‘I just sort of closed my eyes and played’: Rush’s Alex Lifeson selects his all-time favorite guitar solo

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Though Neal Peart famously expressed his growing discomfort with fame through the lyrics of “Limelight,” guitarist Alex Lifeson has no such reservations about his solo on that familiar Rush tune: It’s his all-time favorite.

“It’s a very emotive solo; it’s very elastic,” Lifeson tells Planet Rock Radio in the attached video. “It really gets across the sense that I was trying to establish with it. It was one of those unconscious kind of solos, where I just sort of closed my eyes and played, and just got caught in the sound of it. From that, the compositional part of it just developed on its own. And that’s from the deepest point, I think, in your creative being.”

“Limelight,” pulled off of Rush’s 1981 album Moving Pictures, rose to No. 55 on the Billboard Hot 100, and went all the way to No. 4 on the mainstream rock list. The tune, still a stalwart part of the band’s setlists, was one of five from Rush recognized by the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.

Certainly, Lifeson has had more technically challenging solos across Rush’s lengthy career — among them “The Weapon,” from 1983’s Signals. Yet, Lifeson adds: “The ‘Limelight’ solo is the one.”

Rush, rounded out by frontman Geddy Lee, was inducted as part of last year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class. Their Clockwork Angels 2013 Tour has four more June dates remaining, beginning on the 20th in Hersey, Pennsylvania.

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