Readers' Poll: 10 Greatest Rush Albums - Rolling Stone
Home Music Music Lists

Readers’ Poll: 10 Greatest Rush Albums

The band’s best work, from their 1974 debut through 2012’s ‘Clockwork Angels’

Rob Verhorst/ Getty Images

After Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson told Rolling Stone that the trio were prepping for a 2015 tour, one that’s going to be “very pleasing for the fans across the board” and will provide “good opportunity to do some rarer Rush material,” we asked you to consider all of that material and tell us which of the band’s 20 albums is their best. Click through to see your choices for the top 10.

Courtesy Mercury Records

‘A Farewell to Kings’

Rush's first studio album after 2112's breakthrough found the band juggling various aspects of their sound. "Xanadu" and "Cygnus X-1," the beginning of a narrative that would be concluded on the first side of Hemispheres, were the long story songs, but "Closer to the Heart" and "Madrigal" were their first sub-three-minute recordings in years. And where "Xanadu," for instance, saw Rush adding the synthesizers that over the next few years they would use more and more, other tracks featured instruments as analog as bells, acoustic guitar and windchimes.

Courtesy Mercury Records

‘Grace Under Pressure’

No track on Grace Under Pressure tops six minutes, but the record's Cold War-era vision of persecution and nuclear fallout was as haunting and dystopian as any of the side-length sci-fi epics that appeared on earlier albums. Produced with Peter Henderson, who had previously worked with Paul McCartney and Supertramp, the record's sound went in the other direction, warming up with more of the reggae and funk influences that had begun to creep into Signals two years earlier. More synths, too: With "Kid Gloves" providing a notable exception, Alex Lifeson's guitar here began to share space with Geddy's keys.

Courtesy Mercury Records


With Fly by Night and Caress of Steel selling less than expected, Mercury Records pushed Rush to make their fourth LP their most commercial. The resulting album may not have been pop in the sense that it opens with a 20-minute suite referencing obscure Greek gods and telling a story resembling that of a dystopian Ayn Rand novel, but it was popular in the sense that it became band's first album to go platinum multiple times over. In the Rolling Stone review of the recent deluxe reissue, Rob Sheffield called 2112 Rush's "most extreme, grandiose and Rush-like record, and thus their greatest."

Courtesy Mercury Records

‘Power Windows’

Whether you're looking to hear the story of the atomic bomb, a metaphoric account of running a marathon, a "Subdivisions"-like recollection of suburban malaise, an account of pop music's superficiality or just some good old fashioned shredding, Power Windows has a track for you. Suggesting that the record "may well be the missing link between Yes and the Sex Pistols," David Fricke, in his 1986 Rolling Stone review, wrote that the band had here "tightened up their sidelong suites and rhythmic abstractions into balled-up song fists, art-pop blasts of angular, slashing guitar, spatial keyboards and hyperpercussion, all resolved with forthright melodic sense."

Courtesy Mercury Records

‘Moving Pictures’

Rush have released 20 albums, but none introduced itself with lead and second singles better than "Tom Sawyer" and "Limelight," both of which not only remain in rotation at classic rock stations across the country but also continue to appear in films as recent as Fanboys, Adventureland and of course, I Love You, Man. "YYZ," meanwhile, earned the trio the first of their seven Grammy nominations, this one for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Perhaps this was the record those Mercury executives had in mind when they asked the band to release something more commercial.

Courtesy Mercury Records


Like 2112, Hemispheres opens with a side-length mini opera, this one continuing A Farewell to Kings' story of black hole Cygnus X-1 and the explorer who dares enter it. A pair of shorter tracks lead off Side Two before the album closes with nine-and-a-half minute instrumental, "La Villa Strangiato," which proved that the band could tell a story even without Neil Peart's lyrics and Geddy Lee's vocals. Upon its release, Rolling Stone gave the record a mixed review, writing that "these guys have the chops and drive to break out of the largely artificial bounds of the format, and they constantly threaten to do so but never quite manage."

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