The late drummer left behind a legacy of unparalleled musicianship and freedom-celebrating lyrics.

Reason.com | 1/14/2020 | Christian Britschgi
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Neil Peart, the longtime drummer for the Canadian band Rush, died last week of brain cancer, leaving behind a legacy as one of rock's most technically accomplished percussionists and perhaps its most articulate libertarian lyricist. The 67-year-old songwriter regularly championed individualism, choice, and freedom over soul-crushing conformity.

Early Rush songs are saturated with such messages. The song "Freewill," released on 1980's Permanent Waves album, puts self-determination at the root of the human experience: "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

Trees - Years - Peart - Forest - Maple

In "The Trees," released two years earlier, Peart tells a fable about a forest where the maple trees demand to be made equal with the taller oaks. It doesn't go well:

and demanded equal rights.

Oaks

"The oaks are just too greedy.

We will make them give us light."

Law

for they passed a noble law.

by hatchet, axe, and saw.

Peart - Individualism - Line - Rush - Hit

Sometimes Peart's individualism could be compressed into a single line, as in Rush's 1981 hit "Tom Sawyer": "No, his mind is not for rent/to any god or government."

Rush's 1976 album 2112, which Peart dedicated to the "genius of Ayn Rand," tells the story of a futuristic theocracy that outlaws individualism and creativity, including the electric guitar. Rand's novel The Fountainhead had a particularly heavy influence on Peart, who described the affinity he felt for the book's protagonist in a 1997 interview with Scott Bullock for Liberty...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Reason.com
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