A history of realistic rock rebellion

Rush, Heidegger and the spirit of authenticity

  • Lee Barron Northumbria University
Keywords: Rush, Heidegger, Dasein, objectivism, prog


While the Canadian rock band has habitually been associated with the theme of individuality, and the literary/philosophical work of Ayn Rand, this article takes a retrospective look at the band’s 40-year recording history and argues that the issue of individuality and individual rebellion inherent within the band’s music cogently reflects Heideggerian ideas. As such, while the concept of striving to transcend the ‘mass’ is a key discourse within the music of Rush, it takes on a realistic and often short-lived form that makes sense in relation to Heidegger’s conception of the power of the social and cultural ‘They’. Consequently, in critically examining key recordings such as ‘Subdivisions’ and the conceptual albums 2112 and Clockwork Angels, the article argues that Rush stress a form of rebellion that reflects the everyday pressures imposed by social norms, and does not reflect macrosocial struggles, elements central to the work of Ayn Rand.

Author Biography

Lee Barron, Northumbria University

Lee Barron is Principal Lecturer in the School of Design at Northumbria University.


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How to Cite
Barron, L. (2019). A history of realistic rock rebellion. Popular Music History, 11(3), 210-227. https://doi.org/10.1558/pomh.35026

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