “Working Man.” If you’ve seen Rush in concert, you know the audience packed with lots of beer-drinking, hard-rocking working men, who relate to lyrics like “I get up at seven, yeah/And I go to work at nine/I got no time for livin’/Yes, I’m workin’ all the time.” The song eventually even made its way into the popular music video game Rock Band. I’m curious to see what the 40th-anniversary reissue of the album will have to offer.
Rush Fan Flashback: Ok, [obligatory preface], Rush is my favorite band of all time, and as far as I’m concerned, they are the greatest rock band ever ever ever [/preface]. My introduction to Rush was, like most rock fans of my generation, with 1981’s Moving Pictures and its single, the popular “Tom Sawyer.” But after hearing that album, I dug back into their archives, first with the obvious – 1980’s Permanent Waves, the twin to Moving Pictures, then right on to highly influential concept album 2112 (1976) and its prog-rock successors A Farewell to Kings (1977) and Hemispheres (1978). One day while browsing through the used records bin at my local record store (yes, records, as in vinyl), I spotted a simple white album cover with the word RUSH in pink bursting on it and was like “What could this strange album be?” Turning it over, I recognized photos of Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, but who was this other guy credited as the drummer? That’s not Neil Peart! It’s someone named John Rutsey.
I ran to the check-out counter, plopped down $2.99, and ran home with my new acquisition. Once home, onto the turntable it went and out came the sounds of the guitar-driven opening track “Finding My Way” with Lee belting out “Yeah, oh yeah!” It totally blew my mind – this band, whose scifi-tinged synthesizer hit about a modern-day warrior with a mean, mean stride, actually started out sounding like Led Zeppelin. It’s a simple album, with simple lyrics and it’s nothing like what Rush would eventually evolve into, but once you hear it, you can realize how much Fly By Night resembles it, and also how the band over years has been able to bust out some really heavy blues-influenced songs. I know once I discovered Rush, it became one of my most listened to albums from their extensive catalog. I was listening to the album as I wrote up this story and I still know every word to every song and known every beat, guitar solo, accent — I can pretty much do an interpretative dance or one-woman play for the entire album. (GoD’s own Stoogeypedia and I grew up together and as kids we’d act out all the music and lyrics to Rush albums, ad-libbing through it and even humming/banging in additional instrumental parts, and we pretty much still do the same thing now). When I hear Rush, I’m immediately transported back to my pre-teen, rock-poster-covered bedroom to a time when I was first learning to play bass — I remember being so thrilled to find Rush songs that I could easily play, and with lyrics I didn’t have to look up in the dictionary. Rush is an undiscovered gem and a true classic.
If you don’t want to wait for the reissue, which will likely be pricey, Rush is available right now on MP3 for only $5 and on CD for $6.98 (the CD is an AutoRip, which means you’ll get the MP3 download immediately for FREE when you buy the CD). FYI – there’s a bunch of Rush albums that are still available now for only $5 each. Also, Rush In History has a great write-up about the making of the first album.