Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Birthday to Geddy Lee of Rush

Gary Lee Weinrib, OC, better known as Geddy Lee (58) (born July 29, 1953), is a Canadian musician, best known as the lead vocalist, bassist, and keyboardist for the Canadian rock group Rush. Lee joined what would become Rush in September 1968, at the request of his childhood friend Alex Lifeson, replacing original bassist and frontman Jeff Jones.

An award-winning musician, Lee's style, technique, and skill on the bass guitar have inspired many rock and heavy metal musicians, such as Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, John Myung of Dream Theater, Les Claypool of Primus, Juan Alderete of The Mars Volta, and Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine.

In addition to his composing, arranging, and performing duties for Rush, Lee has produced for various other bands, including Rocket Science. Lee's first solo effort, My Favorite Headache, was released in 2000.

Along with his Rush bandmates – guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart – Lee was made an Officer of the Order of Canada on May 9, 1996. The trio was the first rock band to be so honoured, as a group. Lee is ranked 13th by Hit Parader on their list of the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal vocalists of all time.

Lee's stage name, Geddy, was inspired by his mother's heavily-accented pronunciation of his given first name, Gary, and it later became his high school nickname before he adopted it as his stage name. In an interview written in Bass Frontiers Magazine, Geddy Lee explains; "My born name is Gary. My real name, now, is Geddy. Okay, it's like the same story of Leave it to Beaver. (laughs). The story goes: my mother is Polish and she has a very thick accent. When I was about twelve years old, I had a friend who, whenever he heard my mother pronounce my name, he thought she was calling me, 'Geddy'. He started calling me 'Geddy', and eventually, all of my friends started calling me 'Geddy', and eventually my mother started to call me 'Geddy', for real. And eventually, I changed my name legally to 'Geddy', so that's the story and that's my name, Geddy."

The bulk of Lee's work in music has been with Rush. However, Lee has also contributed to a body of work outside of his involvement with the band through guest appearances and album production. In 1981, Lee was the featured guest for the hit song "Take Off" and its included comedic commentary with Bob and Doug McKenzie (played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, respectively) for the McKenzie Brothers' comedy album Great White North. The following year, Lee produced the debut (and only) album from Toronto new wave band Boys Brigade. On the 1985 album We Are the World, by humanitarian consortium USA for Africa, Lee recorded guest vocals for the song "Tears Are Not Enough". Apart from band contributions, Lee sang the Canadian National Anthem in front of a full crowd at Camden Yards for the 1993 All-Star Game.

Another version of "O Canada" in rock format was recorded by Lee and Lifeson on the accompanying soundtrack CD for the Trey Parker and Matt Stone film South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut released in 1999.

My Favorite Headache, Lee's first solo album, was released in November 2000 while Rush was on a hiatus due to tragedies in drummer Neil Peart's life. Lee appeared in Broken Social Scene's music video for their 2006 single "Fire Eye'd Boy", judging the band while they perform various musical tasks, and in 2006, Lee joined Lifeson's supergroup the Big Dirty Band, to provide songs accompanying Trailer Park Boys: The Movie.

Lee also plays bass on Canadian rock band I Mother Earth's track "Good For Sule", which is featured on the groups album "Blue Green Orange", released in 1999.

Lee's voice has been referred to as an "astoundingly high" tenor. During Rush's early period, Lee's voice was described as a "Robert Plant-esque wail." Beginning with the Permanent Waves album in 1980, Lee gradually changed his vocal style to a more restrained sound. Source: Wikipedia


The video below is the title track from the fifth studio album by Rush, A Farewell To Kings, released in 1977:




Geddy Lee - A Bit Of Groovy!


For all things Rush:
http://www.rush.com/

1 comment:

Steven Aldersley said...

I can't hear the name Geddy Lee without thinking of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnrM4UjaQmY

He's mentioned 1:38 into the song.