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HOW NEIL PEART HELPED SPARK ‘FLY BY NIGHT’ ART

Neil Peart made his drumming and lyric-writing debut with Rush’s second LP, 1975’s Fly by Night. He also took on another, less famous role: conceptualizing its bold cover image.

“One of the first lyrics I submitted to [guitarist] Alex [Lifeson] and [bassist] Geddy [Lee] was ‘Fly by Night,’ and when the time came to make our first album together, we decided that was a good title,” Peart wrote in the introduction to The Complete Tour Books 1977-2004. “As a bird lover since childhood, I remembered an illustration of a snowy owl swooping down toward the viewer with fierce eyes, and I suggested an image like that for the cover, maybe with the northern lights in the background.”

The prog-rock trio was still a few months away from hiring art director Hugh Syme, who’d contribute to every subsequent Rush LP, starting with their follow-up, Caress of Steel. That temporary role fell to Jim Ladwig and AGI Chicago, with the visual crew rounded out by designer Joe Kotleba and painter Eraldo Carugati — the latter of whom later worked on the four Kiss solo albums from 1978… read more >

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