“Keyboards started coming up a lot more, and so there was a little more of a fight for space with the guitar”: Alex Lifeson looks back on the difficult creation of Rush’s 1984 classic, Grace Under Pressure

Rush in 1984, shooting a video in London
(Image credit: Fin Costello/Redferns)

1984 saw Rush release their 10th studio album in as many years. But while the trio – guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist, keyboardist, and singer Geddy Lee and drummer and lyricist Neil Peart – were firmly established as rock superstars, they were also in some ways operating as a newborn act, exploring uncharted, sometimes uneasy, rock territory. 

Following the massive mainstream success of 1981’s Moving Pictures, which spawned now-classic singles like Limelight, Freewill, and Tom Sawyer, the band took a hard turn on the next year’s Signals, which pushed synthesizers to the forefront, relegating Lifeson’s guitar to a less central and more supportive role. 

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.