The Rush song the band struggled to get right


Rush may be the musical equivalent of Marmite. But no one can deny that they were not fully committed to their craft. This meant that even when things got tough, the Canadian trio could pull it out of the bag and move into a new, more refined area, triumphing against the odds.

Rush’s dedication to their craft also meant that they stayed in their lane despite shifting zeitgeists. For example, with the disaster of 1975‘s Caress of Steel, they became a prog-rock band. Just as the genre was on its way out, with punk on the horizon, and made the blueprint their own. Elsewhere, the group experimented with a host of different musical palettes as they saw fit, ranging from metal to pop. It was with primary lyricist Neil Peart drawing upon the controversial works of Ayn Rand to establish the group’s distinctive sound.

Rush were a law unto themselves. And the acute awareness of their limitations underpinned all of their most outstanding achievements. The best example is what happened with Caress of Steel. The album saw the band depart from the more rudimentary rock of their earlier years and venture into more memorable prog territory. It was, however, too ahead of its time and was panned by both critics and fans.

The album was such a flop that Rush’s label, Mercury, considered dropping them. It was with guitarist Alex Lifeson admitting years later that he considered quitting during this period. Yet the trio banded together and created the album that would launch their most lauded chapter: 2112. Most bands would have buckled in the face of such pressure. It demonstrates exemplary dedication to their art and the right attitude.

This ethos would carry Rush throughout their career. It was with their attention to detail and refinement being one of their most admirable achievements. According to frontman and bassist Geddy Lee, it would also pave the way for one of their best later songs, ‘Cold Fire‘ from 1993’s Counterparts. He revealed during the album’s world radio premiere that the band “rewrote the song quite a bit” to get it right. It is a shining example of artists striving to achieve excellence.

“We rewrote that song quite a bit,” Lee explained. And, thankfully, I believe Peter Collins’ presence was instrumental in bringing that song together.  He came in and he pointed out certain strengths in the previous versions of the songs that we had. And he helped us reorganize that song.”

“I was having trouble with the verses, you know. It’s a tough song when you’re dealing with this issue of male/female relationships, which is such a foreign subject for us to deal with, in a song,” he said. “You want to make sure it doesn’t sound trite or hackneyed, or you’re just doing another — who needs another relationship song?” It took us a while to get into the right mood. And I was really happy with the mood we ended up with in the verses. I think, strangely enough, as much as that song was a nightmare for me when I heard the record now, I think the verses are one of the album’s strongest parts, in that song.”

‘Cold Fire’ is a compelling addition to Rush’s repertoire. It showcases their evolution as musicians and their ability to resonate with listeners through profound themes and expert musicianship.

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