Happy Birthday: Geddy Lee
Today we celebrate the birthday of Geddy Lee, lead singer of the band Rush and – once in a blue moon – a solo artist. (If you’ve never heard his 2000 solo album, MY FAVOURITE HEADACHE, don’t worry: we’ve included it in our playlist.) To commemorate the day of his birthday, we’ve put together a six-pack of tracks that feature Geddy either on vocals or bass, and while you might’ve heard a few of them, we’re hoping there are at least a few that surprise you.
- Max Webster, “Battle Star” (1980): If you’re not Canadian, then you might reasonably presume that Max Webster is a guy, but “he” is actually a band, one that kicked around Canada for about a decade before calling it quits in 1982. On their final studio album, UNIVERSAL JUVENILES, they had their fellow countrymen in Rush come in and work on this one track. Why it was never released as a single, one can only wonder.
- Bob and Doug McKenzie, “Take Off” (1981): Arguably Geddy’s single greatest guest appearance, this song by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas under their SCTV guise of Bob and Doug McKenzie, hosts of The Great White North, was actually a top-20 hit in the US. As such, this makes it – and this is still mind-blowing no matter how many times we read it – Geddy’s highest-charting appearance on the Billboard Hot 100, since it hit #16 and Rush’s highest-charting single, “New World Man,” on hit #21. Insane but true.
- Northern Lights, “Tears are Not Enough” (1985): Remember USA for Africa? Sure you do: it was America’s answer to Band Aid. After Band Aid hit big with “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” USA for Africa went and recorded “We Are the World.” In turn, Canada’s biggest musical names came together and called themselves Northern Lights, releasing this single.
- Climb, “Who’s Missing Who” (1988): Sports fans will know Warren Cromartie for his stint with the Montreal Expos, one which also led him to sign to a Japanese baseball team. While he was in Japan, however, Cromartie wasn’t just playing baseball, he was also making music, having teamed up with Austrian vocalist Joe Hamilton to form a band called Climb. They released a limited-edition album called TAKE A CHANCE which originally only came out in Japan, but it’s since gotten a larger release. In addition to Geddy’s guest spot on this track, you can also find Lou Gramm, Mitch Malloy, and David Rosenthal on this album.
- I Mother Earth, “Good for Sule” (1999): These guys first came to fame during the tail end of the grunge era, finding success with their debut album, DIG, and maintaining that momentum for a few more albums. This track – which features Geddy on bass – was on their third album, BLUE GREEN ORANGE, which was a top-10 smash in album.
- The Big Dirty Band, “I Fought the Law” (2006): Still showing his appreciation for Canadian comedy, Geddy was one of the guest musicians on this track from the soundtrack to The Trailer Park Boys Movie, even turning up in the video.