The US Army band, “Pershing’s Own”, posted this tribute to Neil Peart (1947-2020) — an unusual vocals plus chamber instruments arrangement of the Rush song, “Time Stands Still”. I stilll prefer the original, but it works remarkably well, and shows off the song writing talents of Peart (lyrics), Lee and Lifeson (music) to people with an aversion to a rock sound.
Neil Peart, longtime drummer and lyricist of the progressive hard rock trio Rush, succumbed to a brain tumor in Santa Monica this week, CBC reports. He passed away on January 7, but his family only released the news his demise today. He is survived by his second wife, photographer Carrie Nuttall Peart, and their young daughter Olivia (b. 2009).
He was a musician’s musician, a master of odd meters and complex textures.
No stranger to tragedy, he lost his first wife and his daughter to illness and accident within the space of a year. He coped with his grief by a transcontinental motorcycle journey that inspired his first prose book, Ghost Rider. Several travelogue books followed, as well as instructional DVDs.
But more than a prose writer, more even than a virtuoso drummer, he was a lyricist of rarely matched, never surpassed expressive power. Rock music and adjacent genres have many perceptive lyricists and many good storytellers. None ever hit me in the gut the way Peart could, and I know they moved many others equally deeply.
This was the first Rush song I ever heard and still ranks as a favorite of mine, both because it’s great fun to play and because Neil Peart’s lyrics hit even closer to home than usual.
Sprawling on the fringes of the city
In geometric order
An insulated border
In between the bright lights
And the far unlit unknown
Growing up it all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided
The future pre-decided
Detached and subdivided
In the mass production zone
Nowhere is the dreamer
Or the misfit so alone
In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out
In the basement bars
In the backs of cars
Be cool or be cast out
Any escape might help to smooth
The unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
The restless dreams of youth
Drawn like moths we drift into the city
The timeless old attraction
Cruising for the action
Lit up like a firefly
Just to feel the living night
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory
Of lighted streets on quiet nights…