Neil Peart's Top 10-Plus Beats

Updated: 05/29/2017

These are my favorite beats from Neil Peart's playing with Rush. Let me know what you're favorite beats are.

Click a link to hear a beat.

  1. "Tom Sawyer" (opening). The power of this muscular opening groove is infectious. This was one of the reasons I picked up the drum sticks. Of course, when I first heard this I thought Neil was playing the hi-hat with two hands instead of one.

  2. The ride cymbal bell pattern that first appeared on the songs "Hemispheres," "La Villa Strangiato," and later used on "The Spirit of Radio," "Red Barchetta," "YYZ," "Between the Wheels," "Far Cry," "The Anarchist," and many others. This is one of the most recognized Neil drum beats. He uses it in sections that need a strong, driving beat.

  3. The double-hand ride technique between hi-hat and ride cymbal bell used on "The Camera Eye," "Subdivisions," "Red Sector A," and many others. I had to slow down "Subdvisions" on vinyl to understand what Neil was doing.

  4. "Test for Echo." Until I watched Neil play this beat on the A Work in Progress instructional video, I had no idea what he was doing. This is simply one of the most wicked beats Neil has ever played, with the double-bass pounding out 16th notes along with the snare drum. Neil keeps the beat coming down on on 1-2-3 & 4 on the hi-hat, and just happens to throw in some toms and crashes for good measure.

  5. "One Little Victory." This is a simpler approach to the "Test for Echo" drum beat, with the double-bass and snare playing sixteenth notes. This time, Neil throws in some off-beat accents on the snare that seem impossible. Also, the snare accents are a nice counterpoint to the guitar riff.

  6. "Animate." The opening groove on this song feels really good, with an off-beat cymbal bell pattern. Neil used to do this beat from the ride cymbal to the Chinese cymbal (a la "Subdivisions"), and still does on occasion.

  7. "The Body Electric." Two examples from this song: The very beginning, with its mechanical, driving snare beat and near the end. The latter is one of the coolest beats I've heard Neil do.

  8. "The Enemy Within (Part I of Fear)." The beat during the first and third chorus is hypnotic.

  9. "Red Lenses." There are so many amazing beats on this song, but I'm going to pick two: The first is from each chorus. Neil uses his electronic kit to full capacity, throwing in cowbells and hi-hat sounds. The second beat is coming out of the "solo" section

  10. "Leave That Thing Alone." The first beat is the main groove that opens the song. This is a straight-ahead, R&B-type groove. The second is an African-inspired beat, spiced up with trigger sounds, that plays through the second verse.

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