Among Canadian legends, Geddy Lee stands out. When it comes to the polite Jewish guy from Canada who somehow became a rock star, Lee is the perfect example. He may be seen sitting behind home plate at Toronto Blue Jays games or skewering himself with the South Park cast. Even the resistance he had from his parents as the band’s adolescent members originally tried to break through was recalled by the Rush bassist.
Lee remembered in the documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, “We were rehearsing in my basement and playing with these guys. They weren’t Jewish guys. We were really loud, and it didn’t sound anything like music to my family. They just thought I was nuts. They thought I was probably a drug-taking freak. So they were scared: they were freaked out. They didn’t know what to do or how to handle it.”
Even if it took a little time, Lee would eventually succeed in making his family happy with his music. Rush, a unique act that was able to break out of the great white north and build fan bases all over the world, especially in America and Britain, became one of Canada’s most well-known bands.
Despite this, Rush always managed to return to the nation where each of the three members was born. Rush started recording in Le Studio in Quebec with the 1980 album Permanent Waves. Moving Pictures, Signals, and Grace Under Pressure, their following three albums, were all recorded there as well. When asked by Classic Rock who he thought was the most undervalued band, Lee responded with a Canadian national treasure. He and guitarist Alex Lifeson both still call Canada home.
Lee also revealed to the magazine, “The Tragically Hip, from Canada, had huge, godlike stature at home but nowhere else. They had this perfect blend of simple, twin-guitar rock n’ roll and very evocative, thought-provoking lyrics.”
Throughout the 1990s and beyond, The Tragically Hip was one of Canada’s most well-liked musical groups. The band’s progress, nevertheless, abruptly came to an end in 2015 after lead vocalist Gord Downie received a fatal brain cancer diagnosis. When Downie passed away in 2017, the band kept playing as long as they could. In a statement, Rush conveyed their sorrow.
“It’s a sad, sad day for Canada and Canadian music. Rest in peace, Gord… and thank you.”
In 1984, the Canadian rock group The Tragically Hip was created in Kingston, Ontario. Five people made up the band, with Gord Downie serving as the main vocalist. Over the course of their career, they put out 13 studio albums, and over 50 singles, and nine of their albums peaked at No. 1 in Canada. The band’s music changed over time; some critics have called their previous recordings “blues-tinged.” One of the most popular bands to come out of the alt-rock explosion was The Tragically Hip, which gained worldwide recognition, a devoted following, and the title of best-selling Canadian band in Canada.
Throughout their career, they have undertaken large cross-country tours, with their farewell performance from Kingston in 2016 being aired worldwide. After Gord Downie passed away in 2017, the band announced their breakup in 2018.