Afterimage: The Legacy of Neil Peart. Remembering 'The Professor' on the third anniversary of his death.
On January 7th, 2020, Neil Peart, the virtuoso drummer and lyricist for Rush, died after a long and courageous battle with a rare form of brain cancer (Glioblastoma). Today, on the third anniversary of his passing, we remember Neil and the impact he had - and continues to have - on the world of music and the masses of Rush fans that span all four corners of the globe.
Suddenly you were gone. From all the lives You left your mark upon...
Despite his 'rock and roll' profession, Neil Peart was a very private and humble soul. He never sought out the adulation of fans or critics, but he was always appreciative of their praise, particularly when that praise came from fellow musicians. As a private man, the shock of Neil's death rocked fans to their core as virtually no one outside his 'inner circle' was even aware that he was ill. Suddenly, he was gone.
While that initial shock still resonates to this day, turning our focus on the mark he left on all of us aids in the healing process. He gave us the gift of a lifetime of music and deep, thought-provoking lyrics. His unwavering drive to become the absolute best at his craft continues to inspire countless drummers to this day. His numerous books and blog entries gave us all an inside look at what drove the man's passions. Perhaps the biggest gift Neil Peart provided was one that continues to flourish today; the greater community of Rush fans who, through this tragedy, have bonded together more closely than ever before.
I feel the way you would. This just can't be understood...
Rush fans from all walks of life have very passionate, and often disparate, views of the band's musical evolution through their decades-spanning career. With Neil's untimely passing, differing opinions all coalesced into a support system that allowed fans to process their grief and lean on the, often virtual, shoulders of their fellow fans. We all felt the same pain, we all struggled to comprehend, we all tried to rationalize. In the end, this is something that just can't be understood. In the three years since his death, there seems to be no dissipation of that support system among the Rush community. Debates about everything certainly continue, but the bond so many of us forged due to this tragedy has unquestionably sent us all down our own healing road - together.
I remember -- the shouts of joy skiing fast through the woods -- I hear the echoes...
The anniversary of Neil's death will always be an important date for so many of us, however it hasn't lessened the fan celebrations centered around other Rush anniversaries. From the release dates of studio and live albums, to specific concert performances, special appearances, awards and recognition, and more; Rush fans still remember and celebrate the echoes of the past. And why shouldn't we? Rush has become an interwoven thread in the tapestry of so many of our lives that we should always hold onto the memories of shouts of joy from a concert, and the echoes of old applause.
I learned your love for life. I feel the way that you would -- I feel your presence. I remember...
For me personally, this final verse from Afterimage, the second track from the band’s 1984 album Grace Under Pressure, perfectly encapsulates my feelings as I reflect back on the past three years. While grief and acceptance is an important component when dealing with loss of this magnitude, celebration of life is equally important. Neil Peart remains a presence, and his unique gift to each of us, to the world of music, and to future generations, shall always be celebrated…and remembered.
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