The Rush album Geddy Lee said “Didn’t connect” with fans

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Even the most exalted icons of rock have stumbled on their artistic journeys. Rush, despite their dedication to innovation and breaking norms, faced challenges with the reception of some albums. Geddy Lee, reflecting on their musical odyssey, conceded that “Caress of Steel” might have been a misjudgment in their otherwise stellar trajectory.

Listening to Rush’s initial jam sessions, it was hard to predict their eventual status as prog-rock titans. Their early sound, especially on their debut, seemed a pale imitation of the blues rock emanating from England, somewhat reminiscent of a rawer Bad Company.

The departure of their original drummer, John Rutsey, due to his health struggles, and the induction of Neil Peart marked a pivotal shift. Peart’s lyrical prowess and drumming skills propelled “Fly By Night,” turning Rush from a band capable of bluesy grooves into legends of progressive rock.

Their exploration of complex time signatures in tracks like “Anthem” and the acoustic serenity of “Rivendell” showcased their versatility. Yet, it was “By-Tor and The Snow Dog” that represented their most significant departure, narrating an epic battle in an eight-minute musical saga.

Peart’s lyrical ambitions, while not yet rivalling Dylan, found success with “Fly By Night,” setting a foundation for their future. However, “Caress of Steel,” their third album, risked derailing their ascent with its ambitious but poorly received experiments, such as the side-long epic “The Fountain of Lamneth.”

Lee, in a conversation with Louder, reflected on the album’s failure to resonate, attributing it to its experimental nature and the ambitious, yet obscure, storytelling of “The Fountain of Lamneth.” The album’s lukewarm reception and the record company’s displeasure did not deter them. Instead of capitulating to commercial pressures, Rush doubled down on their artistic vision with “2112,” crafting one of their most acclaimed works.

Rush’s path to fame, marked by what seemed like missteps, underscores that the greatest success stories often emerge from the lowest points, as evidenced by the turnaround after “Caress of Steel.”

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