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Neil Peart is a Canadian musician, songwriter and author. This biography profiles his childhood, life, music career, achievements, timeline and trivia.

Quick Facts

Also Listed In

Also Known As
Neil Elwood Peart
Famous as
Musician, Songwriter
Nationality
Born on
12 September 1952 AD
Birthday
Age
64 Years
Sun Sign
Virgo    Virgo Men
Born in
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
father
Glen
mother
Betty Peart
siblings
Danny, Judy, Nancy
Spouse/Partner
Carrie Nuttall
children
Olivia Louise
education
Berklee College of Music
awards
1980 - Best Rock Drummer
1981 - Best Rock Drummer
1982 - Best Rock Drummer
More Awards
1983 - Best Rock Drummer
1984 - Best Rock Drummer
1985 - Best Rock Drummer
1986 - Best Rock Drummer
2006 - Best Rock Drummer
2008 - Best Rock Drummer
1983 - Best Multi-Percussionist
1984 - Best Multi-Percussionist
1985 - Best Multi-Percussionist
1986 - Best Multi-Percussionist
1982 - Best Percussion Instrumentalist
1980 - Most Promising New Drummer
1986 - Best All Around
1986 - Honor Roll: Rock Drummer
Multi-Percussion
2006 - Best Instructional Video
1980 - Best Drum Recording
2007 - Best Drum Recording
1980 - Best Recorded Performance
1981 - Best Recorded Performance
1982 - Best Recorded Performance
1983 - Best Recorded Performance
1985 - Best Recorded Performance
1986 - Best Recorded Performance
1988 - Best Recorded Performance
1989 - Best Recorded Performance
1990 - Best Recorded Performance
1992 - Best Recorded Performance
1993 - Best Recorded Performance
1997 - Best Recorded Performance
1999 - Best Recorded Performance
2002 - Best Recorded Performance
2004 - Best Recorded Performance
2007 - Best Recorded Performance
2012 - Best Recorded Performance
2007 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Drummer of the Year
2007 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Best Progressive Rock Drummer
2007 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Best Live Performer
2007 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Best DVD (Anatomy Of A Drum Solo)
2007 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Best Drumming Album (Snakes & Arrows)
2008 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Drummer of the Year
2008 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Best Progressive Rock Drummer (Runner-Up)
2008 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Best Mainstream Pop Drummer (Runner-Up)
2008 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Best Live Drumming Performer
2009 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Drummer Of The Year
2009 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Best Progressive Rock Drummer
2010 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Drummer of the Year
2010 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Best Live Performer (Runner-Up)
2010 - Awards from DRUM magazine for Best Progressive Rock Drummer (Runner-Up)
2013 - Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
Neil Peart
Credit "Neil Peart performing at the Air Canada Centre on October 16, 2012" by Clalansingh - Photograph taken at Rush concert. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia

