He was born on 12 Sep 1952 as the oldest of 4 siblings born to parents Betty and Glen Peart. 
His first 2 years were spent on his family's farm in Hagersville, on the outskirts of Hamilton, Haldimand County, Ontario, Canada.
About 1954 his parents moved the family to St.Catharines, Ontario, Canada and in 1956 the family moved to the Port Dalhousie area of the town.
He attended Gracefield School and later Lakeport Secondary School.
By early adolescence he became interested in music and acquired a transistor radio, which he would use to tune into pop music stations. He first took piano lessons, but seeing his penchant for drumming on various objects, his parents bought him a drum kit for his 14th birthday. He took lessons from Don George at the Peninsula Conservatory of Music. He debuted at the school’s Christmas pageant at St.Johns Anglican Church Hall in Port Dalhousie.
He appeared with his first group, "The Eternal Triangle", at Lakeport High School where he performed his first solo. During adolescence, he floated between regional bands in pursuit of a career as a full-time drummer.
Early in his career, his performance style was deeply rooted in hard rock. He drew most of his inspiration from drummers such as Keith Moon and John Bonham, who were at the forefront of the British hard rock scene.
At 18, he travelled to London, England to concentrate on his music. There he played in several bands and occasionally received session work but ultimately got discouraged by his lack of progress in the music business.
After 18 months of dead-end musical gigs, he returned home to Canada disillusioned and went to work for his father at "Dalziel Farm Equipment" in St.Catharines, Ontario. Canada. 
His audition as drummer for the Toronto-based band "Rush" was overseen by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson who accepted Neil's style of drumming. He officially joined the band on 29 July 1974.
On his first outing with the band on 14 Aug 1974, he opened for "Uriah Heep" and "Manfred Mann" in front of over 11,000 people at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
"Rush" began to tour extensively and he became the band’s main lyricist. Literature heavily influenced his writings. As a drummer he was distinguished for playing "butt-end out", reversing stick orientation for greater impact and increased rimshot capacity. His drumming was renowned for its technical proficiency, and his live performances for their exacting nature and stamina.
He became a famed rock musician and about 1994 he revamped his playing style to incorporate jazz and swing components.
On 09 May 1996, he and his 2 band mates were made Officer of the Order of Canada. The trio were the first rock musicians to be bestowed the highest civilian honor by the Canadian government. The 3 were also inducted into the Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame.
On 10 Aug 1997 his only child, Selena Taylor,  was killed in a single-car accident at 19 years old. Ten months later, his common-law wife of 23 years, Jackie Taylor, succumbed to cancer on 20 June 1998. 
Neil Peart married on 09 Sep 2000 to a photographer and they had a daughter born in late 2009 in Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, USA.
By 2005 he had written 3 books ...
He wrote a total of seven nonfiction books focused on his travels and personal stories.
On 18 April 2013 "Rush" was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In the mid-2010s, Peart acquired U.S. citizenship. 
On 07 Dec 2015 he announced his retirement from music. in an interview with "Drumhead Magazine".  In January 2018 bandmate Alex Lifeson confirmed that "Rush" was retiring due to Peart's health issues. 
Some of his nicknames included Pratt, Milton Banana and "The Professor".
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