Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Rush Songs - Rolling Stone
Home Music Music Lists

Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Rush Songs

See what song managed to top ‘2112,’ ‘The Spirit of Radio’ and ‘Subdivisions’


Rush in 1976.

Fin Costello/Redferns

Rush are two months away from launching a 40th anniversary tour, and this might be your last chance to ever see them live. Neil Peart doesn't want to be away from his daughter for long periods of times and the strain of playing for three hours a night is taking a toll on his body, so the band says that this might be the final big run. We'll see whether or not that's true, but right now, fans are looking forward to career-retrospective sets that will hopefully showcase rarely-played tunes. As anticipation builds, we asked our readers to vote for their favorite Rush songs. Here are the results. 


“Red Barchetta”

The future is a pretty lousy place in the world of Rush. Their 1981 song "Red Barchetta" tells of a time when the "motor law" has banned many cars but a rebel holds onto the title whip for 50 years. When he takes it for a drive, he winds up in a dangerous chase. The song, which is on Moving Pictures, was never a single, but it remains a fan favorite. 


“Working Man”

Back in 1974, Cleveland rock station WMMS began playing a song by a then-unknown Canadian rock band. It got a huge response, even if most listeners had no idea who they were or why they sounded vaguely like Led Zeppelin. It's presumed that "Working Man" touched a nerve with the many blue collar workers across the city, and it provided Rush with a nice launching pad in the States. The track was recorded with original drummer John Rutsey; just months later Neil Peart took his place behind the kit. 



Neil Peart is largely an introvert, and when Rush began getting incredibly famous in the early 1980s, he poured his discomfort into the song "Limelight." "Living in a fish eye lens," he wrote. "Caught in the camera eye/I have no heart to lie/I can't pretend a stranger/Is a long-awaited friend." The song did little to solve his problem – it became one of the band's biggest hits, making his "gilded cage" even harder to live in. 



When Rush's two 1975 albums, Fly By Night and Caress of Steel, failed to find a mass audience, their label wanted them to record something more commercial. Knowing its entire career was on the line, the band decided to double down on its sound by crafting the crazily ambitious 2112. The 20-minute title track is about life in a version of 2112 where music has been banned following an interplanetary war. Without any doubt, it's one of the most cherished compositions in the history of prog rock. Rush can't get offstage without playing at least a little bit of it. When they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they played the first segment with members of the Foo Fighters, who were dressed up like Rush from that time period. 


“Tom Sawyer”

Neil Peart wrote most of Rush's lyrics by himself, but their most famous song was actually co-written with Canadian poet Pye Dubois. The latter came up with a poem about a modern-day rebellious spirit very much reminiscent of Tom Sawyer, and Peart fleshed it out into a complete song. It was the second single off Moving Pictures and never rose higher than Number 44 on the Hot 100, but it has since been played countless times on classic rock radio and remains the band's signature tune. 

Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.