Relive 5 Guitar Solos From Alex Lifeson
Alex Lifeson of Rush - ISRAEL HECHEM / Youtube
Rush’s Alex Lifeson serves as a counterbalance for the mathematical precision displayed by both Geddy Lee and Neil Peart, his playing style being a subtle touch to the aggressive overtones of his bandmates’ sound. Lifeson never really cared for being flashy, with his solos often being short but explosive, serving as a tease for listeners as well. Here are some of Lifeson’s indelible contributions to Rush’s material.
“YYZ” – Moving Pictures (1981)
Considered as one of the most iconic instrumental pieces in the history of rock, “YYZ” is full of goodies from the individual members. Lifeson makes use of an alternating major chord and minor harmonic for the licks, resulting in an almost-ethnic, Middle-eastern influenced sound.
“2112 – Part 1. Overture” – 2112 (1976)
Lifeson is a beast in the 2112 suite, especially in the first section of the lengthy epic. He just blasts off with an unorthodox usage of blues licks, with an interesting phrasing pattern influenced by none other than the great Jimmy Page. Lifeson displays his immense capabilities for feel with his expressive runs and standout vibratos.
“Tom Sawyer” – Moving Pictures (1981)
Lifeson says he just winged it with the solo on “Tom Sawyer”, as he tends to lose focus if he becomes too “calculating” on his parts. It shows, though, as the unrestrained, relaxed feel of his playing totally hits the right nails on the head, the oddly-timed progression running naturally well as the solo runs through.
“The Spirit Of Radio” – Permanent Waves (1980)
When Rush wanted to go into a more commercial and marketable territory, like in “The Spirit Of Radio”, Lifeson made sure that his mark was memorable. He stuck with another short solo, this time opting for some string trickery by way of bends and whammy bar usage. The result is a highly-indulgent display of emotion in a brief flash of genius.
“Freewill” – Permanent Waves (1980)
“Freewill” even puts Alex Lifeson to his knees, as he admits it is one of the hardest solos to nail, not to mention the frenetic arrangement of the trio as they power through the track. Shreds and bends adorn the length of its solo, becoming one of his most memorable arrangements in record.