Neil Peart was born Cornelius Ellwood Peart to Glen and Betty Peart. As a child he would listen to pop music on his transistor radio. His parents bought him a drum kit for his 14th birthday. At eighteen, Peart travelled to London, England, but returned disheartened. He joined the band Hush to play drums. He then auditioned for the Toronto-based band Rush, and they accepted Peart’s style of drumming. He also was the band’s main lyricist. They toured extensively. He was influenced by the writings of objectivist Ayn Rand as can be seen in the songs “Fly by Night” and “2112” that he penned. Their “Fly by Night” won the Juno Award for most promising new act. Other successful albums include “Permanent Waves” and “Moving Pictures”. With the death of his daughter and his wife, he took a hiatus from music. On his return, he rejoined Rush to bring out the album “Vapor Trails”. Peart’s latest album with Rush is “Clockwork Angels”. He has authored books written during his travelling days. Peart and his band mates were made Officer of the Order of Canada. He was inducted into the Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame along with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. Rush was also inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Childhood & Early Life
  • Neil Peart was born Cornelius Ellwood Peart on September 12, 1952 to Glen and Betty Peart, and lived in the family’s farm in Hagersville near Hamilton. The first of four children, His siblings were Danny, Judy and Nancy.
  • The family moved to St. Catharines when Peart was two, and then to the Port Dalhousie area of the town in 1956. He attended Gracefield School, and later Lakeport Secondary School.
  • He listened to pop music on his transistor radio. He took piano lessons, but seeing his penchant for drumming on various objects, his parents bought him a drum kit for his 14th birthday.
  • He took lessons from Don George at the Peninsula Conservatory of Music. He debuted at the school’s Christmas pageant in St. Johns Anglican Church Hall in Port Dalhousie.
  • He appeared with his first group, The Eternal Triangle, at Lakeport High School. The performance contained an original number titled “LSD Forever”. He performed his first solo at the show.
  • Peart got a job in Port Dalhousie, and worked on the Bubble Game and Ball Toss, but was terminated. He played in local bands such as Mumblin’ Sumpthin’, the Majority, and JR Flood.
Career & Later Life
  • At eighteen, Peart travelled to London, England. He played in several bands, and occasionally received session work. He sold trinkets to tourists at The Great Frog on Carnaby Street to support himself.
  • During his stay in London he read novels of objectivist Ayn Rand, whose writings had a significant philosophical influence on him. Her novel “Anthem” influenced his “Fly by Night” and “2112”.
  • He returned to Canada disillusioned by his lack of progress in the music business. He worked for his father at Dalziel Equipment in St. Catharines. Thereafter, he joined the band ‘Hush’ to play drums.
  • He auditioned for the Toronto-based band Rush. Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson who oversaw the audition accepted Peart’s style of drumming. He officially joined the band on July 29, 1974.
  • On his first outing with the band, he opened for Uriah Heep and Manfred Mann in front of over 11,000 people at the Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 14, 1974.
  • He became the band’s main lyricist. They began to tour extensively. Their first recording in 1975, “Fly by Night”, was fairly successful, and won the Juno Award for most promising new act.
  • Their “Caress of Steel” was a failure with much negative reception aimed at “The Fountain of Lamneth”. Peart then wrote “2112” on their breakthrough album of the same name in 1976.
  • When touring Northern Europe, Rush recorded the 1977 album, “A Farewell to Kings” in Rockfield Studios in Wales. The next year their follow-up album “Hemispheres” was also recorded there.
  • In the albums “Hold Your Fire”, “Presto”, “Roll the Bones”, and “Counterparts” from 1987 to 1993, Peart explored diverse lyrical motifs, and also addressed the topic of love and relationships.
  • In 1992, Peart accepted an invitation to play at the Buddy Rich Memorial Scholarship Concert in New York City. He performed with the Buddy Rich Big Band.
  • He decided to produce and play on two Buddy Rich tribute albums titled “Burning for Buddy: A Tribute to the Music of Buddy Rich” in 1994, and again three years later.
  • By 2005, he had written 3 books namely “The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa”, “Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road”, and “Traveling Music: Playing Back the Soundtrack to My Life and Times”.
  • Peart toured the Americas and Europe on the Time Machine Tour with Rush. Following the tour, the band released their studio album, “Clockwork Angels” on June 12, 2012.
Major Works
  • In the 1980 album, “Permanent Waves”, Peart stopped using fantasy literature or ancient mythology in his writing. His lyrics began to revolve around social, emotional and humanitarian issues, using metaphors and symbolic representation.
  • 1981’s “Moving Pictures” portrayed his interest in mythological figures, which he placed in a modern reality-based context. The alum contained their most popular song “Tom Sawyer”, and “Limelight” about popularity, and its pressures.
  • He returned from his self-imposed sabbatical, and Rush recorded the 2002 album “Vapor Trails” wherein Peart spoke about his personal issues, and humanitarian topics such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks as in “Peaceable Kingdom”.
Awards & Achievements
  • Peart and his band mates were made Officer of the Order of Canada in 1996. The trio were the first rock musicians to be bestowed the highest civilian honor by the Canadian government.
  • He was inducted into the Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame along with bandmates Lifeson and Lee. On April 18, 2013, Rush was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Peart’s daughter, 19-year-old Selena Taylor, was killed in a single-car accident on August 10, 1997. His common-law wife of 22 years, Jacqueline Taylor, succumbed to cancer 10 months later.
  • He met photographer Carrie Nuttall in Los Angeles. They married on September 9, 2000. Their daughter Olivia Louise Peart was born nine years later. They live in Santa Monica, California.
Trivia
  • After the death of his first daughter, this musician took a long sabbatical to mourn and reflect, and travelled extensively throughout North and Central America on his motorcycle, covering 88,000 km.

See the events in life of Neil Peart in Chronological Order

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Pictures of Neil Peart

Quotes By Neil Peart

Books by Neil Peart

    Roadshow: Landscape with Drums: A Concert Tour by Motorcycle

    by Neil Peart

    Far and Away: A Prize Every Time

    by Neil Peart

    More Drum Techniques of Rush: Drum Transcriptions (More Drum Superstar Series)

    by Neil Peart

Books About Neil Peart

    Neil Peart: Taking Center Stage - A Lifetime of Live Performance Book

    by Joe Bergamini

    Modern Drummer Magazine. May 1987. Volume 11 Number 4 Issue 90. (VINNIE COLAIUTA; STAN LEVERY; NEIL PEART SOUND SUPPLEMENT; MUSIC MEDICINE TOURUING EUROPE W/SANDY GENNARO; BUDDY RICH'S CHANNEL ONE SUITE SOLO., 11)

    by MODERN DRUMMER

    Neil Peart Taking Center Stage

    by Joe Bergamini

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