Rush Tributes & Samplings

"Get on with the fascination, the real relation, the underlying theme"

Tributes To Rush

"All the Greats" by Jeff Berlin from Pump It!, 1986

"Dedicated to Neil Peart, Alex Lifeson & Geddy Lee". Neil performed on Jeff's previous album, Champion. Geddy has been quoted in saying Jeff is the "greatest bassist in the world", and has cited Jeff as an influence.
"I had a visit from Jeff Berlin, who's a friend, on the tour and I had the opportunity to watch him goofing around backstage with a bass, and was just amazed at his knowledge of bass chords. That's something I had never really exploited in my playing, so he inspired me to play around more with it. He probably doesn't know it, and would be embarrassed to hear it. I ended up using bass chords on 'Force Ten' and 'Turn The Page'. Not so much in the sense of strumming them as using my thumb more, almost like a fingerpicking style of playing, which is something that I'm still working on. Just plucking with my thumb and going back and forth between the thumb and the first two fingers and pulling. Almost like a snapping technique. It's opened up a bit more range for me. There's more melodic possibilities and rhythmic possibilities too, which is an important role for the bass player. If you can establish not only a melody but a rhythmic feel, that's an extra tool." - Geddy Lee, Bass Player, Nov/Dec 1988

  • "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)", from Master of Puppets, 1986
    This song contains a tribute to "Tom Sawyer" at 4:06 - 4:21 and at 4:43; Rush is also thanked in the albums' credits.
  • "Holier Than Thou", from Metallica (aka "the Black Album"), August 26, 1991
    Includes a nod to "Witch Hunt", with the lyrics "Point the finger, slow to understand, arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand".

"Longe Demais Das Capitais" (Too Far From the Capitals) (live) by Brazilian band Engenheiros do Hawaii (Engineers from Hawaii) on Alívio Imediato, 1989

Contains a short tribute to "Tom Sawyer" at 4:49.


  • "John The Fisherman" live (with "YYZ" intro) on Suck On This, November 1989

  • "To Defy The Laws Of Tradition" (with live "YYZ" intro) on Frizzle Fry, February 1990

Frizzle Fry starts exactly the same way as the previous album, Suck On This. The exact same song is played for eight seconds (as if you bought the wrong cd) and then abruptly winds down and "To Defy The Laws Of Tradition" begins. Both songs are included on They Can't All Be Zingers: Best of Primus. Known to be Rush fans, Primus toured with Rush on the Roll the Bones and Counterparts tours, and bass player Les Claypool also performed on one track of Alex Lifeson's solo project, Victor. For their 2000 Antipop tour they sold a concert t-shirt with artwork similar to the 2112 cover. Alex Lifeson appeared on their Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People DVD, interviewing the band as "Big Al", wearing black rimmed glasses and fake crooked teeth (the DVD also includes a photo of Les Claypool and Geddy Lee fishing, and a scene backstage where Les shows the camera his Geddy Lee autographed bass). Their third DVD, Blame It On The Fish, includes a 30-min. mockumentary set in 2065, where a 102 year-old Les Claypool reminisces about the band, and mentions Rush and/or Geddy lee on three separate occasions.

Barenaked Ladies

  • "Grade 9" on Gordon, July 28, 1992
    Contains tributes of "Tom Sawyer" and "The Spirit of Radio" at 1:57 and 2:32, respectively.

  • "Here Come The Geese" on Snacktime, May 6, 2008
    The final track of this children's album subtly quotes "Subdivisions"; when listing all the places one can find migratory geese, it includes "in the high school halls, in the shopping malls...". In addition, the title track includes guest appearances from multiple celebrities including Geddy Lee, who is heard saying "I'm Geddy, and my favorite snack is Barbecue Potato Chips".

Known to be Rush fans, "BNL" has been known to perform Rush covers live, and during their 2001 tour, drummer Tyler Stewart used a caricature of Rush's Star Man on his bass drum.

"Phantom Limb" by Christian Metal band Tourniquet on Intense Live Series Vol. 2, 1993

The intro includes a riff of "The Spirit of Radio".

"Bois Don't Cry" by Brazil's Mamonas Assassinas on their eponymous debut album, Summer 1995

This song includes a brief, almost imperceptible tribute to Rush at 2:10. The tribute was confirmed as a bit of "Tom Sawyer" when the bassist sang "a modern day warrior..." at that point during a Brazilian television appearance. Dream Theater fans will also recognize a tribute to "The Mirror" at 1:24 (not to mention the closing notes taken from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"!). This humorous (see album cover) rock band was very popular in Brazil, yet only released their debut album before the entire group died tragically when their plane crashed into a mountain in São Paulo after a concert in 1996.

