I PAY tribute to Neil Peart, drummer of the Canadian rock band Rush who has just passed away aged 67.

Live albums of Rush, of which there have been several, feature drum solos by Neil Peart which are unique in rock music.

When I was in the school sixth form, my favourite bands were punk bands such as Cockney Rejects, UK Subs, Theatre of Hate, and Discharge.

Other sixth formers frowned upon my musical tastes.

I nipped out to the record shop between lessons at school to buy the Dead Cities single by The Exploited and on my return, one girl asked me “can I break that?”

Then in October 1981 I saw Tom Sawyer (live) by Rush on Top Of The Pops.

It was a life changing experience; it was so mesmerising I had to have that record.

I started buying Rush albums when I started earning in 1982; and by spring of 1984 I had caught up with their back catalogue, apart from their first single released in Canada only which I don’t own a copy of.

Neil Peart joined Rush in 1974; replacing original drummer John Rutsey, who subsequently died in 2008.

Rush had no further changes of personnel until the band ceased operating at around 2015; for over 40 years they were Geddy Lee (real name Gary Lee Weinrib) on bass and vocals, Alex Lifeson (real name Alex Zivojinovic) on guitars, and Neil Peart on drums.

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson wrote the music for their songs, and Neil Peart wrote the lyrics. On the best live song I ever seen on a DVD which is the Exit Stage Left performance of Xanadu by Rush, Neil Peart operates inside a room sized drum and percussion arrangement playing many different percussion instruments; particularly at the beginning of the song. I recommend that readers view this on You Tube.

In 2002 I met one time Sex Pistols member Glen Matlock in Glasgow.

I greeted him with the words “My mother is a retired music teacher. Me meeting you is her worst nightmare come true!”

Jeremy Whiting, Great Lumley.