Rush is a Canadian progressive rock band comprising bassist, keyboardist and vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer and lyricist Neil Peart. Rush was formed in the summer of 1968, in Willowdale, Ontario by Lifeson, Lee, and John Rutsey. Peart replaced Rutsey on drums in July of 1974, two weeks before the group's first U.S. tour, to complete the present lineup. Since the release of their self-titled debut album in 1974 the band has become known for their instrumental virtuosity, complex compositions and erudite lyrics. Rush's three decades of continued success under the lineup of Lee, Lifeson, and Peart has earned the band the respect of their musical peers. Rush has influenced various modern artists such as Metallica, The Smashing Pumpkins and Primus, as well as notable progressive bands such as Dream Theater and Symphony X.
Rush has been awarded several Juno Awards and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994. Additionally, Lee, Lifeson, and Peart are all Officers of the Order of Canada, the first rock musicians so honored. Over the course of their career, the individual members of Rush have been recognized as some of the most proficient players on their respective instruments. Each member has won several awards in magazine readers' polls. As a whole, Rush boasts 23 gold records and 14 platinum (3 multi-platinum) records, making them one of the best-selling rock bands in history. Rush currently place fifth behind The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, KISS and Aerosmith for the most consecutive gold and platinum albums by a rock band.
Over 30 years of activity has provided Rush with the opportunity for musical diversity across their discography. Like many bands known for experimentation, such changes have inevitably resulted in strong dissent among critics and fans. The bulk of the band's music has always included synthetic instruments in some form or another, and this, more than anything else, is a great source of contention in the Rush camp, especially in regard to the band's heavy reliance on synthesizers and keyboards during the 1980s. Still, many saw this as nothing less than artistic growth and support for the band remained unwavering through each transitional phase.
Due to this ongoing controversy over Rush, they have yet to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The members of Rush have themselves noted that people "either love Rush or hate Rush", resulting in strong detractors and an intensely loyal fan base. Rolling Stone has often been blamed for their inability to enter the Hall. The Hall's refusal to induct Rush may also be a consequence of the band's insistence on remaining outside the mainstream of rock when it comes to self-promotion, in favour of maintaining a high degree of independence. To this day fans earnestly clamor for the band's inclusion into the Hall by citing noteworthy accomplishments including longevity, proficiency, and influence, as well as commercial sales figures and RIAA certifications. Also, despite having completely dropped out of the public eye for five years after Test for Echo and the band being relegated almost solely to classic rock stations in the U.S., Vapor Trails reached #6 on the Billboard Chart in its first week of release in 2002. The subsequent Vapor Trails tour grossed over $24 million and included the largest audience ever to see a Rush show — 60,000 fans in São Paulo, Brazil. However, Vapor Trails remains the band's poorest-selling album to date. Rush in Rio (2003) was certified gold by the RIAA, marking the fourth decade in which a Rush album had been released and certified at least gold. Moreover, in 2004 Feedback cracked the top 20 on the Billboard 200 chart, in addition to receiving radio airplay.
There are two fan conventions that are held annually: