Top 10 Best Rush Songs

The Top Ten
1 2112 Overture / The Temples of Syrinx

2112 is Rush's magnum opus that epitomizes everything that makes them one of the greatest rock bands of all time. It incorporates all the elements that define their signature sound and elevates them to the highest level of musicianship, creativity, and artistic vision.

The epic 20-minute title track establishes Rush's brand of progressive rock characterized by complex time signature changes, genre-bending composition, and virtuosic performances. Geddy Lee's multi-octave vocals soar while Alex Lifeson's guitar work culminates in some of the band's greatest solos of all time. Neil Peart's intricate and technically demanding drum parts push the limits of what is humanly possible. Together, they create a sprawling musical journey like no other Rush song.

The science fiction narrative about an artist rebelling against oppressive control of creative expression perfectly captures Rush's philosophy of championing individualism, liberty, and imagination. The lyrics tackle profoundly human questions about spirituality, freedom, and the redemptive power of art, themes that continue to resonate today.

Within Rush's expansive discography, no other song exhibits all the elements that make them great to such an extreme degree. Everything that defines them - the complex rhythms, sweeping soundscape, dazzling instrumentals, epic storytelling, and profound philosophical depth - is concentrated into 20 minutes of sonic brilliance. For these reasons, 2112 stands above all other Rush songs as a true representation of their artistic genius and highest achievement, cementing its place as the definitive Rush song and one of the greatest rock compositions of all time.

2 Tom Sawyer

Not my choice for best - by a long way, actually. For me, it's La Villa Strangiato leading the pack. Leading like another legend from the 70s... Secretariat at the Belmont, 31+ lengths in front.

That said, the song really has all the things that make Rush the unique treasure they are: thoughtful lyrics, unusual time signatures, Alex's wailing guitar work, Geddy's weird keyboard sound and signature bass driving things, and the Professor's brilliant drum work framing everything. I know everyone considers this their mainstream commercial success, but really, how many bands could create such an unusual (perhaps bizarre is an even better word) tune and find its way onto classic rock radio? Just another reason to celebrate the genius of this band.

3 The Spirit of Radio

This song is my all-time favorite Rush song because it always puts me in a good mood, and I have to put it on in the morning because the "magic music makes my morning mood." I just love this song. Period.

Whenever I introduce someone to the beauty that is Rush, I play them The Spirit of Radio first. It's Rush in their prime, and I guarantee that even kids of this generation would jam along. It's one of my favorites of all time.

The first song I heard from Rush, The Spirit of Radio, is still my favorite song after all this time. I just love everything about it - the instruments, the lyrics. Every time I hear the song, I have to sing along!

4 Limelight

The best non-super-prog-rock song by Rush. Its guitar and bass both intertwine really well. And what can be said about Neil Peart that hasn't been said before? The lyrics are also very prominent in this song, being some of Peart's best, talking about how he is shy and doesn't like to meet fans and be in the spotlight, or, should I say, limelight, because of it.

I can't say I've heard that much Rush, but I really love this one. The lyrics are great, the riff is one of their best. It's an excellent representation of Rush at their best.

5 La Villa Strangiato

La Villa Strangiato is an epic 10-minute instrumental track from Rush's 1981 album Moving Pictures. It showcases the band's remarkable musical chops, technical proficiency, and knack for catchy, genre-bending composition.

The song begins with Alex Lifeson's jazzy, arpeggiated guitar over a simple drum beat from Neil Peart. It then transitions into a funky mid-section driven by Geddy Lee's thunderous bass line and Peart's crisp drumming. The segments flow seamlessly together into a cohesive whole, despite the contrasts in style and tempo.

After the funk breakdown, Lifeson takes the first of his two stunning guitar solos in the song, marrying elements of jazz, classical, and hard rock into a definitive Rush sound. The solos highlight Lifeson's tasteful phrasing, melodic invention, and versatility across a range of guitar techniques.

