The Heavy Metal Band Rush’s Geddy Lee Called The Best

Younger audiences were becoming more and more interested in new genres every day, which meant that times were changing. The Grammy Awards reasoned that they should create a new category after learning that young people were fond of a trendy new musical genre known as “heavy metal.” When the category of “Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance” was established in 1989, the nominees were, to put it mildly, unusual.

Look, there was Metallica, the band that most people like, followed by Iggy Pop, another hard rocker, and none other than Jane’s Addiction. Then there was one band, though, that nobody at all anticipated would be present. Jethro Tull, a progressive rock group featuring flute notes, was the nominee for their album titled “Crest of a Knave.” Many probably didn’t think the British band would win the award.

Since they didn’t think Anderson and his bandmates would win an award, Ian Anderson’s label even advised the frontman not to attend the ceremony. But later that evening, Jethro Tull was the winner declared by award presenter Alice Cooper when she opened the envelope.

However, a lot of people ridiculed the organization’s choice, so the award show and Jethro Tull’s first Grammy in the Hard Rock/Metal category were contentious. Some did concede, though, that despite their folk music Tull might have been regarded as an early metal act, if not as heavy as Metallica, and at most as a hard rock group.

In 2012, Rush’s Geddy Lee paid tribute to the prog rock greats when asked which heavy metal act and album were his favourites. He made this comment while speaking with the Quietus. He said he had been a fan of Jethro Tull since he was very young and listed the band as one of his favourites.

Lee pointed out, “My favorite Jethro Tull album, I know it is partly a send-up of the idea of ‘concept,’ but it is delivered to perfection. I was a massive Tull fan from very young, and they are one of the bands that I saw live in Toronto… yes, we were lucky to see so many incredible concerts when we were very young, and I hope that too reflects in Rush.”

The singer continued by expressing how impressed he was with Ian Anderson’s performance. Lee stated, “I was mesmerized by Ian Anderson. His presentation was simply magical, and he delivered it with such a sense of humor and great style. There really wasn’t anyone else who looked or sounded quite like them, and that holds true to this day.”

Geddy Lee went on, discussing how Tull affected Rush’s songs and live shows. “We saw it as a huge challenge to try and create something that can seem so dynamic onstage. They are probably best regarded as a live band, although their series of albums around that period was exceptional. This still sounds fresh, and it is great to see that interest in Tull is still growing.”

It’s probably safe to say that Jethro Tull did have the deep bass and complex tones beneath their songs, despite all the controversy surrounding their consideration and honouring as a metal act at the Grammys. They could be referred to as the forerunners of folk hard rock. In the 1960s and early to mid-1970s, nothing particularly “heavy” sounded like music, so perhaps Jethro Tull paved the way for the rise of metal.

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