Top 10 Rush Songs

Script written by Aaron Cameron. Formed in 1968 in Toronto, Ontario, Rush is a rock trio featuring Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. While they’re known for their progressive rock sound that incorporates hard rock and heavy metal, Rush is probably most famous for musical talents and the complexity of their works. For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites and their most commercially successful songs. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Rush songs. Special thanks to our users Jack Morris, Gee Zup, Truman Butler, adpem88, Ridinspinaz04, Awesome One, Bubba142 and fourstringwill for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Aaron Cameron.

Good things always come in threes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Rush songs.

For this list, we’ve chosen our entries based on a combination of the artist’s fan favorites and their most commercially successful songs.

#10: “Freewill”
Permanent Waves (1980)

Full of the high bow lyrics and hard driving soundscapes Rush is known for, this rocker debuted live in 1979 and it has remained a fan favorite ever since. While its parent album saw the trio move towards more radio-ready songs, “Freewill” proved they were still musically innovative. At just over 5 minutes, it’s filled with Geddy Lee’s trebly bass lines, Neil Peart’s complex drum fills, and a shredding guitar solo from Alex Lifeson that could give Eddie Van Halen a run for his money.

#9: “Closer to the Heart”
A Farewell to Kings (1977)

A decidedly short and snappy number, this is one of the few Rush songs to feature material written by a songwriter outside of the band. Owing to its short length and pop appeal, “Closer to the Heart” has become a radio staple since its release and has been featured on most Rush tours. Recorded in the United Kingdom, it also proved to be more successful there, hitting the 36th spot on the UK charts while peaking at number 76 on the American charts.

#8: “La Villa Strangiato”
Hemispheres (1978)

Subtitled “An Exercise in Self-Indulgence,” this 9 and half-minute epic certainly lives up to its name. Although the group would continue in the instrumental vein with pieces like “YYZ” later on, the strain of recording this multi-suite affair helped encourage the band to write shorter songs. In fact, recording “La Villa Strangiato” took longer than the group’s entire second album, Fly By Night. Nonetheless, the piece – which was written as a soundtrack to a dream Alex Lifeson had – has remained a concert favorite.

#7: “Red Barchetta”
Moving Pictures (1981)

If you’re in a band, it’s highly likely you’ll one day write a song about a car. Based on a Richard Foster short story about a future where most cars have been banned, this tune is an ode to joy riding and the freedom of the road. Building on the radio-friendly Permanent Waves album, “Red Barchetta” features tight interplay between Lee and Peart and chompy, rocking guitar tones from Lifeson. The song also makes mild use of synths, which was a sign of sounds to come for Rush.

#6: “Fly By Night”
Fly By Night (1975)

On his first outing with Rush, Peart and his pirate-mullet hit the ground running: not only taking over behind the drum kit but also by becoming their chief lyricist. Penned by Peart, the title cut to the band’s sophomore effort is based on an early life-changing trip to England. Meanwhile, the hard rocking Lee-composed music hints at the sonic complexities that would appear on later Rush albums.

#5: “The Spirit of Radio”
Permanent Waves (1980)

Tight and radio-ready, this track sees the band letting their creative juices flow as much as ever. Filled with stadium-pleasing guitar riffs, “The Spirit of Radio” is notable for abruptly switching from some heavy rocking to some reggae chill-out and then back. While the album version charted with the top 60 of the Billboard Hot 100, a live version later hit the top forty of the Mainstream Rock Charts.

#4: “Limelight”
Moving Pictures (1981)

The Peart-penned lyrics of this Moving Pictures single deal with the reclusive and intensely private drummer's struggles to cope with fame. Meanwhile, Lifeson's mournful, lonesome guitar solo is a testament to the isolation that came with their success. Ironically, the track only gained the band more attention, hitting #4 on the Mainstream Rock charts and #55 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Limelight” is also a favorite of Rush fans and classic rock fans alike.

#3: “Subdivisions”
Signals (1982)

After years of dabbling and toiling in the background, synthesizers came to the forefront on this Signals single. As a result, the band's subsequent live shows would see Geddy take on triple duty more and more as he handled vocals, bass, and multiple keyboards. Dealing with Peart's less-than-enjoyable memories of suburban life, “Subdivisions” also features a rare vocal from the skin-man on the track's title line – though Lifeson’s the one singing it in the video and in concert.

#2: “2112”
2112 (1976)

Clocking in at a colossal 20 and a half-minutes, this is the track, along with its parent record, that put Rush on the musical map. A concept album set in the dystopian future of 2112, the work was exactly what the band's label didn't want, but exactly what the public did. Meanwhile, the title track, which is divided into 7 parts, has Peart taking his lyrical inspiration from novelist Ayn Rand. Featuring elements of prog, hard rock and heavy metal, “2112” is an incredible showcase of Rush’s storytelling and musical talents, which is why it lands here.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- “Xanadu” A Farewell to Kings (1977)
- “The Big Money” Power Windows (1985)
- “Marathon” Power Windows (1985)
- “Working Man” Rush (1974)
- “Clockwork Angels” Clockwork Angels (2012)

#1: “Tom Sawyer”
Moving Pictures (1981)

With cosmic synth leads, multiple time signatures, and elaborate drum fills, “Tom Sawyer” is the Rush song. With writing credits going to the whole band, the prog and hard rock track also saw Peart team up with poet Pye Dubois to craft its tale of a modern renegade. Despite the trio being initially unsure of the song, it quickly became their signature tune. Along with being a top 40 UK hit, the 4 and a half-minute number charted within the top 10 of the Mainstream Rock charts and was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite Rush song? For more progressive Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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