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By 1978, Rush was one of hard rock's most promising acts. 2112, ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE, and A FAREWEEL TO KINGS had all gone gold in the U.S., and the band began headlining arenas worldwide. Sensing that new fans were probably unaware of Rush's first three less commercially successful albums (1973's self-titled debut, 1974's FLY BY NIGHT, and 1975's CARESS OF STEEL), Rush's label at the time, Mercury, re-issued all three in the box set ARCHIVES.

On its debut album, the trio apes Led Zeppelin musically, lyrically, and (most obviously) vocally, as original drummer John Rutsey makes his only appearance on a Rush album. Tracks like "Finding My Way" and "Working Man" remain fan favorites to this day. FLY BY NIGHT was the first record to include drummer Neil Peart, who immediately became Rush's chief lyricist, with the selections "Anthem," "In the End," and the title track proving to be vast improvements over those of the debut. With CARESS OF STEEL, Rush attempted to create an epic work, with lengthy tracks like "Necromancer" and "Fountain of Lamneth."

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