Back in 2009, TIME listed Rush as one of its top 10 Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of fame snubs. Two years later the Canadian power trio is still unloved by the Hall. One of the producers of CNBC’s Squawk Box was outraged upon hearing the news and played Rush tunes throughout the morning broadcast as the show would go to commercial breaks.
The band trails only The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Aerosmith with 24 consecutive gold or platinum albums. So what gives?
Dan Fletcher with TIME writes something about “the band’s over-fascination with synthesizers in the 1980s.” Really? What explains ABBA making it in 2010, Herb Alpert in 2006, and so on.
Maybe this has something to do with drummer Neil Peart picking up a copy of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead a couple of years prior to joining the band. “For me, it was a confirmation of all the things I’d felt as a teenager,” Peart said. “It is simply impossible to say all men are brothers or that all men are created equal – they are not. Your basic responsibility is to yourself.” The Fountainhead’s hero, architect Howard Roark, became Peart’s inspiration, “the ambitious individual who had no concept of compromise,” explains Jon Collins, in his book Chemistry.
The rock ‘n’ roll press, especially in 1970s socialist Britain, did not take kindly to Rush’s individualist, pro-capitalist message. Journalist Barry Miles was shocked by the band’s view. “They really did think that market forces would provide everything and I do remember that they had no idea about the conditions of the poor in Britain in Victorian times, or in Ireland in the 19th century when there was no state intervention -something they were advocating.”
The band didn’t back down, releasing a statement: “For us, capitalism is a way of life, it’s an economic system built on those who can do, and succeed at it.” Miles called the band ‘junior fascists’ and made references to Auschwitz, which particularly incensed Geddy Lee, whose parents had survived the death camp.