Neil Peart Through the Years: 1976-2015 Photo Gallery
Peart joined Rush in the summer of 1974, replacing John Rutsey, after the band's self-titled debut and a few weeks before the start of a U.S. tour. His arrival turned around the fortunes of the band, with Fly by Night being the first album to show off not only his innovative drumming but also his lyrics - which were infused with science fiction and fantasy themes.
But it took a few years for the public to fully take notice. Their next few records saw progressively bigger sales. As the '80s dawned, Rush, like most of their contemporaries, began incorporating synthesizers into their sound. It paid off handsomely, with songs like "Limelight," "Tom Sawyer" and "New World Man" becoming rock radio smashes in the U.S.
If Rush's output in the '90s and beyond didn't match the commercial success of their '80s output, it was nonetheless marked by a willingness to continually challenge themselves. The deaths of Peart's daughter and partner within 10 months of each other in the late '90s led to a hiatus, but the group returned in 2002 with Vapor Trails, and continued to record and tour regularly for another decade.
But Peart's aggressive playing style took a toll on his health. Rush's 2015 tour that celebrated their 40 years together, was billed as their last due to the pains he experienced while behind his kit. Following the tour's final date, Aug. 1, 2015 at the Forum in Los Angeles, he never played drums in public again. In 2016, he published a book, Far and Wide: Bring That Horizon to Me!, the third in his series of photographs of his motorcycle journeys during Rush tours. But he soon retreated from the spotlight, and died on Jan. 7, 2020 after a three-year struggle with a brain tumor.