Rush: 10 Songs That Define Their Career

10. Working Man (Rush, 1974) Before there was Neil Peart, there was John Rutsey. Rush€™s original drummer played with the band up through the release of their eponymous debut LP, which they put out on their own Moon Records label. In those days, Rush was heavily influenced by the bluesy hard-rock sounds of Cream and Led Zeppelin, with Lifeson doing his best Jimmy Page impressions on songs like €œFinding My Way€ and €œIn the Mood€ and Lee€™s wailing vocals smacking of a reedier, rawer Robert Plant. Lacking Peart€™s lyrical abilities and expansive array of toms and cymbals, Rush plays as a straightforward and rather unimportant rock album full of trivial love songs and tasty riffs. It€™s an important record in the Rush annals, though, because €œWorking Man,€ the album€™s final track, got picked up and popularized by Cleveland DJ Donna Halper. The song€™s blue-collar lyrics found an audience in the Rust Belt city and Lifeson€™s extended shredding heralded the coming of Rush€™s instrumental prowess. €œWorking Man€ made Rush a modest commercial success, led to a label deal with Mercury Records, and is still a popular live selection by the band. John Rutsey never got to play €œWorking Man€ in the United States, as he left the band before its first American tour due to complications from diabetes. Lee and Lifeson held auditions for his replacement and Peart got the job, forever altering Rush€™s fate.
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