The Influence of Music and Lyrics on our Lives

Those of you who know me well know that the band Rush is and always has been my favorite band, at least since I was about 12 years old. It was then that I discovered their 7th studio album, Permanent Waves, and I was blown away. My best friend Keith Miller was also a huge fan, and it was our love for them and other bands, namely Led Zeppelin, that solidified our friendship forever. Countless hours would be spent listening to music, dissecting the songs, breaking down the lyrics, getting way too excited when a song would play on the radio, and trying to catch our favorite bands on Rockline with host Bob Coburn (I can still hear his deep voice).  


In 1980 we were fortunate enough to get tickets to see our favorite band Rush at the sold-out show at the Chicago Amphitheatre on April 4. Being so young, we had to beg and plead a parent to take us. My parents were a hard no, but thankfully Keith’s Mom stepped up and took us down to the city for that magical night. And magical it was! Partly because it was our first concert and we weren’t sure what to expect; partly because they were our favorite band and we sang along (loudly!) to every song; and partly because it was something we experienced together. Every year since on 04/04 we wish each other Happy Rush-versary as our silly way of remembering that very special night.  


Keith and I went on to see many concerts together, including seeing the band Genesis a few times and almost catching Phil Collins backstage. Something I will never forget about seeing Genesis is that there was a couple sitting next to us at one of the shows, and while we were waiting for the band to come onstage we struck up a conversation with them. They told us how they came to be Genesis fans. Genesis had released an album called “And then there were Three…” in March 1978. This couple had had 4 children. Unfortunately one of them committed suicide. They discovered later on this child’s turntable the album “And then there were Three…”  The couple wasn’t sure if this was an intentional message indicating the three children that remained, or just a coincidence, so they started listening to the album and their love for the band was born. This is just another story about how much music can and does impact our lives.


The music of Rush and the lyrics of the late great drummer/lyricist Neil Peart have carried me through both good and bad times throughout my life and I have gone onto see them numerous times (unfortunately without my side kick Keith as we live in different states now).  I’ve never related so much to a band, as they were sort of odd and quirky and a bit of an outcast band at first, and I would describe myself the same way. They beat to their own drum and that is how I have always lived my life. I am sometimes amazed when I think back and realize how long ago that night was and how fast time has gone. Their song, The Garden, was the last song on their final album and the lyrics emphasize how much we need to nurture our relationships because time is always ticking away. This is a message I carry with me every day. 


So what do you do when you love something so much? You honor it whenever you can. I was able to honor this band and their song The Garden in my first book and I will do it again when it fits. Until then I will continue to listen with awe and respect, and remember fondly that awesome night of April 4, 1980.