Drummer Neil Peart for the Canadian band Rush died January 7 in Santa Monica, California at the age of 67. Like fellow Canadian musician Gordon Downie, Peart battled brain cancer but chose not to tell his fans of the three year battle.

For decades, Peart, Geddy Lee, and Alex Lifeson entertained audiences as the progressive rock band Rush. Peart was also the band’s lyricist. Rush retired in 2015.


After forming in Toronto during the 1970’s, Rush went on to earn critical acclaim around the globe and have been inducted into the Canadian Music and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame. They also hold 10 Juno Awards.

Peart, along with his fellow band mates, holds the highest civilian honour in Canada – the Officer of the Order of Canda – and the nation’s highest artist honour – the Governor General’s Award.

He was born Cornelius Ellwood Peart was born September 12, 1952 in Hamilton, Ontario. It wasn’t until the family moved to St. Catherine’s when Neil was 13 that he began taking drum lessons. In search of fame and fortune, Peart moved to London, England when he was 18.

He cites Gene Krupa, Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell, Ginger Baker, Michael Giles, John Bonham, and Michael Shrieve as his influences. Now Neil Peart is the name drummers give when asked for their influences.

Returning to Canada in 1972, Peart worked at his father’s farm equipment dealership while playing in local bands. In 1974, auditioned for a then unknown band in Toronto and joined the night on the night before Rush made their first tour to the United States.

Rush went beyond his band duties with Rush, he created instructional DVD’s, produced a tribute album to drumming legend Buddy Rich, and has published six books

Predeceased by his first wife Jacqueline and daughter Selena, Peart is survived by his second wife Carrie and daughter Olivia.

Feature photo credit: By Clalansingh – Taken at concert., CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10996351

By Weatherman90 at en.wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4301244