Your favourite Rush albums?

Started as a side discussion on another thread so thought I would just make a thread for it.

Pretty simple really, your favourite Rush albums and why?

To keep it simple, studio albums ONLY, no bootlegs, live albums etc.
Going to kick off with my top 3.

This was my introduction to Rush as a starry eyed teen back in England. Had never heard anything like it and it blew my mind. Does not hurt you can still play this now and it stands the test of time.

Real simple, it has my favourite Rush track of all time on it!
Tree's. Trouble in the forest indeed!

Now my next pick is likely not on many people's top 3 but that's part of the fun of this.

Snakes & Arrows.
Not sure entirely why it just strikes me as having good songs, well recorded and produced ( which is more than I can say for some other 80,s and 90,s efforts). And it makes my feet tap!

Well that will do for a start.
Hummm, I was a participant in the side conversation on another thread, so I feel it's my duty to participate here. Since I'm not going to sit down and analyze all of the Rush albums I've enjoyed over the years, I going with my gut on this one. I'm choosing the 5 consecutive albums, starting with 2112 (which was also my introduction to Rush).

A Farewell to Kings
Permanent Waves
Moving Pictures

That is not necessarily my rank order of my favorite Rush albums, but those will probably hold up as my favorite group of Rush albums.
I was a big Rush fan up to Moving Pictures.

My period presses up to Moving Pictures come out now and then. 2112 is difficult to listen to at low volume still, after 43 years.

IMO Moving Pictures,if you have a clean period press, is a demo, show off your system album.

Rush should never be listened to,unless on a proper turntable.
I have several copies of RUSH media, from albums, CD's, to high-res files. The best for me is the high-res.

1) Moving Pictures
2) Clockwork Angels
3) Signals
4) Roll the Bones
5) Vapor Trails (has to be the remixed)

The original Vapor Trails CD was so bad I threw it in the garbage. The new remixed is a favourite.
I would agree on the original Vapour Trails CD, it is truly bad!

Interesting you have roll the bones in your top 5.

Just my opinion but there were a number of albums I almost consider "fluff", harsh I know.
These would be Hold your fire, roll the bones, vapour trails, presto and test for echo.
I kind of lost interest in Rush after Moving Pictures, but that is one of my favorite albums of all, not just by Rush.

I go back and forth between Hemispheres and 2112 as my next favorite Rush albums.  
A farewell to kings
Caress of Steel
Exit Stage Left

These are the most creative and exciting in sound. Earliest Rush was still bluesy Led Zep style (fantastic but not as ground breaking as these prog albums). Later Rush became more pop as they followed the synth trend.
It appears there is a lot of love for the early Rush era and not much beyond that.

A lot of votes for Moving pictures, not been one of my top picks but will have to give it a spin later as it is one of the only two albums I have on vinyl right now.

I think Rush were greatest and most differentiated at prog Rock hence all the love for the third to fifth albums. They were good at radio pop too but it is a heavily crowded area so die hard fans love them for their most creative period.
@uberwaltz I would tend to agree on your fluff comment. I actually was listening to alternative radio in Toronto during that time and not much RUSH because I was not a fan of the ’fluff’ disks. However, I got back into RUSH when I moved to the US and started listening to the DIFFERENT STAGES live recording. That disk had some tunes from Roll the Bones and I was hooked.

My sister’s neighbor is the recording studio that RUSH recorded Presto. A truly awful release for me. This studio is in a rural area north of Toronto.

If you ever watch a Toronto Blue Jays game on, and maybe a good time now with Vlady Jr being called up this week, look on the second row a few seats to the left, that would be Geddy Lee with the cap on.
I got into RUSH with Fly By Night,  2112, and Hemispheres but I don't play them that much now. Though still very enjoyable to me.
Makes sense.

Glad you did not take offense at my criticism of Roll The Bones as upon reflection it was not very tactful!.