Peart's drumming throughout is beyond remarkable, switching effortlessly between complex polyrhythms, syncopated grooves, and dazzling fills. Lee's bass provides the harmonic and melodic foundation, with nimble virtuosity to match his bandmates.

While 2112 may be considered Rush's greatest achievement for its thematic scope and artistic ambition, La Villa Strangiato rivals it as a display of the band members' unmatched talents on their individual instruments. The jaw-dropping musicianship, genre-bending composition, and melodic invention within a cohesive 10-minute piece elevate La Villa Strangiato as a strong contender for Rush's second-best song.

6 Xanadu

Xanadu takes me back to 1978 when I discovered my favorite ever band, so I may be biased, but no other song, even from Rush, has had the same impact. It's the first song I ever heard in 7/8 time, and I just love that time signature.

The structure of the song, the words (thank you, Coleridge), the suspense, the dynamics are all just a masterpiece. It's one of those songs like Stairway to Heaven that you can only listen to once or twice a year.

Thank you, Neil, Alex, and Geddy, for all your music.

This song takes me on a journey every time I hear it. Just when you think you've reached the end of the trip at the bottom of the valley, you climb to a new peak. Rush were my musical guides in finding Xanadu! The sweet milk of paradise never tasted so good!

7 Subdivisions

All the best that Rush has to offer is in this song. Time signatures, key changes, and incredible playing are the hallmarks of Rush, and in this song, they demonstrate the pinnacle of each.

A combination of different styles is in all the songs on the "Signals" album, but this is simply the best. Rush is the most talented rock band of all time, bar none, and this song shows it.

Talk about knowing your audience! Like someone else said, almost anyone can relate to this song in some way. This song so eerily hits someone to their core, and you realize how powerful music can be when it's true and done right!


This song is a great instrumental. Who knew the Morse code for the Toronto Airport of all places would be this great?! It is incredibly difficult on all parts, but also very catchy and pleasing to the ear.

The bass riffs are great, the guitar solo is twisting and melodic, and the drum part, as always, is mind-blowing! Signed: lavillaof2112

I'm very surprised this is at #6. The bass by Geddy Lee is fantastic and is easily Rush's best instrumental. As always, Peart's drumming is sick awesome, which he doesn't have to try hard to make that statement true.

9 Freewill

Alex's best, most skillfully displayed solo ever. Some of Neil's most thought-provoking writing ever. And you've got to love Geddy's shredding just before the guitar solo.

This song really highlights the entire band's talent. It is my favorite song on Rush's "Permanent Waves" album, and to be honest, it should be between Tom Sawyer and The Spirit of Radio, which by the way, are two awesome songs as well.

This song definitely pushes the limits on Geddy's vocal range during the bridge. It sounded like he was going to hurt himself! I love this song.

10 Closer to the Heart

Although Tom Sawyer is definitely my favorite, I've got to give this a vote. The guitar work by Lifeson is so underrated. That guitar piece in the beginning is so great, and then when the song kicks in, it's a headbanger. Just because it's one of the more radio-friendly short ones doesn't mean it's not a great song.

This is not my favorite Rush song, but since my favorite Rush song is already decently high in this top 10, I am voting for "Closer to the Heart" because it deserves to be higher. This band was always able to give the public what they wanted and never steered away from what they loved.

The Contenders
11 Working Man

Their first true masterpiece, at the beginning of their recording career. Amazing guitars, drums, and some of Geddy's most incredible vocal work. It's not his most impressive bass work, but the rest of the instrumentation is as good here as it would ever be.

I don't know any other hard rock song that comes close to Working Man, except 2112. Working Man's blistering guitar solos and catchy riff elevate it above any other Rush epic in my humble opinion.

The Robert Plant-style lyrics with Mitch Mitchell-style drumming and a Tony Iommi-style guitar riff make an amazing combination. Even though Neil Peart is not on here, the drummer on this is AMAZING.

12 Fly by Night

Fly By Night is a classic Rush song. This song and its parent album signify Neil Peart's addition to the band. The lyrics are beautiful, and Alex's guitar playing is tight. Without this song, Rush would never have become the great band they officially became.

