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Working Man by Rush: A Classic Rock Anthem



Working Man is a song by the Canadian rock band Rush from their self-titled debut album released in 1974. It is one of the most popular and influential songs in the band’s history and a classic anthem for hard-working people. The song features a powerful guitar riff, a catchy chorus, and a memorable solo by Alex Lifeson. The lyrics, written by bassist and vocalist Geddy Lee, reflect the frustration and dissatisfaction of a blue-collar worker who has no time for living and dreams of escaping his mundane routine.

Working Man by Rush: Background and Inspiration

The song was inspired by the band’s experience working as musicians in Toronto, where they had to balance their day jobs with their passion for music. In an interview on the Rolling Stone YouTube channel, Lee said that Working Man is his favorite song to play live. He explained that the song was “very autobiographical” and that it captured the feeling of being “stuck in a factory” and wanting to “rock out at night.” He also said that the song was influenced by the heavy metal sound of British bands like Led Zeppelin and Cream, which Rush were fans of.

The song was recorded in 1973 at Eastern Sound Studios in Toronto, with Rush producing it. The original drummer, John Rutsey, played on the song, but he left the band shortly after the album was released due to health issues related to diabetes. He was replaced by Neil Peart, who became the band’s primary lyricist and added a more complex and progressive style to their music. Rutsey had written some lyrics for the debut album but never submitted them to the band, so Lee had to improvise some new lyrics for Working Man.

Reception and Impact

The song was not a hit when it was first released in Canada, but it gained popularity in the United States thanks to Donna Halper, a disc jockey and music director at WMMS in Cleveland, Ohio. While browsing through a box of records sent by Mercury Records, Rush’s label, she discovered the song. She liked the song and decided to play it on the air without knowing anything about the band. The song proved very popular among the listeners, especially in the working-class city of Cleveland. The response resulted in a record deal for Rush in the US and a loyal fan base that supported them throughout their career.

Working Man became a staple of Rush’s live shows, and they often extended it with improvisations and solos. On their 1976 live album All the World’s a Stage, they combined it with another song from their debut album, Finding My Way, and a drum solo by Peart. The song also appeared on other live albums and videos, such as Exit…Stage Left (1981), R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour (2005), Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland (2011), and R40 Live (2015). The last one featured a medley of Working Man with What You’re Doing and a snippet of Garden Road, an early song by Rush that was never officially released.

The song has been covered by many artists, such as Danielle Armstrong for the opening credits of Transporter: The Series (2012), Caleb Johnson for American Idol (2014), and Dream Theater for A Change of Seasons (1995). The song has also been featured in various media, such as TV shows (My Name is Earl, That ’70s Show, Supernatural, American Dad!), movies (Goon), commercials (Walmart), and video games (Rock Band). The song is considered one of the greatest rock songs of all time, and it ranked #94 on Guitar World magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.

Why is Rush so famous?

Rush is famous because it is one of the most popular, innovative, and influential progressive rock bands ever. They have a loyal fan base that spans generations and continents, and they have been praised for their musicianship, complex compositions, and eclectic lyrical themes. Some of their achievements include:

  • I am selling over 42 million albums worldwide, with 14 platinum and 3 multi-platinum albums.
  • He has received seven Grammy Award nominations.
  • She is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 by Foo Fighters duo Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins, who are confessed Rush nerds.
  • They are recognized as some of the most proficient players on their respective instruments, each winning numerous awards in magazine readers’ polls.
  • It has a lasting impact on progressive rock, hard rock, heavy metal, and alternative rock genres, influencing bands such as Dream Theater, Metallica, Primus, Tool, and many more.

Rush is more than just a band; they are a cultural phenomenon that has inspired millions of fans worldwide with their music and philosophy.

Who wrote Working Man Rush?

Working Man by Rush was written by Geddy Lee, the bassist and vocalist of the band. He wrote the lyrics based on his experience working as a musician and having a day job. He also wrote the music with Alex Lifeson, the band’s guitarist.


Working Man is a song that resonates with many people who feel trapped or unfulfilled by their jobs or lives. It expresses a universal desire for freedom, creativity, and happiness. It also showcases the talent and passion of Rush, one of the most successful and influential rock bands in history. Working Man is more than just a song; it is a statement of identity and purpose for millions of fans worldwide.

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