Tom Rush

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Tom Rush
Rush performing in 2006
Rush performing in 2006
Background information
Born (1941-02-08) February 8, 1941 (age 83)
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S.
GenresBlues, folk, country
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Instrument(s)Vocals, acoustic guitar
Years active1961–present
LabelsElektra, Prestige, Columbia

Thomas Walker Rush (born February 8, 1941)[1] is an American folk and blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter who helped launch the careers of other singer-songwriters in the 1960s and has continued his own singing career for 60 years.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Rush was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States,[1] the son of a teacher at St. Paul's School, in Concord, New Hampshire. He began performing in 1961 while studying at Harvard University,[1] after having graduated from the Groton School. He majored in English literature. His early recordings include Southern and Appalachian folk or old-time country songs, Woody Guthrie ballads, and acoustic-guitar blues, such as Jesse Fuller's "San Francisco Bay Blues," which appeared on both of his first two LPs.[3] He regularly performed at the Club 47 coffeehouse (now called Club Passim) in Cambridge, the Unicorn in Boston, and The Main Point in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. In the 1970s he lived in Deering, New Hampshire.[4] As of 2023, Rush lives in the North Shore region of Massachusetts, not far from his New Hampshire birth place.

Rush is credited by Rolling Stone magazine with ushering in the era of the singer-songwriter. In addition to performing his own compositions, he sang songs by Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Murray McLauchlan, David Wiffen and William Hawkins, helping them to gain recognition early in their careers.

His 1968 composition "No Regrets" has become a standard,[1] with numerous cover versions having been recorded (Rush did two radically different versions himself). These include The Walker Brothers, who gave Tom Rush Top Ten credit as a songwriter on the UK Singles Chart, Emmylou Harris, who included the song on her 1988 album Bluebird, and Midge Ure whose cover also made the UK Top Ten.[1]

On March 1, 2007 a video of his performance of Steven Walters' "The Remember Song" was uploaded to YouTube, and, as of April 2017, it has received over 7 million plays. Writing on his website, Rush said,

I've been waiting 45 years to be an overnight sensation, and it's finally happened! A video clip of my performance of "The Remember Song" has 'gone viral'. I felt terrible at first, thinking I was being accused of being a musical equivalent of Ebola, but my children explained to me that this was a good thing.

One of the earliest music videos produced (1968) for an artist by a record company, Elektra, can be found at his website. It was used to promote his signature song, "No Regrets", for his The Circle Game album. A number of recent videos from a 2010 concert performed in Old Saybrook, Connecticut can be found online.

Over the years Rush has used a number of guitars on stage, his current[when?] primary one being a handcrafted acoustic made by Don Musser. In February 2012, Rush appeared on stage in Colorado with a new instrument, a cedar-top Dreadnought with an inlay of a snake wrapped around a reclining nude woman. The guitar, crafted by McKenzie & Marr Guitars is a "re-incarnation" of one of Rush's earliest acoustics, the famous "Naked Lady".

On December 28, 2012, Rush appeared at Boston's Symphony Hall to celebrate fifty years in the music business. Rush had first performed there in 1958, and for many years Rush performed there regularly, often in December.[5]

Rush continues to regularly perform and to tour regionally, as of late 2023.

Rush's latest albums are Voices, released in 2018, and Gardens Old, Flowers New (March 1, 2024). In recent years, he has frequently toured the United States, often accompanied on piano by Berklee graduate Matt Nakoa.[6][7][8]


Playing in September 2022
  • 1962 Tom Rush at the Unicorn (Lycornu)
  • 1964 Got a Mind to Ramble (Prestige)
  • 1965 Blues, Songs & Ballads (Prestige)
  • 1965 Tom Rush (Elektra)
  • 1966 Take a Little Walk with Me (Elektra)
  • 1968 The Circle Game (Elektra)
  • 1970 Classic Rush (Elektra)
  • 1970 Tom Rush (Columbia)
  • 1970 Wrong End of the Rainbow (Columbia)
  • 1972 Merrimack County (Columbia)
  • 1974 Ladies Love Outlaws (Columbia)
  • 1982 New Year (Night Light)
  • 1984 Late Night Radio (Night Light)
  • 2001 Live at Symphony Hall, Boston (Varese Sarabande)
  • 2006 Trolling for Owls (Late Night)
  • 2009 What I Know (Appleseed)
  • 2013 Celebrates 50 Years of Music (Appleseed)
  • 2018 Voices (Appleseed)
  • 2024 Gardens Old, Flowers New (Appleseed)


  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1048. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  2. ^ Dicaire, David (September 9, 2011). The Folk Music Revival, 1958-1970: Biographies of Fifty Performers and Other Influential People. McFarland. pp. 95–. ISBN 978-0-7864-6352-7. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  3. ^ "Tom Rush". Discogs.
  4. ^ "The Future is not Today: I Knew It I Knew It I KNEW IT". May 26, 2014.
  5. ^ Reed, James (December 22, 2012). "Tom Rush celebrates 50 years with return to Symphony Hall". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on February 7, 2023. Retrieved November 19, 2023.
  6. ^ "Interview: Tom Rush on New Release "Voices," Music as Indicator for Social Change, Harvard, and Production Anecdotes • Americana Highways". Americana Highways. April 27, 2018. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  7. ^ "Berklee grad Matt Nakoa wows crowds with Tom Rush – The Boston Globe". Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  8. ^ "Tom Rush: 2018". Retrieved January 2, 2019.

External links[edit]