“Ghost Rider” from 2002’s Vapor Trails
This is perhaps the single most moving song Rush has ever done. Following a series of family tragedies in 2007/2008, drummer/lyricist Neil Peart embarked on a 2 year, 55,000 mile motorcycle journey through North and South America in an attempt to run away and clear his mind and soul. He later wrote a book, titled “Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road,” which chronicled the tragedy, fallout and his recovery. A beautiful travelogue which can be appreciated by anyone, music fan or not, this is a heartbreaking book that ends, as all journeys should, with hope.
This song is but the briefest possible summary of the travels and trials Neil endured and how he dealt with them on his journeys. The roller coaster of emotion and self-doubt is haunting, yet jubilant.
Carry all those phantoms
Through bitter wind and stormy skies
From the desert to the mountain
From the lowest low to the highest high
Like a ghost rider1
I like to consider myself creative, but this one….well, if I ever need to write such a character, I will certainly be re-reading the book and listening to the song as reminders of the emotions and tone that I need to convey.
1Rush. “Ghost Rider.” Lyr. Neil Peart. Vapor Trails, Atlantic Records. 2002. CD.