I can't pretend a stranger
Is a long-awaited friend
I've always had mixed feelings about Rush. Wonderful musicianship; Alex Lifeson (guitar) and Geddy Lee (bass) are masters, while Neil Peart is one of the finest drummers in the history of rock. On the other hand, I find much of their music cold and inaccessible and then, of course, we have Geddy's unfortunate voice. But when they put it together the right way, it's pretty impressive. Limelight is my favorite as the music (by Lee) and lyric (written by Peart) work well together.
One of the staples of rockers are tiresome songs lamenting the price of stardom and life on the road. At first glance, Limelight might seem to fall in that category, but it isn't. It's about how an extreme introvert like Peart (in contrast to extroverts Lee and Lifeson) deals with his life and interaction with fans. Lee and Lifeson do all fan events without Peart, because of his difficulty. His personality must have accentuated the impact of events of 1997 and 1998, when Peart's only daughter died in a car crash, followed 10 months later by the death of his wife of 22 years, leading him to cease recording and touring for two years and having limited contact with the rest of the world. He is now remarried. On December 7, 2015 Peart announced his retirement from touring.
Lifeson's guitar solo on Limelight is superb. He recently remarked:
It's funny: after all these years, the solo to "Limelight" is my favorite to play live. There's something very sad and lonely about it; it exists in its own little world. And I think, in its own way, it reflects the nature of the song's lyrics - feeling isolated amidst chaos and adulation.