Credit: Enrico Frangi

Marvel at Neil Peart’s perfect percussion on the isolated drums for Rush’s ‘Tom Sawyer’

We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to revisit a classic piece of music from Rush and, of course, the wonderful Neil Peart.

When Neil Peart sadly lost his life this year, the world mourned the loss of one of the best drummers to have ever walked the earth. Rush’s lyricist and drummer extraordinaire, Peart, kept the band moving in the right direction. There’s only one way to pay tribute to the late star and that is through his music.

Peart was famed for being the powerhouse creative drive behind much of Rush’s prog-rock glory. The drummer became synonymous with expert musicianship and meticulous artistry. In the myriad of sonics that often accompanies Rush’s songs, there is no better way to see this skill than in this isolated drum track on the band’s iconic song ‘Tom Sawyer’.

One of the band’s most iconic tracks was also born in the most natural ways, it’s conception almost immaculate. After Peart had worked with Pye Dubois and Max Webster on the lyrics, next was the drumbeat, which Peart, along with the rest of the band, improvised through providing a keen vision of his dynamic mind.

The drummer told CBC of the song’s composition, “That song finds us at a time of such confidence that we were learning to make a song that was only six minutes instead of 12, 15, and use the same standards of arrangement.”

Adding: “The drum is so detailed, but when we go into the middle to the odd time part, it was improvised. I got lost and I punched my way out of it and somehow came back to the one. And that improvisation became a new part…. It’s one of those key parts that I love and it was absolutely a mistake that I just got lucky and got out of.”

If there was one thing to typify Rush it is this comment, an improvisation leading to one of their most cherished songs. Famed for his more measured style, it is refreshing to hear Peart let a rip and the music flow through him.

Listen to Peart’s isolated drums on Rush’s 1976 hit ‘Tom Sawyer’ below:

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