Congratulations to Geddy Lee, known as the singer, bassist, and keyboardist of the Canadian power trio "Rush", who is celebrating his birthday today !!!
(Photo: Kevin Winter)
Here are 50 interesting facts about the man and the legend:
1. He was born on July 29, 1953, in the Willowdale neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario Canada as Gary Lee Weinrib.
2. His parents were Holocaust survivors from Poland, who during World War II stayed in the Auschwitz concentration camps and later in Dachau and Bergen-Belsen.
3. The name Geddy is derived from his mother - Mary Weinrib, who had a heavy Polish accent. She did not know how to pronounce the letter R and in her accent, it sounded like D (Geddy instead of Gary) so the friends started calling him Geddy.
4. Geddy received an Orthodox Jewish education until the age of Bar Mitzvah.
5. When he was 12 years old his father Morris who was a musician died, and Geddy recited Kaddish on him for a whole year, including all the mourning Jewish customs. He said he had not heard music for a whole year and it was one of the hardest things for him during the year of mourning.
6 He began studying music at school at the age of 10. The first instrument he learned to play was drums and later a trumpet and clarinet.
7. The lessons at school were not enough for him and he also took piano lessons privately.
8. At age 14 he got his first acoustic guitar.
9. The transition to the bass guitar came in the wake of Jack Bruce and John Entwistle, who played in two bands that Geddy admired - "Cream" and "The Who".
10. The love for Jack Bruce and the band "Cream" will lead him later to the power trio model of "Rush", while playing bass and singing similar to Jack Bruce.
11. Lee was also very influenced by English progressive rock and especially bands like "Yes" and "Genesis". One of the most influential bassists on Geddy from this genre was Chris Squire.
12. He was not the first singer and bassist of the band "Rush". He replaced Jeff Jones, a month after the band was formed in 1968 and two weeks before its second live show.
13. The first single the band ever released was "You Can't Fight It" and it was written by Geddy and drummer John Rutsey.
14. Lee has a wide three-octave vocal range, from baritone, through tenor, alto to mezzo-soprano.
15. Geddy's bass playing is very accentuated and includes powerful percussion on the strings. He has made the bass guitar a leading instrument that is sometimes even more dominant than Alex Lifeson's guitar.
16. Geddy's unique playing style has influenced great and good bass players, including Cliff Burton from Metallica, Steve Harris from Iron Maiden", John Myung from Dream Theater, Les Claypool from Primus, and Tim Commerford from "Rage" and "Audioslave".
17. In "Rush" he generally writes the music along with Alex Lifeson, while Neil Peart is writing the lyrics. Despite this, there are several exceptions in which Lee also wrote the lyrics. Examples: "Best I Can", "Tears", "Cinderella Man" and more.
18. In addition to singing and playing bass, Geddy Lee also plays keyboards, guitars, and pedals in the band, which allows him to produce the bass and keyboards sound simultaneously, during the band's live performances.
19. Geddy is quite responsible for the changes in the musical styles of "Rush" during their career. He constantly strived to learn and experiment and challenged himself by learning and introducing new musical instruments and equipment, which attracted the band to change its style.
20. The band insisted on playing all the roles of the musical instrument themselves during their performances. For this purpose, Geddy was also equipped with pedals that allowed him to control the keyboards while playing the bass.
21. Due in part to this virtuoso ability, he was awarded the Keyboard Magazine "Best New Talent" title in 1981.
22. Geddy is a vintage guitar collector and also a collector of baseball memorabilia. In addition, he has a collection of over 5,000 expensive wines at home.
23. Geddy came in first place on the "Music Radar" list for the best bass players of all time, and in fourth place on the same list of "Rolling Stone" magazine.
24. He is ranked 13th in the list of the 100 greatest singers of heavy metal in "Hit Parader" magazine.
25. Geddy was invited to produce Metallica's "Master Of Puppets" album. Anyone who looks at Metallica's thank you list in the album booklet will find "Special thanks to Geddy, Alex, and Neil of RUSH".
26. He has been voted the best bass player on the "Guitar Player" magazine list, six times.
27. In 1993 he was voted Best Rock Player by readers of "Bass Player" magazine.
(Photo: Timothy J / Flickr)
28. In 1996 he received the honorary title of Officer of the Order of Canada.
29. In 2004 it was elected by the citizens of Canada in the 96th place on the list of the largest Canadians who ever lived.
30. In 2010 he was awarded the title of "Living Legend" by "Classic Rock" magazine.
31. In 2012 he received a Medal of Honor from Queen Elizabeth II.
32. In 2013 he entered with "Rush" into the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame".
33. The band members call him Dirk.
34. Together with "Rush" he released 19 studio albums, 2 EPs, and 11 live albums.
35. Together with Rush he managed to put three albums on the list of the 50 greatest albums of all time of progressive rock by the "Rolling Stones" magazine. To understand the magnitude of the achievement only 3 bands, "Genesis", "Pink Floyd", and "King Crimson", got to put 3 records on the list. The album "Moving Pictures" reached number three on this acclaimed list after Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side Of The Moon" and King Crimson's debut album - "In The Court Of The Crimson King".
36. He co-sold with "Rush" over 40 million albums during his career.
37. Together with "Rush" he holds the third and most honorable place (after "the Beatles" and "the Stones") as a band with the most consecutive records that have won gold and platinum status.
39. He's a good friend of Dave Grohl, you probably know that, but did you know that Geddy's mother - Mary Weinrib, and Dave's mother were also good friends?
40. In 1980 he was hosted, along with Alex and Neil, in the song "Battle Scar" by Max Webster. This recording will be the trigger for writing the song "Tom Sawyer", one of Rush's great songs.
41. In 1981 he contributed his voice to Bob and Doug McKenzie's song "Take Off" from their album "Great White North".
42. In 1982 he produced the album of the Canadian New Wave band "Boys Brigade".
43. In 1985 he contributed his voice to the song "Tears Are Not Enough" which was included on the album "We Are the World" that was released as part of the charity project "USA for Africa" (2:14 min).
44. In 1999 he co-recorded with Lifeson the national Canadian anthem - "O Canada" for the film "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut". Geddy also got to sing the anthem at the opening of the All-Star Game of the Baseball League in 1993.
45. That same year he played bass on the song "Good for Sule" by the band "I Mother Earth".
46. In 2006 he joined the one-time supergroup "Big Dirty" with Lifeson to perform the song "I Fought the Law" which was included in the soundtrack of the movie "Trailer Park Boys: The Movie".
47. In 2010 he participated in bass playing and singing on the album of the band "The Black Sea Station".
48. In 2017 he joined members of the band "Yes" as a replacement for bassist Chris Squire, performing the song “Roundabout”, during their performance at the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame".
49. In 2018 he released his book “Big Beautiful Book of Bass” which explores in depth the marvelous guitar, in which he interviews the best bass players of all time.
50. In 2020 he paid tribute to musician Bill Withers in the performance of the song "Lean on Me" with the All-Star team of Canadian musicians.
1. For his 21st birthday, he received Neil Peart as a gift. Yes, yes, Geddy Lee's birthday is also the official day Neil Peart joined "Rush".
2. Inspired by the story of the concentration camps where Geddy Lee's parents were staying, Neil Peart wrote the song "Red Sector A".
So let's pay homage to the man who has already been crowned a "living legend" by Classic Rock Magazine - Geddy Lee.
In honor of the special occasion, here is a link to his excellent solo album: Here.