PERFORMING ARTS

Anthem: Rush in the ’70s

ECW. May 2020. 360p. ISBN 9781770415201. $34.95. MUSIC
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Popoff, author of three previous books about Rush and a key player in the making of the documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, presents a generous helping of interviews with band members and their parents, managers, roadies, and others in an exhaustive look at the Canadian rock group’s formation, with glimpses of early successes and some less well-received musical efforts. The book closely examines each album from the 1970s. Apart from a few self-important remarks at the outset, Popoff wisely steps aside to let the artists and their supporters speak for themselves. From humble beginnings in the suburbs of Toronto to a 40-year run as one of the rock circuit’s iconic names, Rush established its characteristic sound and distinctiveness as a trio among the more common quartet groupings, touring with Kiss and Aerosmith while incorporating influences from diverse sources including Led Zeppelin. Certainly their stable upbringings and home lives may have contributed to their longevity and their ability to steer clear of the partying and drug use rampant at the time.
VERDICT A must for Rush fans and an intriguing examination of how small musical groups coalesce. Also a fitting memorial to drummer Neil Peart, who died this past January.

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