Nerf Herder
  • "Golfshirt", from Nerf Herder, November 26, 1996
    The lyrics include the lines "I'm not the one who was an old time punk rocker, I was listening to Rush...".

  • "High School", from My E.P., July 3, 2001
    This song, in which the singer laments things he wishes he knew in high school, includes the lyrics "nobody ever got laid, cuz they were wearin' a Rush t-shirt".

"Stereo" by lo-fi indie group Pavement on Brighten The Corners, February 11, 1997, and Quarantine The Past: The Best Of Pavement, March 9, 2010

Contains the lyric "What about the voice of Geddy Lee? How did it get so high? I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy".

"Petty Staycheck" by hardcore band Six & Violence on The 3-Way-Dance, 1998

Petty Staycheck, a Spoonerism for "steady paycheck", opens with "Working Man" then segueys into other, similar themes.
"As for the Rush 'Working Man' intro, we are always jamming on bits of Rush, Black Sabbath, Hendrix, Zeppelin, or whatever, and that was always such a heavy riff, and really the lyrics are similar in scope to Petty Staycheck, so it just fit. Some people might think that doing a song that old might not be cool, but some of that stuff, particularly Rush, is so freakin' timeless, I don't care about any rules of hardcore or whatever-this is the stuff we grew up on. I guarantee you that right now some band of 18 year olds is jamming to Sabbath in a rehearsal room, I mean that shit can't be topped! They sure as fuck won't be jamming on Korn riffs 25 years from now!" - Six & Violence vocalist Kurt Stenzel

"Irk The Purists" by Half Man Half Biscuit on Trouble Over Bridgwater, May 23, 2000

The singer lists all his favorite bands and albums which "irk the purists", and opens with the lyrics "Give me Love, give me Can, give me Meatloaf, give me Rush, give me Marquee Moon..."

"TruthOla" by Steve Morse on Major Impacts, July 1, 2000

Credited to the influences of Jeff Beck, Eric Johnson & Alex Lifeson.
"...this tune actually is the influence of both Beck and Eric Johnson mixed together. However, the intro has a definite Alex Lifeson approach, with the suspended chord arpeggiated and the ninth added. I got to hear Alex play in concert for a number of weeks when my group opened for Rush, and I always liked his tasteful chord voicings. After I heard Alex and Rik Emmett, I thought there must be something special in the Canadian water." - Major Impacts linernotes.

"Wishlist" (live) by Pearl Jam on Live in Toronto, recorded October 5, 2000

Geddy was in attendance when Eddie Vedder changed the lyrics of the song from "I wish I was as fortunate, as fortunate as me" to "I wish I was fortunate, as fortunate as Geddy Lee".
"I went to that show cause I hadn't seen Matt [Cameron] since we finished [My Favorite Headache], and I met some of those guys when we were in Seattle doing the record, so it was nice. I'd never seen Pearl Jam live, they're a terrific band they wanted to embarrass me anyway they could, so they did that. I don't know how many people picked up on it, certainly there was a cross-section of people that definitely picked up on it, so there was a definite buzz in the room at the time." - Geddy Lee (WMMR Interview, December 18, 2000)

"Look What Happened" by Less Than Jake on Borders & Boundaries, October 24, 2000, rerecorded for Anthem, May 3, 2003

Contains a short tribute to "Tom Sawyer" between 0:27 and 0:44, and again at 3:20.

"Pool Party" by the humorous-ska band Aquabats on Myths, Legends, And Other Amazing Adventures, Volume 2, November 28, 2000

This song includes a brief tribute to "Tom Sawyer" at 3:03.

"Kiss Of Death" by bluegrass band Split Lip Rayfield on Never Make It Home, February 20, 2001

In this song where the singer laments buying a car that lasts only two months, he sings "and even though Rush sounded good on the stereo, I had killed that car."

"Lagoona Strangiato" by Norwegian progressive rock band Waste Lagoon on Shadow Chaser, 2001

With an intro similar to the intro to "YYZ", this is an original instrumental with a title which is obviously a play on words with the band's name and "La Villa Strangiato".
"Our tribute to our favourite band 'Rush' that probably have influenced us the most over the years." - Waste Lagoon.

