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Rush – Working Man

Sone songs are just Cleveland Ohio songs and “Working Man” is a song by Rush from their self-titled debut album is just one of them. The song’s guitar solo was voted 94th in Guitar World magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitar solos.

Donna Halper, then a disc jockey and music director at WMMS (once a great station now the worst) in Cleveland, Ohio, is credited with getting Rush noticed in the United States by playing “Working Man” on the air. The song proved particularly popular in the working-class city. The response resulted in a record deal for the band, which gave her special thanks for her part in their early history and dedicated their first two albums to her.

This lead to Rush playing quite often at the Agora, so much that it was thought they were the house band for a while.

Like all of the songs on the band’s first album, the song features original drummer John Rutsey, who was replaced by Neil Peart in 1974.  Neil Peart currently considered on of the top 20 drummers playing today. On the 1976 live album All the World’s a Stage, the song segues into “Finding My Way” and a drum solo by Peart. After not being performed live for most of the 1980s and 1990s, it returned to Rush’s setlists during the 2002 Vapor Trails Tour. It has been played on every tour since, with the exception of the 2007-2008 Snakes & Arrows Tour, and is included on the live albums Rush in Rio, R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour, Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland, and “R40 Live”, on which it segues out of “What You’re Doing”.

Two versions of the song are available as downloadable tracks for the music video game series Rock Band. One is a cover based on the original recording, while the other is a previously unreleased released master track with an alternate guitar solo. The alternate version proved so popular that the band released it on the iTunes Store, under the title “Working Man (Vault Edition).”

The song is featured in episodes of the television series My Name is Earl, That 70’s Show and Supernatural, the 2011 film Goon, and a 2014 Walmart television advertisement.


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