The album that started it all. Original drummer John Rutsey performed all drum parts on the album. The recording sessions were produced by Dave Stock at Eastern Sound in Toronto, recorded late at night because the studio rates were the cheapest (they recorded the album on their own dime). The band was unhappy with the quality of the first sessions, so they moved to Toronto Sound Studios and produced the next sessions themselves to get a better sound.
Fly By Night (early 1975)
Fly by Night was recorded at Toronto Sound Studios on Overlea Boulevard in Toronto, where they recorded parts of their first album as well as their next two albums, Caress of Steel and 2112.
John Rutsey left the band, and with one week’s notice, Neil Peart joined the band for Rush’s first American tour. In addition to drumming duties, Neil also took on the job of lyricist, leading the band to adopt a more literary lyrical style that differed significantly from their self-titled debut album.
Caress of Steel (late 1975)
Although the band initially had high hopes for Caress of Steel, it was considered a disappointment by the record company. The album eventually became known as one of Rush’s most obscure and overlooked recordings. Die hard fans feel the record is underrated.
Caress of Steel featured long pieces broken up into various sections and long solo passages. It is often considered notable for the inclusion of the band’s first two epic pieces, “The Necromancer” and “The Fountain of Lamneth.”
The band’s label didn’t want Rush to do another “concept” album. The band ignored this advice and went on to record their first major commercial success and a signature record, which enabled them to chart their own course moving forward.
“We don’t want to change what people think about rock & roll, we just want to show them what we think about it.” – Alex Lifeson, 1976
Influenced by the writings of Ayn Rand, the album features the side-long title suite. Based in the future, a galaxy-wide war results in the union of all planets under the rule of the Red Star of the Solar Federation. By 2112, the world is controlled by the “Priests of the Temples of Syrinx,” who determine the content of all reading matter, songs, pictures – every facet of life.
A Farewell to Kings (1977)
A Farewell To Kings was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales, and mixed at Advision Studios in London. It was the band’s Rush’s first US gold-selling album, receiving the certification within two months of its release, and was eventually certified platinum. The band was happy with how it turned out. Geddy recalled in 1978:
“It’s the only one of our albums apart from ‘2112‘ that I can really live with. I’ve yet to look at it and start finding fault with it, pick it apart, you know…it still sounds so positive.”
Hemispheres was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales and mixed at Trident Studios in London in 1978. It was the last of two albums the band recorded in the U.K. before returning to Canada. The record explores the political, social economic, and sci-fi themes prevalent on their early work, continuing the saga of “Cygnus” from A Farewell To Kings.
Similar to 2112, Hemispheres features a single, epic song broken into chapters as the first side of the album (“Cygnus X-1, Book II: Hemispheres”). The album also features the instrumental, “La Villa Strangiato.”