Rush’s famous instrumental piece YYZ is named after the identification code for Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
The piece’s introduction, played in a time signature of 10/8, repeatedly renders “Y-Y-Z” in Morse Code using various musical arrangements.
They can boast some famous fans
Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has been the band’s “fanboy” for a long time and even interviewed the band once. Country singer Tim McGraw also calls himself a “big Rush fan.” The full list of all famous Rush fans is too long and would take about two pages.
Neil Peart plays a crazy amount of percussion instruments
On 1977’s album ‘A Farewell to Kings,’ he is credited with “drums orchestra bells, bell tree, wind chimes, triangle, vibraslap, tubular bells, and temple blocks”; on the following album ‘Hemispheres,’ he added cowbells, gong, timpani and crotalescrotales, and timpani.
Alex Lifeson’s real name is too hard to pronounce
His real name is Aleksandar Zivojinovic to Serbian immigrant parents, but he used his surname’s English equivalent for the stage, fearing it would be too difficult for others to pronounce.
Bassist Geddy Lee, the son of two Polish Holocaust survivors, changed his name from Gary Lee Weinrib.
Rush have rarely taken a break since their 1974 self-titled debut.
True, the trio have slowed down considerably in recent years, but their early prolificacy is staggering, releasing 18 studio and live albums (from ‘Rush’ to 1993’s ‘Counterparts’) in a 20-year span.
Peart isn’t just the band’s primary lyricist.
He’s also an author, with six books published since 1996 that have chronicled his travels as a touring musician and motorcyclist. His most recent, ‘Far and Near: On Days Like These,’ was released in October 2014.
Terry Brown co-produced every Rush album from 1975’s ‘Fly By Night’ to 1982’s ‘Signals.’
But that fruitful partnership was ruined largely by one song, the reggae-tinged bass monster ‘Digital Man.’ The trio were aiming to push their music in new – often more commercially accessible – directions, but Brown was reluctant to leave the prog epics behind.
Though Rush is from Toronto, the band’s first true success came when DJ Donna Halper played the band’s hard-hitting ‘Working Man’ on Cleveland’s WMMS.
It became a fixture on local radio, propelling Rush to a record deal (and LP re-release) with American label Mercury and high-profile opening slots for Uriah Heep and Kiss.
Rush was christened by an unlikely source:
Bill Rutsey, the brother of the band’s original drummer, John Rutsey. “The band was excited, but they had a big problem,” author Bill Banasiewicz explains in his 1988 biography ‘Rush Visions.’ “While they had been dreaming of playing, they had neglected to come up with a name for their group. So a few days before the gig they sat around in John’s basement trying to come up with an appropriate moniker. They weren’t having much luck when John’s older brother Bill piped up, ‘Why don’t you call the band Rush?’, and Rush it was.”
Rush rank alongside Cream and ELP as one of rock’s greatest power trios, but they’ve recruited a number of outside studio collaborators over the years.
The first of these guests was Hugh Syme, who played keyboards on several albums beginning with ‘2112.’ Syme is more famous for his visual art: he’s designed all of Rush’s album covers since 1975’s ‘Caress of Steel.’