9. Fly By Night - Rush
If you had listened to the first Rush album, you probably wouldn't expect them to be where they are today. Instead of the insane time signature changes and the colossal epics that they would make down the line, the first record feels a lot closer to the boogie woogie rock of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith. Once Neil Peart entered the picture though, Fly By Night showed them growing up tenfold in only a few months.
It's not like the traditional rock chops have gone anywhere. Across songs like Best I Can, you can still hear the rootsier rock that the band was raised on...just filtered through a more sophisticated lens. From the opening riff of Anthem, you know something has changed up, whether it's the weird time signature or just the tight chemistry between the three bandmates.
Out of everyone involved, Neil Peart is playing like he has everything to prove, giving a masterclass behind the drum kit as well as providing more insightful lyrics for songs like the title track and Beneath Between and Behind. Say what you want to about the first record, but there's not a chance that you'd find something like Rivendell or Anthem on there. Compared to the kids trying to figure stuff out, this was the moment where Rush really became the legends we know today.