In which I attempt to distill the music of my most formative years down to five artists, and one record per artist that, to me, most personify their music.
Rush, Exit...Stage Left
You can't be a drummer and not like Rush. I should rephrase: I'm sure there are drummers out there who don't like Rush, I just haven't met any yet.
Not only am I a drummer, and have been since the third grade, but I also grew up in central Pennsylvania, and while near the small capital city of Harrisburg, it was largely rural and demographically homogeneous. There was probably more than one classic rock station on the radio and this was a time when we still listened to the radio. I also had one sibling, a sister nine years my senior. She introduced me to Yes and Boston. I am, however, unsure of when I first heard Rush. It had to be on the radio.
Regardless, Exit...Stage Left was my first Rush record...on an extended-play tape.
It was the drum solo on the track YYZ that did it. I am not really into drum solos anymore--possibly an indication of a more mature drummer--but at the time that drum solo completely blew my mind.
The record has a lot of their classic hits: The Spirit of Radio, Tom Sawyer, etc. It's a good introduction to what is probably their most famous and commercially successful era.
I would later go on to consume every era of Rush and finally see them live on their last two tours ever, while in my 30's and soon after my 40th birthday, here in Dallas.
Musically Rush is divisive, but no one can deny that they were one of the most talented trios of musicians and all around good people ever to grace the radio waves. Even if you're not a fan of rock music at all, the documentary film Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage is still a must-see.