And you are right on Different Stages,in fact the first disc has a fair bit of music that was not normal live fare for Rush.

Playing right now Signals on vinyl.
Permanent Waves
Power Windows
Moving Pictures

My very first concert was the last show of the Kiss/Rush tour June 7, 1975 in San Diego, Ca. At the end of Rush's set (while playing Working Man) Kiss came on stage with cream pies and threw pies at Al, Ged and Neil. I remember Al and Ged would run and slide across the stage because of all of the whip cream on the floor. At the end of the Kiss set Rush came out and did the same to them..... Been a Rush fan ever since.
Grace Under Pressure - not everyone's choice, but for me their best melding of synths and guitar
Moving Pictures
Permanent Waves
A Farewell to Kings

The only album released by Rush that I actively dislike is "Caress of Steel", only one decent song, Bastille Day, it did set the stage for what came after but the rest of the album is boring, at least most of their 90's output were entertaining.
Shorter bo:

We have stuff everyone needs, it make you happy. We love you long time.

There. Fixed it.
The Rush cover album, Feedback is a good listen. Their choice in songs are great.

Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" is crank worthy.

MP was around  the time R&R was seriously changing. The Gods were becoming unfashionable, while  MTV was the new rule.


Agreed that Feedback is a great album, was rather surprised when I listened and found some superb covers of some truly great classics.

Bought it on vinyl the next day ( I was also surprised to see I actually own 4 Rush vinyl albums not 2 as I thought!)

Must be getting old (er).
It seems that the Vapour Trails remix is pretty consistent top entry.

I cannot say as I have heard the remix but it surely has to be a big improvement on the original!
Another vote for Moving Pictures.
I graduated High School in '81 and this was one of the first concerts that I went to.

Then the first three, in order of release.

Even though Hemispheres doesn't make favorite album list, Trees is up there in favorite tracks.
Hemispheres. 2112. Moving Pictures. Permanent Waves. Farewell to Kings in more or less that order.

Tried real real hard to like anything after Signals. Both when the later albums came out and then again a few years ago. Cannot find a single song or riff that I like after Signals. I don't like the direction they took after Moving Pictures but that never diminished my respect for the band or the individual in it. The Geddy Lee interview by Dan Rather on The Big Interview as fantastic. Encourage all Rush fans to seek it out and watch it.
1st album - Excellent 
Fly By Night

  Saw them perform these albums when they were new.
Moving pictures.

I had the red vinyl edition of hemispheres. 
It was so cool. I was 10yrs old. Wish I still had it. 
Never cared for them - to many other good bands of the era with much better songwriting and musicianship.  Never liked their shtick.  
My favorite grouping was Caress all the way through Grace. After Grace I found myself picking songs I liked rather than the entire disc. That certainly doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the body of work though after some listening time. I was certainly one that thought Signals was golden while the rest of the fan base was trying to take swan dive into an empty pool lol. They certainly should be ranked among the greatest of all time and given their due,
"to many other good bands of the era with much better songwriting and musicianship."

While their songwriting might be a subjective call, their musicianship is not. The list of musicians with better skills than those three is very short.

Good lord. Your question brings back vivid memories of all night’ers with headphones. I was renting a bedroom off a buddy at his dads place. Many an evening we came home in the we hours of the mornings after closing up every local rock and roll bar in town. His dad would of course be asleep. The object of the game back then was to meet a girl, bring her home, sneak her in, and then out, of our rooms before mornings. Brad and I kind of had a little competition going on . But most of the time, we came back home alone. The headphones would go on, and so would 2112. And then Farewell to Kings. I even had a  mural painting of that huge hawk from Fly by Night on the trunk lid of my Electra 225 Buick I drove back then. No wonder I had issues picking up girls. Thanks for the memory.. LOL

Farewell to Kings

2112 - is my favorite and the only album or theirs in my regular rotation

Moving Pictures- it takes me back to my high school days
Roll the Bones - its a solid album and the only time i've seen them live was on that tour. They were tight and put on a great show. Still can't figure out why they had Primus open for em, probably a Canadian thing.

