Rush is a Canadian group led by Geddy Lee (bass, vocals, keyboards), Alex Lifeson (guitars), and Neil Peart (drums, lyrics). They are one of the most successful and long-standing rock group’s ever, though their mainstream popularity was essentially short-lived. As depicted in the film I Love You, Man (featuring a cameo by the band), the group’s fanbase is almost exclusively male. Each member of the band is a virtuoso on their respective instrument, and the group’s sound have varied from hard rock to progressive to even reggae-inspired sounds. The group has 24 gold records and 14 platinum records, placing them third behind only The Beatles and Rolling Stones for most consecutive gold or better albums.

Formed in Toronto, the first Rush album was released in 1974. The group’s original drummer John Rutsey quit shortly thereafter, replaced by Peart. The group’s popularity ebbed and flowed for a couple years before the album 2112 was released in 1976. Featuring a 20 minute title track broken into seven sections on side one, the album featured a hard progressive sound, the album was a watershed for the group. Several albums in this style followed.

In 1980, the group released Permanent Waves which featured a more mainstream sound and more radio-friendly songs. It was the group’s first top 5 U.S. album, featuring the hits “Spirit of the Radio” and “Freewill”. In 1981, the group returned with Moving Pictures which continued the trend.

Moving Pictures took the group’s popularity to superstar levels, eventually selling over four million copies in the U.S. The album features numerous FM radio hits including “Tom Sawyer”, “Red Barchetta”, and the instrumental “YYZ”. The album featured increased use of keyboards played by Lee. “Limelight” was another standout track from Moving Pictures and like “Tom Sawyer” was a rock and pop hit. Ironically, the lyrics by Peart express dissatisfaction with mainstream popularity, something that increased after the release of the song. This song was played live by Rush in I Love You, Man and also used in Adventureland and Fanboys.

Rush continued to release Platinum albums for most of the next decade, increasing their use of keyboards as well. Use of the keyboards were reduced in the 1990s. The group continues to record and play live. With the group’s distinctive sounds and Lee’s high-pitched vocals, their mainstream success in 1981 was sort-of a fluke, but the group’s longevity cannot be denied.

“Limelight” Video (embedding disabled)

As an example of the group’s male fan-base, check this video from the mid-1980s as several high school boys mime to “YYZ” while one of them plays along with a saxophone. Disclaimer: the sax player is a friend of the author, though that doesn’t lessen the impact of this incredible video.