Sales of Rush’s music soared by more than 2,000 percent in the aftermath of drummer Neil Peart’s death, Billboard reported, adding that mainstream chart returns were expected in the upcoming accounting period.
Peart died on Jan. 7 after a three-year cancer battle, but the news wasn’t announced until Jan. 10. Over the period Jan. 10-13, on-demand streaming of songs increased to 24.5 million, up from 2.8 million over the previous four-day period. Sales topped 19,000 compared to 1,000, with album sales increasing 1,820 percent to 6,000.
The band’s 1981 classic “Tom Sawyer” was the most-streamed song during the period, with 2.8 million listens, compared to 698,000 previously. The total surge in streaming was 776 percent. “It’s expected that Rush’s songs and albums will impact next week’s Billboard charts (dated Jan. 25), including a likely re-entry on the Billboard 200 chart from the act’s best-of collection The Spirit of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974 – 1987,” the report said.
Meanwhile, Rush songs filled 23 of the 25 top positions on the LyricFind Global chart and 18 of 25 on the LyricFind U.S. chart. Billboard said the stats are compiled from search queries on Amazon, Pandora, Deezer and other outlets offering licensed lyrics. Once again, “Tom Sawyer” was the most popular song, No. 1 in the global chart, followed by “Limelight,” “The Trees,” “The Temples of Syrinx,” “Losing It” and “The Garden,” coming in at 2-6 respectively. “Afterimage” was at No. 8 and “Closer to the Heart” No. 10; every song through to No. 25 was also by Rush.
Peart became Rush’s main lyricist when he joined the band in time for their second album in 1974. “Though [Geddy] Lee had written the lyrics on the group’s first album with [original drummer John] Rutsey, he happily ceded the role to Peart, whose songwriting focus was heavily influenced by his studies of objectivist Ayn Rand while he had lived in England,” Billboard noted. “Peart’s drumming style, both manic and intricate, would also help come to define the band’s virtuosic prog-rock sound. … Today, Peart is simply considered one of the best drummers in rock history.”