My favorites are all up until and including moving pictures. I've had a long held belief that any good band's first 5(approximately) records are their best then they usually trail off. One possible exception being primus, they still jam hard af.
Being a drummer I always was a fan of All The World’s A Stage, which included the first 4 albums, then I would say 2112 and Farewell to Kings...Cygnus-X1 etc. was a killer track. Hemispheres and "La Villa Strangiato", I spent countless hours learning that tune getting up from my drum kit and starting it over(cassette deck). Then Moving Pictures album and the first time I saw them live (1981 New Orleans Municipal Auditorium) that sealed the deal.

Vinyl sounds superb on my VPI Prime Signiture w/ Soundsmith Zephyr MI/MC Star.  I have Grace Under Pressure back to Fly by Night.  The rest on either cd or SACD.
I admire your enthusiasm!

I will admit that none of them make me want to turn it off and run from the room but the late 80,s, 90,s, and early 00,s do not move me too much
Moving Pictures

They put on a great show, seen them twice but after these two albums everything starts sounding the same to me. What can you say to someone who actually likes Bitches Brew?
I don’t think any of their albums even come close to the first one!! The Working Man!!!
+1 for Bitches Brew! The thinking man's DSOTM! Makes most so-called prog rock sound like kindergarten!
Signals & Moving Pictures.  The last song on Signals "Countdown" is such an awesome inspiring song.  The launch of the space shuttle Columbia which the bad attended.
OK - Not at all being argumentative here.  I like a good musical debate.

Keep in mind that I am not limiting myself to the arena rock bands.  If I were to throw out bands & musicians from the Rush era that I would go see live any day of the week, over Rush, I would list the following incomplete list (in no particular order).

(1) Rory Gallagher - Lordy, what a great guitarist, and wrote some darn good songs.  A three man band the kicked butt.  He was the Stevie Ray Vaughan of his time - but a hell of a lot more sober.
(2) Roy Buchanan - Not much of a songwriter, but boy could he work that telecaster.
(3) Springsteen - In that era he was hard to be paralleled for songwriting and that B&W video of him at the Hammersmith Odeon in London says it all.  His wall of sound is not my cup of tea, but serious stage presence.
(4) The Grateful Dead - Don't judge me, but that band was a true band.  They listened to each other during the 1970's and delved into and incorporated musical styles that have never matched. Driving rock to improvisational jazz.  Their songs still endure today.
(5) The Clash - In that short window, they changed the course of Rock n' Roll.
(6) The Allman Brothers Band - OMG, what can you say other than their name.  Did they invent the two guitar and two drummer rock phenom?
(7) Jethro Tull - What about Tull?  Yikes, those 70's LPs are wonderful.  First time I saw them live they opened up with Thick as a Brick.  Could have walked out then.  Their shows had little improvisation, but the songs were works of art.
(8) Frank Zappa - Roxy & Elsewhere!  Apostrophe,  Nuff Said!
(9) Rollings Stones - during the Mick Taylor years.  He is still a great blues guitarist.
(10) Santana - Now that was a fun band to see.  There was a reason he named one of his LPs Festival.  And a great guitar player too.
(11) Patti Smith Group - I'll take one My Generation or Space Monkey over any Rush concert.
(12) Eric Clapton - Even during his drunken 70's, he was gold.
(13) Johnny Winter - Lordy!  Catch him on a sober night and his playing was seeped in classic blues and rock.  An amazing guitar player. Sometimes he was too fast, but when he played the blues, he was channeling the real crossroads deal.
(14) Thin Lizzy - Saw them on their first US Tour and first stop of their first US Tour.  Serious power and stage presence.
(15) Honorable Mentions - All those great blues artists who were playing small clubs but made their mark on the music of yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Luther Allison.  Son Seals.  Play all night, party all night, catch a good burrito on the way home from a classic Chicago Blues Club.  Life doesn't get any better.  