Would be in my top 5. It's really an awesome one. I wonder why it's so low, maybe because it's not so, you know, "progressive," but I love the times when Rush was rock'n'rolling. It's also the debut of Neil Peart, who is the best drummer in the world.

I can't believe it's not higher. It's probably not their most famous song, but it has everything Rush stood for in the early days. Love the main riff. Overall, an awesome song!

13 Cygnus X-1 Book II - Hemispheres

This was not an easy decision. If any other band had written Hemispheres, it would have been a shutout decision - but Rush has many possible candidates. My decision was based on the following observations: Hemispheres not only tells an inspired, wonderful, intellectually stimulating story in prose - the lyrical genius is matched by the intricate composition, which tells a grand story in its own right.

Unlike 2112 (also a brilliant song), which exits as it reaches the height of crescendo (coinciding with the despair and demise of the rational voice), Hemispheres crescendos into an electrically charged Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy but concludes in a harmonious and victorious meditation, leaving the listener both fulfilled and relaxed. This structure is similar to The Necromancer (another fantastic song), but for that pairing, Hemispheres readily comes out on top due to superior imagery, relevance, and musical variety/ingenuity. My vote goes to Hemispheres for #1, 2112 for #2, and Xanadu, Subdivisions, The Pass, and Middletown Dreams all in competition for the #3 spot.

14 Red Barchetta

This is definitely the best Rush song! The guitar work is great, the bass lines are the best, there are multiple tempos, and a great solo in 7/4. And the drums... well, it's Neil Peart.

For sure, the most underrated Rush song, and easily their best. Not just for the complex structure of the song but for the incredible fit of all the instruments.

It's really genius and also sweet and hard at the same time, just to make you rock. And don't forget about the lyrics - very beautiful, tricky, and funny at the same time! It is also a pleasure to play on guitar.

15 The Trees

These lyrics are not weird. If you listen - no, I really mean LISTEN - it's about the Canadian separatist movement in Quebec. The general consensus is that Canada has become too British, and the French separatists (represented by the Maples, i.e., Toronto Maple Leafs) want their independence.

The lyric "so the Maples formed a union, and demanded equal rights. They say the Oaks are just too lofty, and they grab up all the light" implies that the French Canadian minority wishes to secede, but they can't because the majority won't allow it. The song continues to state that the "oaks just shake their heads," implying that the majority cannot understand the separatists' choices. The lyric about keeping them equal by "hatchet, axe, and saw" implies that despite their differences, they are all susceptible to death. The song actually created quite a stir in Canada during the '70s when it was released, and many radio stations actually refused to play it out of fear of rousing separatist feelings.

16 The Garden

Just an amazing modern arrangement of Rush's skills, made all the more significant by the fact that it was a favorite of a young person close to the band who recently passed away.

I flew from Australia to see The Garden played live at Dallas and Houston, and it was worth every minute of the 25-hour trip there and the 34-hour trip back home again. This song stands out in my mind from those performances.

This song is pumping music for sure, just intense hard rock. Geddy really has some vocal talent. His style really suits hard rock. Even though this piece is from 1974, Alex's guitar solo is one of his best.

This song was also fairly common among hardcore fans. Go Rush! Such a skillful masterpiece. Nicer with Neil Peart as a drummer, though. I do not care for John Rutsey. So yeah, go Rush!

17 A Passage to Bangkok

Just amazing, you know these guys just rock it here. It's in my top 20 Rush songs. Neil Peart is epic, just epic. Alex has a guitar solo that every time I hear it, I find myself playing air guitar. I love Geddy's Rickenbacker here. It's great.

Great riff and another typically great performance by all players. I have always found lyrics that use innuendo rather than simply putting it right out there to be the most interesting, and this one has it in spades!

A Passage to Bangkok is a rocking masterpiece of sweet riffs, Neil's pro drumming, and you've got to love Alex's solo. It is fantastic! Please vote for this, or if you doubt my comment, buy it on iTunes and see for yourself!

