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Few Canadian acts have maintained the level of international success enjoyed by Rush for over three decades, gradually adapting their early uncompromising hard rock to embrace broader, more melodic styles built around Neil Peart's lyrics. Alex Lifeson put the original line-up of Rush together in Willowdale, Toronto with singer Jeff Jones and drummer John Rutsey, but the band went through various incarnations before settling on the core line-up of Lifeson, Geddy Lee and Peart. They started touring in earnest in 1974 and released their first album 'Fly By Night' a year later.

Maintaining a blues-influenced rock approach laced with lyrics inspired by Peart's love of sci-fi, the band had their first breakthrough with the ambitious 1976 album '2112', including a futuristic seven-part suite. Their music then became steadily more progressive, embracing reggae with the 'Permanent Waves' album in 1980, and reached a commercial pinnacle in 1981 with 'Moving Pictures'. They continued to develop their sound through the 1980s before reverting to a more basic hard rock format in the '90s then taking an extended break.

They were back with 'Vapor Trails' in 2002 and 'Snakes & Arrows' in 2007 with their final album 'Clockwork Angels' in 2012. After extensive touring through 2012 and 2013, the band agreed to a one-year break. The R40 came in 2015 marking the band's 40th anniversary. With Peart and Lifeson both suffering from health problems, R40 was revealed to be their last tour. Two years after officially declaring their retirement in January 2018, Neil Peart passed away following a lengthy battle with cancer.