Song of the day, Monday, January 13

One of my musical heroes passed away last week - and judging from the sheer volume of testimonials from musicians and fans all over, I'm far from alone in my admiration. Neil Peart was one of the rare people in any field where you could say he was the absolutely, undeniably, inarguably the best at what he did. I became a Rush fanatic as a teenager back in the 80s, and all three of Alex, Geddy and Neil have had an outsized influence on my life both as a musician and as a listener. They were my gateway into progressive rock, as I'm sure they were for millions of people, and their music taught me a lot about what was possible with intense attention to detail and a musical vision without compromise.

I couldn't possibly pick a favorite Rush song, but this deep cut from Permanent Waves (1980) would be way up there. It's a nine-minute suite that earns its length by taking the listener on a voyage through so many different motifs, grooves and moods. And that stately intro was more or less the start of my enduring love for suspended guitar chords!



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