18 Natural Science

Of their more progressive pieces, this is definitely the most technically proficient. They abandoned the sixties jam band feel for a much more modern format that was way ahead of its time.

For me, the pinnacle of Rush. Moving Pictures is awesome, but this is where it's at. I really think this is progressive rock at its finest.

Real Rush, not cotton candy Rush.

Tom Sawyer at number one also makes me want to puke.

19 Far Cry

This song is melodic, chaotic, psychotic, etc. The heavy metal riff throughout the song knocks me dead every time I hear it. Whoever put Tom Sawyer in the top three and not this was obviously not a true Rush fan and had not ever listened to this masterpiece.

My top 5 Rush songs go as follows:
#5: Red Barchetta (tells an interesting story)
#4: Prime Mover (another unheard-of masterpiece someone obviously never listened to)
#3: Spirit of Radio (just like this list)
#2: 2112 (tells of a post-apocalyptic satanist Communist future where music has been banned. A guy finds a guitar, becomes a musician, and is rejected by the tyrannical dictatorship governing the dysfunctional planet. The guy retreats, goes into depression, and commits suicide. Pretty moving stuff. What could possibly top this masterpiece?)
#1: THIS. This song is melodic, chaotic, psychotic, etc. The heavy metal riff throughout the song knocks me dead every time I hear it. Whoever put Tom Sawyer in the top three and not this was obviously not a true Rush fan and had not ever listened to this masterpiece.

20 A Farewell to Kings

Why talk about the music, since they're great? It is early Rush. It's the lyrics that do it. Most complete song I think they've done.

A Farewell to Kings should be respected. Many people love this song. I mean, great, amazing acoustic intro. It's got to be respected, great guitar, bass. It's wonderful.

I have no idea why this isn't known as one of their greatest songs.

21 Anthem

30th? Is this a joke? This song is awesome. It's heavy and progressive. The guitar solo is pure beauty. It changes from sketchy shredding to a beautifully epic passage. The song by itself is wonderful.

Definitely in my personal top 10. I see many other songs here between 30-40 that should be at least within the top 20, such as The Necromancer. Why not cut some slack and rate songs like this one (Anthem) up?

I cannot believe Anthem isn't on the list! It's easily one of my top 10 favorite Rush songs. If you haven't heard this song, you're not a true Rush fan!

22 Distant Early Warning

I was shocked to see this was #50. It's the first Rush song I heard, and I knew this band was awesome when I heard this song. This deserves a place much higher than 50. It's the reason why I like Rush.

23 The Analog Kid

My favorite song by Rush. I've heard every piece of music ever recorded by them. I have so many favorites.

Being a drummer, it's hard to choose, but this song moves me like no other. It's quick, catchy, and incredibly difficult to play, at least for me. And I can play quite a bit of Rush.

All the songs listed are my favorites. Let's get real, their worst is better than most bands' best.

A very energizing song with its fast tempo, boisterousness, and poetically thought-out lyrics. Definitely one of Rush's underrated gems, such a shame to see it so low.

24 Bastille Day

It's amazing how a band like Rush can write pseudo-metal songs throughout the seventies (Bastille Day, 2112, Working Man), write synthesizer-heavy songs during the eighties, and alt. rock songs in the nineties. Few bands have been as consistent as Rush, while also changing their style so many times.

This song is by far my favorite. The guitar work, the drum runs, the unique chord progressions, and the power of the music are outstanding. There are better radio songs, I'm sure, but this song is Rush to me.

Let 'em eat cake... Brilliant lyrics, brilliant licks, genius drumming. The last seconds of this song are incredible. Short, sweet, and incredible.

25 Jacob's Ladder

Deserves to be higher, a real masterpiece. It reminds me of earlier Rush songs.

It was a toss-up between this, Xanadu, and Working Man. Actually, so many are close.

How is this song so far down? People need to listen to this from Exit Stage Left.

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