Thanks for permitting my indulgences and my trip down memory lane.  
Great list my friend and you are very welcome to post your preferences as there were some truly great bands there in their time.
But..... Rory Gallagher... Sober?
Did I miss that day?
Seriously I caught Rory back in the early 80,s in a little venue in Nottingham, England called Rock City.... and yes he seriously did kick bottom! Great night!
Thank you!
@pgaulke60, great list. I agree that those are some great bands and I’m big fans of a lot of them. But a couple of thoughts. First, the thread was about favorite Rush albums....not live performances. I mention that because some bands do great studio stuff and some bands do great live stuff. Not all do both. Not all do either one all the time. Can’t comment on Rush because I never saw them. Did you? I have friends and family who have seen them many times and say they put on a great show. I'm not into large venue live music.

Second, as someone who likes most of what’s on your list (never interested in the Dead, Zappa or The Clash though) I don’t see where there is a necessity to exclude Rush based on song writing or musicianship in comparison. I get that someone might not like them.....even I don’t like over half of their discography....but it certainly isn’t on the basis of their skills. They are truly consummate musicians in every sense of the word.
I love Rush, particularly "Moving Pictures" and "Greatest Hits". I really enjoyed the documentary about Rush’s final concert tour. Today, I bought "2112" and "Hemispheres" on the recommendations of the audiophile Rush fans here on the forum. I’m looking forward to hearing them. They seem to have very loyal fans here.
As a once-Rush fanatic growing up, that's a tough question.

But I think I have to go with Hemispheres.  That's when I'd got in to Rush most deeply and it's their most complexly layered, ambitious stuff.  I had so many nights with the old headphones on just being immersed in the world of Hemispheres.   It's still the case that if I put that first side on, I can't help but sit through the whole thing.

If I had to choose a favorite individual Rush song it would probably be Xanadu - the music, the lyrics, the playing, the modulation....that song is just a trip I always love to go on.

I'm in what seems to be the majority who didn't care for anything beyond, say, exit stage left.  I did enjoy some of Signals, but they had started off on their other trajectory by then and it just didn't grab me.I found virtually all the albums afterward that I heard (even in parts) seemed to lack the amazing hooks of all their albums up through Moving Pictures.  They always managed to make their music "hooky" not in the sense of "pop music-like" (though they did have some hooky songs), but rather in the sense of memorable vocal lines, music changes, and memorable riffs by all 3 guys.  For me they had the "dried up band" sound after that, ESPECIALLY when it came to the late 80's/90's onward.  Yeah...they still produced some albums with some great energy, but to my ears, nothing that sounded remotely memorable.  Geddy's singing was just modulation over the music, nothing memorable, and the music also was just sort of moving here and there with nothing sticking out.   I can remember virtually every Peart/Lee/Lifeson part on every song up to Signals...beyond that...nothing stuck.

My friends and I "progressed" beyond Rush and prog rock to "Fusion" (jazz/rock) that had become bigger, and also "real jazz" and then on to a wide array of musical influences.  That was the "I'm sort of embarrassed to ever have been so in to Rush" phase, and "jeeze prog rock...remember that? "  Kind of squeamish looking back on it, because music was still one's identity, and if you wanted a new identiy you had to shed/reject the old one.

Thank goodness for maturity later in life.  Now that I'm a middle-aged fart, I"m not rebelling against the last thing I liked, I have no particular demands of musical progress, and so it's been an absolute BLAST revisiting Rush.   It feels like I can fully appreciate them again, with something near the enthusiasm I had when I was a young Rush fan.And damn, those vinyl remasters are killer!  I'd had various albums on digital but rarely played them.  When I got the vinyl remasters it was a revelation: Rush sounded like Rush again, but perhaps even better.

So, I'm a Rush fan again.  With no apologies!