"Starfleet Patrol" by Sean Edward Ghannam on Fusia, 2001

Sean is a member of the progressive rock group "Sonic Playground", as well as the Rush tribute band "Toronto Airport", who have performed at Rushcon. This instrumental tribute is included on Sean's solo album, "in the style of Alex Lifeson's work with the band Rush, Fusia, by guitarist Sean Edward Ghannam, crosses silly cosmic science fiction with progressive rock and fusion. An all instrumental affair, six of the seven tracks feature high energy electric/electronic compositions, with one track, 'Planetarium', melding acoustic guitar and guitar synthesizer."

"Prison Song" by metal band System of a Down on Toxicity, September 4, 2001

The closing notes of this song are identical to the close of 2112's "The Temples of Syrinx", which is likely intentional as this pro-drug song purports that the government wants to make the world a prison...
  • "Serenity" on Faceless, April 8, 2003, and Good Times, Bad Times: 10 Years of Godsmack, Dec. 4, 2007
    Good Times, Bad Times also includes a 75 minute DVD, "An Evening With Godsmack", featuring an acoustic performance filmed at the House of Blues in Las Vegas. During a Q&A with the crowd, Sully Erna explains that "Serenity" was written after reading the book Ghost Rider: Travels On The Healing Road by Neil Peart (pronounced incorrectly as "Pert") of Rush". Erna gives the audience an encapsulated synopsis of Neil's story, and then goes on to credit Neil as being an important influence on he and fellow Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin.

  • "Batalla De Los Tambores" by Godsmack on Changes, September 14, 2004
    This "drum battle" performed by Sully Erna and Shannon Larkin includes a short bit of "YYZ" and "Tom Sawyer". A sample of the drum battle can be viewed here. The DVD also includes a live performance of the Peart inspired "Serenity".

"The song ['Serenity'] was inspired by a book I read by Neil Peart, Ghost Rider: Travels On The Healing Road, and it's about the tragedies he went through. The poor guy lost his wife and kid within a 10-month period, his dog died, and then his best friend went to prison for dealing weed when he was supposed to go out with him and ride his motorcycle to just clear his head and help comfort him. He had been through so much, he just got on his motorcycle, and within 14 months drove 55,000 miles — from Canada to Alaska, to America, to Belize, Mexico, back to Canada — and basically journaled out this thing about how he tried to heal himself and not put a noose around his neck. It's just an amazing book, and he meaning I got out of it was so inspirational, because I'm thinking, 'God, if a guy can get through that kind of @#%$, why should I @#%$ about anything?' That's pretty heavy duty. So I got this beautiful song, and the cool part to the story is, I got to meet Neil Peart and hand him this song and ask him to play drums on it. Though he had to decline because they were touring and stuff, he wrote me back a letter and signed my book, wished me the best of luck, and kind of gave me his approval on the song, because I was really nervous about it. For one, he's one of my drum heroes, and for two, I didn't want him to feel like I was prying into his life on such a sensitive subject." Godsmack vocalist Sully Erna (Metal Edge, March 2003)

Godsmack founder Sully Erna is also an accomplished celebrity poker player. During the 2007 World Series Of Poker which was televised on ESPN, Erna could be seen wearing a Snakes & Arrows tour tshirt.

"2113" by emo-progressive band Coheed and Cambria, hidden track on In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, October 7, 2003

"2113" is reportedly an homage to the band's influences. Sometimes described as Metallica meets Rush, Coheed and Cambria are ironically often reviled by some Rush fans due to the singer's voice, which critics have described as "Geddy Lee meets Michael Jackson"!

"Me You And Geddy Lee" by comedian Canadian Studmuffin on Orgy, October 26, 2004

This song tells the fictitious story of a jealous boyfriend whose date was taken backstage by Geddy Lee.

"DoubleLight (for Neil Peart)" by DoubleLight on Assembly of the Wondrous Head, 2004

A tribute to Neil Peart after his family tragedies of 1996/1997, when investigating this song I was surprised to find that the performer was the person who held the "Free Alex" sign at Alex's release following his arrest at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples.

"Hurry Up" by Paul Gilbert on Get Out Of My Yard, July 17, 2006

Besides stating that this album was heavily influenced by Rush, it is reported that guitarist Paul Gilbert also named this Rush-sounding track as a tribute to Rush ("hurry up" means to "rush"). Rush fans may remember Gilbert as the guitarist for the band Mr. Big, who opened for Rush on the Presto tour; he was known for playing his guitar with a power drill. Gilbert also collaborated with Mike Portnoy and others for Cygnus And The Sea Monsters - One Night In Chicago.

