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Summary

The definitive biography of the rock 'n' roll kings of the North

With extensive, first-hand reflections from Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart, as well as from family, friends, and fellow musicians, Anthem: Rush in the '70s is a detailed portrait of Canada's greatest rock ambassadors. The first of three volumes, Anthem puts the band's catalog, from their self-titled debut to 1978's Hemispheres (the next volume resumes with the release of Permanent Waves) into both Canadian and general pop culture context, and presents the trio of quintessentially dependable, courteous Canucks as generators of incendiary, groundbreaking rock 'n' roll. 

Fighting complacency, provoking thought, and often enraging critics, Rush has been at war with the music industry since 1974, when they were first dismissed as the Led Zeppelin of the north. Anthem, like each volume in this series, celebrates the perseverance of Geddy, Alex, and Neil: three men who maintained their values while operating from a Canadian base, throughout lean years, personal tragedies, and the band's eventual worldwide success.

©2020 Martin Popoff (P)2020 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about Anthem: Rush in the 1970s

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Profile Image for Deborah Bessette
  • Deborah Bessette
  • 30-05-20

What a Biography Should Be!

Unlike 99% of the rock biographies I have read, this one is NOT about drink, drugs and debauchery. RUSH was not a band that indulged in alcohol, hardcore drugs and scantily clad groupies; maybe a bit of marijuana and a beer. That being said, all the time wasted in other bios on the raunchy details of the parties, the girls, the overdoses, is spent on truly telling the history of the band, it's members and their albums through the 1970's.

We learn a lot about the life of the band members; from Geddy's and Alex's lifelong friendship, to the 6 years with their first drummer John, to their struggles getting into the American rock scene to their first gig in the USA. Geddy's mother shares a lot about her support of her son to her meeting Geddy's dad in the Nazi concentration camps.

There is never a slow or dull moment; you can tell Mr. Popoff spent time talking with all band members, their families, record producers, and the disc jockey in Cleveland who gave them their big break in America.

The chapters are titled by the albums produced during this time frame. It is a very refreshing change from the same old, same old biography. Like most of the bands of the late 60's, early 70's, they played the clubs, high schools and struggled for many years before making it big. The meaning behind the albums, the stage of their music genre development, and the highs and lows of these are outlined in detail, but not so much that is it boring or repetitive. Rush was always trying to fine tune their sound and produce albums with meaning.

You will not be sorry you purchased this book. The narrator has a bit of high pitched voice, but I got used to it pretty quickly; just give it a few minutes. He does read with a lot of expression and seems to be enjoying himself. He mispronounces some words, the worst being (Neil) Peart. He pronounces it more like Pier or Pear, but thankfully he calls him Neil most of the time; God Rest His Soul. I do wish there had been a tribute to Neil, but I surmise this book was written before Neil's untimely death.

I plan on listening to this again. I am a longtime RUSH fan and have read about them, watched the various shows on TV and been to several concerts, but even if you are not, you will want to take a listen to some of the albums once you are through!

Excellent, Excellent Book! ENJOY!

12 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-06-20

Must read for any Rush fan

This book had me hooked from beginning to end. All of the different viewpoints from certain times in history was very interesting. The way each album in each song was broken down was very helpful in answering all of the questions I have had over the years of being a fan.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jon Verno
  • 06-07-20

even the oldest of fans will learn something.

been a fan since the early 80s one of my top three bands and even I learn something I never knew. This is a great listen. The narrator's little goofy LOL but it's still fantastic

3 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Ariel
  • Ariel
  • 10-08-20

Do yourself a favour: get this book!

A fabulous and entertaining journey through the early years of an amazing group. Detailed and yet never bogging the reader/listener down.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Adam N
  • Adam N
  • 31-08-20

Must for a Rush Fan

Lot of repitician at times. Editing is what drops a star for me. Otherwise very entertaining for a Rush fan.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Michael S. Pack
  • 14-02-21

Strange Repetition But Good Info

First, it is a great book. The performance is very good despite leaning on an endearing, "down home" delivery at times.
The reason for the lost star is the very strange habit the author has for quoting people, then immediately have them repeat themselves. Could it be the subjects speech pattern? Sure. But not when it happens so often to so many people quoted in the book. I commend Mr. Popoff for his work, but would prefer that he present the quotes "as is" instead of adding the weird repetition.
The book is well researched and truly gives the reader a feeling of being on the journey with the band as they grow up and become RUSH. I personally can't stand music critics reviews of albums, however the book is very good at not influencing the reader/listener and presents the music in a way that inspires curiosity.
I look forward to future installments of the bands story when available.

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Profile Image for Chris Larkin
  • Chris Larkin
  • 16-12-20

Great Look at Early Rush!

An excellent book about the earliest days of Rush through the Hemispheres Era. Lots of information from Alex, Neil, and Geddy, as well as members of the road crew, producers, engineers, management, bands they toured with and other insiders. If you are a Rush fan, this is a must read! The narrator was good, but somewhat inconsistent in attempting to recreate Terry Brown's and others British accents. I'm looking forward to reading Limelight, the book that documents Rush in the 80s by the same author. No audiobook available at the time of this review.