Rush's Alex Lifeson: "My 3 best solos"

Alex picks his moments
Alex picks his moments

When MusicRadar caught up with Rush's Alex Lifeson, we asked him the question on everybody's mind: So what are your three best solos, Alex?

The legendary guitarist needed only a moment before answering:

1. Limelight (1981)

"I love the elasticity of the solo. It's a very emotional piece of music for me to play. The song is about loneliness and isolation, and I think the solo reflects that. There's a lot of heart in it. It's a feel thing: you have to feel a solo as you play it, otherwise it's going to sound stiff. I never had that problem with Limelight. The first time I laid it down in the studio, I feel a real attachment to it and I could tell it was special. Even now, it's my favorite solo to perform live. I never get tired of it. Each time I'm about to play it, I take a deep breath and I exhale on that first note. I guess that sounds corny, but for me, it releases something."

2. Kid Gloves (1984)

"That song is from our Grace Under Pressure album. What I like about the solo is, it's the opposite of Limelight: it's got a hip, kind of slinky attitude, a little goofy humor. When I play it, I feel a certain confidence, almost like a prankster, which is not the way I am in real life at all. What's funny about it, too, is that it has a plot to it, and I only realized that after I recorded it for the first time - I never have a plot in mind when I'm recording solos; I always just kind of wing them. The Kid Gloves solo guided me; it's like it knew what it wanted to be and I just had to allow myself to follow."

3. Freewill (1980)

"It's a really hard solo to play. I think I feel a certain amount of pride in that fact alone. Every time I play it, I'm amazed I got through it. It's so frenetic and exciting. The rhythm section too - Geddy and Neil are all over the place. It's probably one of the most ambitious pieces of music Rush has ever done. In a sense, everybody's soloing at the same time. Recording it, I didn't have anything planned; I was just responding to what the other guys did. Basically, I was just trying to keep up! But I think it worked out pretty well. I'm rather happy with it, and I can usually find fault with everything I do."

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.