The Problem of Pain: Part 1 by progressive metal band Torman Maxt, 2007

This concept album based on the Biblical book of Job was directly inspired Rush's 2112 and Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime. The title is taken from the book of the same name by C.S. Lewis which investigates why God allows human suffering on earth.

"Shreveport" by alternative country band the Gourds on Haymaker!, January 6, 2009

"Shreveport" includes the lyric "Midnight drive down on Jewella Road ... Looks like it's gonna be just me and Geddy Lee tonight".

"In The Mall" by Weezer on Raditude, November 3, 2009

This song includes a brief tribute to Rush's "Tom Sawyer" during the keyboard solo from 1:55-2:10.

"Time Flies On" by rock duo Glider on Open Skies, January 19, 2010

This song includes a tribute to the song "Armor And Sword" from Snakes & Arrows, as a father tells of teaching his children "The truths of this world that we all share, and of the Snakes and Arrows we must take care."

Werewolf, Baby! by Rob Zombie on Hellbilly Deluxe 2, February 2, 2010

This song includes a tribute to Rush's "La Villa Strangiato".

Songs Which Sample Rush

"Los Astronautas" by Mexican star Chespirito on Chespirito y sus Canciones, 1976

Released the same year as 2112, this song opens with the beginning of 2112 Overture. The inspiration for The Simpsons character "the Bumblebee Man", Roberto Gomez Bolanos (aka Chespirito) is a Mexican writer, actor, comedian, and songwriter who is popular throughout Latin America.

"Hip Hop Creature" by Cuban rapper Mellow Man Ace on Escape From Havana, 1989

Includes sampling of "Tom Sawyer" throughout.

"Time To Make The Donutz" by white rappers YBT (Young Black Teenagers) on Dead Enz Kidz Doin' Lifetime Bidz, 1993

Includes sampling of "Tom Sawyer" throughout.

"Conchita Martinez" by indie-dance group Saint Etienne on So Tough, March 9, 1993

Includes sampling of "The Spirit of Radio" throughout.

Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze Music by DJ Q-Bert, 1994

DJ Q-Bert sampled "Tom Sawyer" in the first part of a nearly 10 minute track on this mix tape (later released on CD), which is called "legendary" among turntabilists. In 1995, DJ Q-Bert formed Invisibl Skratch Piklz along with Short-Kut and Mix-Master Mike (who would eventually join the Beastie Boys in 1998, and perform a similar mix during their 1998 tour).

"Crush Kill Destroy" by The Ultramagnetic MC's on The Basement Tapes 1984-1990, May 17, 1995

Includes sampling of "Tom Sawyer" throughout.

"Do You Wanna Get Rocked" classic rock DJ mix on Ultimix #77, 1999

This 16-minute DJ medley mix of classic rock studio releases includes "Tom Sawyer" from 2:02-2:36.

"Let The Music Play - Plasmic Honey 2000 AD Remix" by Shannon on Let The Music Play: Give Me Tonight cd single, August 20, 2000

Clocking in at over 9 minutes, the first minute of this remix of the 80's dance tune samples the opening keyboards of 2112.

"Intro" by rapper Joe Budden on Joe Budden, June 10, 2003

Though unrecognizable, as credited in the linernotes: "'Intro' contains a sample of 'Lock and Key' written by Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart...Performed by Rush."

Go Home Productions
  • "Annie Rush", 2004
    A mash-up of Annie Lennox's "Little Bird" with Rush's "The Spirit Of Radio"
  • "Annie's Stoned Rush", 2004
    A mash-up of Annie Lennox's "Little Bird" with The Rolling Stone's "Satisfaction" followed by Rush's "The Spirit Of Radio".

"Must admit I'm still pleasantly surprised by the reactions to this. More emails than I care to mention after making it available through the mailing list. It's Annie Lennox 'Little Bird' drunkenly thrown at Rush's 'Spirit Of Radio'. For some stupid reason both tracks work really well together. The version I play out starts with the Rolling Stones 'Satisfaction' then morphs into Rush halfway through." Mark Vidler, Go Home Productions, May 2004

"All Night" by Fort Minor on We Major, 2005

Includes sampling of "Tom Sawyer" throughout. Fort Minor is a solo project by Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda.

"Gone Guru", by alternative rap band Lifeseeker on Self Titled Debut Album, 2005

Includes a sample of the main guitar riff from "A Passage to Bangkok" beginning at 1:07. The song is also heard in the video game Dead Rising.

"Cali Trip" by rapper Proof on the Mayor of Detroit mixtape album, October 3, 2008.

Includes a sample of the intro of "Xanadu".