Peart's entrance into the band signaled that Rush would focus on more challenging material, while the drummer also took over the reigns as the group's lyricist. While it would take a few releases for Rush's new musical direction to gel (1974's Fly by Night and 1975's Caress of Steel), the band hit pay dirt with the 1976 concept album 2112. The album told the story of a young man's fight against a future world where rock music is outlawed, with Peart applying Ayn Rand's writing style and philosophies to the plot's story line. Rush's commercial success continued, as the band scored up more heavy metal-tinged prog rock classics: 1977's A Farewell to Kings, 1978's Hemispheres, 1980's Permanent Waves, and Rush's finest hour, 1981's Moving Pictures. The group continued to rack up hit albums and sold-out arena tours (with all three members consistently winning magazine polls for being the best at their respective instrument), as Peart's influence on rock drummers had become immense, as evidenced in the styles of Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy, King's X's Jerry Gaskill, and Primus' Tim "Herb" Alexander.
In addition to his Rush duties, Peart has also found the time to become a writer himself, penning the books Radiance Over the Rockies and The Masked Rider, travel the world/sight-see between tours (Peart is an avid bicyclist), as well as organizing a Buddy Rich tribute concert in the early '90s. The future of Rush was thrust into doubt by the late '90s, however, when Peart was dealt two devastating blows in his personal life -- the tragic deaths of both his teenaged daughter and wife a year apart from each other. But by the dawn of the 21st century, it appeared as Peart was back on his feet -- he remarried and rejoined his longtime Rush mates in preparing their first new studio recording since 1996's Test for Echo. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi