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Boston (album)

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Title: Boston (album)  
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Boston (album)

Studio album by Boston
Released August 25, 1976
Recorded October 1975 – April 1976
Length 37:41
Label Epic
Boston chronology
Don't Look Back
Singles from Boston
  1. "More Than a Feeling" / "Smokin'"
    Released: September 1976
  2. "Foreplay/Long Time"
    Released: January 1977
  3. "Peace of Mind"
    Released: April 1977

Boston is the debut studio album by Boston-based American rock band Boston. Produced by Tom Scholz and John Boylan,[1] the album was released on August 25, 1976 in the United States by Epic Records. Scholz had first begun playing music in the late 1960s after graduating from MIT with a master's degree, which led to a senior position at Polaroid. After being involved in the Boston music scene for several years, Scholz concentrated on demos recorded in his apartment basement with singer Brad Delp. His previous group, Mother's Milk, had received numerous rejection letters from major record labels in the early 1970s. By 1975, the demo tape had fallen into the hands of CBS-owned Epic Records, who signed the band.

Epic wanted the band to record in Los Angeles with a record producer, but Scholz was unwilling and wanted to record the album in his basement studio, so he hired Boylan to run interference with the label. In an elaborate ruse, Sholz tricked the label into thinking the band was recording on the West Coast, when in reality, the bulk was being tracked solely by Scholz at his Massachusetts home. The album's contents are a complete recreation of the band's demo tape, and contain songs written and composed many years prior. The album's style, often referred to as the "Boston sound", was developed through Scholz's love of classical music, melodic hooks and guitar-heavy rock groups such as the Kinks and the Yardbirds.

The album was first issued by Epic in August 1976 and sold extremely well, breaking sales records and becoming one of the best-selling debut albums of all time. Boston's style was appropriated by label executives and imitated by bands to create radio-friendly "corporate rock", the creation of which the band was also accused. The album's singles, most notably "More Than a Feeling" and "Long Time", were both AM and FM hits, and nearly the entire album receives constant rotation on classic rock radio. The album has been referred to as a landmark in 1970s rock and has been included on many lists of essential albums. The album has sold 17 million copies in the United States alone and 25 million worldwide.


  • Background 1
  • Recording and production 2
  • Music 3
  • Release 4
  • Reception 5
  • Touring 6
  • Legacy 7
  • Track listing 8
  • Personnel 9
    • Additional personnel 9.1
  • Charts 10
  • Sales and certifications 11
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


The city of Boston in 1973.

In the late 1960s, Tom Scholz began attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he first began writing music.[2] After graduating with a master's degree, he began working for the Polaroid Corporation in the product development division.[3] By night, he played keyboards for bands in the Boston bar and club scene, where he collaborated with keyboardist/drummer Jim Masdea.[4] The two—who shared a concept of the perfect rock band, one "with crystal-clear vocals and bone-crunching guitars"—viewed themselves as only part-time musicians.[3] Despite this, the duo built a small studio near Watertown, Massachusetts to record ideas. Scholz recorded for hours on end, often re-recording, erasing and discarding tapes in an effort to create "a perfect song."[3] Both musicians later joined Mother's Milk, a band featuring guitarist Barry Goudreau, that vied for recognition in the Boston music scene. Scholz quickly went from keyboardist to lead songwriter, and the band went through dozens of lead vocalists before Brad Delp auditioned.[3] Delp, a former factory worker at a Danvers electric coil company, spent much of his weekends in cover bands. Delp drove to Revere Beach, where the three-piece were performing at a club named Jojo's.[3] Delp was impressed that the band had recorded a demo tape and were still recording, and earned his position in the band after auditioning the Joe Walsh song "Rocky Mountain Way". Mother's Milk became an early version of Boston, with Goudreau on lead guitar.[3]

By 1973, the band had a six-song demo tape ready for mailing, and Scholz and his wife Cindy sent copies to every record company they could find. The group received rejection slips from several labels—Columbia began contacting Scholz, after which he sent the tape to ABC.[3][4]

Charles McKenzie, a New England representative for ABC Records, first overheard the tape in a co-worker's office.[3][6] He called Paul Ahern, an independent record promoter in California, with whom he held a gentleman's agreement that if either heard anything interesting, they would inform the other.[4] Ahern had connections with Petze at Epic and informed him—even though Petze had passed on the original Mother's Milk demos. Epic contacted Scholz and offered a contract that first required the group to perform in a showcase for CBS representatives, as the label felt curious that the "band" was in reality a "mad genius at work in a basement."[3][6] Masdea had started to lose interest in the project by this time, and Scholz called Goudreau and two other performers who had recorded on the early demos, bass player Fran Sheehan and drummer Dave Currier, to complete the lineup. In November 1975, the group performed for the executives in a Boston warehouse that doubled as Aerosmith's practice facility.[3][4] Mother's Milk was signed by CBS Records one month later in a contract that required 10 albums over six years. Currier quit before he knew the band passed the audition, and Scholz recruited drummer Sib Hashian in his place. Epic had signed an agreement with NABET, the union representing electrical and broadcast engineers, which specified that any recording done outside of a Columbia-owned studio but within a 250-mile radius of one of those studios required that a paid union engineer be present.[6] As such, the label wanted the band to travel to Los Angeles and re-record their songs with a different producer. Scholz was unhappy with being unable to be in charge, and John Boylan, a friend of a friend of Ahern, came on board the project.[6] Boylan's duty was to "run interference for the label and keep them happy," and made a crucial suggestion: that the band change their name to Boston.[3][4]

Recording and production

"We didn't actually tell them that we were transferring the tapes. What they didn't know wouldn't hurt them. We told them we were working on the album with Boylan, that was all true - Tom still had stuff to do back home. A lot of bands were signed and get put in with a producer, and then all of a sudden it's the producer's project. Before you know it, it doesn't resemble anything of what you were doing. We were very fortunate that that didn't happen to us. Boylan had the ears to know that Tom knew his way around a studio. We gave them a complete tape, and they thought, 'Man, these guys work fast.'"

—Brad Delp[3]

Boston was primarily recorded at Scholz's own Foxglove Studios in Watertown in "an elaborate end run around the CBS brain trust."[3] Epic wanted a studio version that sounded identical to the demo tape, and Scholz decided he could not work in a production studio, having adapted to home recording for several years, stating "I work[ed] alone, and that was it."[5] Scholz took a leave of absence from Polaroid, and was gone for several months to record the band's album. "I would wake up every day and go downstairs and start playing," he recalled. Scholz grew annoyed reproducing the parts, being forced to use the same equipment used on the demo.[5] The basement, located in a lower-middle-class neighborhood on School Street, was described by Scholz as a "tiny little space next to the furnace in this hideous pine-paneled basement of my apartment house, and it flooded from time to time with God knows what."[5][6] There was a

External links

  1. ^ Boston (CD liner).  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Larry Lange (1998). "Boston's Scholz Engineers a Rock Dynasty".  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag Chuck Miller (May 22, 1998). "Heaven is a Reel-to-Reel Tape". Goldmine. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Cameron Crowe (August 10, 1978). "The Band from the Platinum Basement".  
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Boston: Feelin' Satisfied".  
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Dan Daley (September 1, 2000). "Boston's "More Than a Feeling"". Mix. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Andy Aledort. "The Rock Man". Maximum Guitar. 
  8. ^ a b Nicholson, Kris (October 7). "Boston".  
  9. ^ "Overnight Success". Guitar Player. August 1977. 
  10. ^ a b "American album certifications – Boston – Boston".   If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  11. ^ "THE TUBES THE TUBES".  
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b "Boston Charts & Awards Billboard Albums" at AllMusic. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  14. ^  
  15. ^ "RPM Top Albums".  
  16. ^ "". Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "Boston – Boston" (in Dutch). Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Boston – Boston". Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Boston – Boston". Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Boston | Artist".  
  21. ^ a b "Boston > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles" at AllMusic. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  22. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Boston – Boston".  
  23. ^ "British album certifications – Boston – Boston".   Enter Boston in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  24. ^ "American album certifications – Boston – Boston".   If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH


See also

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[22] Diamond 1,000,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[23] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[24] 17× Platinum 17,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Sales and certifications



Side two
No. Title Length
4. "Rock & Roll Band"   3:00
5. "Smokin'" (Brad Delp, Scholz) 4:22
6. "Hitch a Ride"   4:12
7. "Something About You"   3:48
8. "Let Me Take You Home Tonight" (Brad Delp) 4:44
Side one
No. Title Length
1. "More Than a Feeling"   4:46
2. "Peace of Mind"   5:02
3. "Foreplay/Long Time"   7:47

All songs written and composed by Tom Scholz, except where noted.

Track listing

Boston has been described as a pivot in the transition of mainstream American rock from blues-based proto-metal to power pop, "combining some of the ebullience of the rock era's early days with the precision and technology that would mark rock record productions from then on."[6] All eight songs—most commonly the album's A-side—are in constant rotation on classic rock radio.[3] Boston's success ushered in the next wave of "producer" rock,[2] and critics accused the band of creating the “corporate rock” sound. Following the album's success, its sound became imitated by several other prominent rock bands of the era.[5] The record created a reference point for production values and studio technology that would stand for years.[6]


Boston eventually began headlining shows in 1977, and sold out four Southern California concert halls with a one-week span. Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band opened for Boston in Detroit. On their swing back to the Northeast, they sold out two nights in the Philadelphia Spectrum—and in their New York City debut, three sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden.[3] "I sold out arenas with this group in four cities from Lincoln, Nebraska to Louisville, Kentucky," said concert promoter Bob Bagaris to Billboard. "I've never seen such universal penetration of key secondary markets by any major group. Even the biggest acts usually don't do so well in every market."[3]

The first tour in support of the album was a short six-week promotional club tour throughout the Midwest. Boston soon found themselves on a nationwide tour that lasted 10 months. "We started playing the Agoras in Cleveland and Columbus," said Delp. "500-1000 seat clubs. The response was great, I was amazed that people were singing along with all the songs. It really impressed upon me the power of radio, the fact that wherever we went, they were just playing the record and people just came, and it was great."[3] However, several bands that the group opened for were less than enthusiastic to meet them. At one point, they were opening for Foghat, but lost the gig when a Milwaukee disc jockey introduced Boston, not headliner Foghat, as the best rock and roll band in the world.[3] While the band were apprehensive about opening for Black Sabbath, the experience was pleasant. "The great thing about Black Sabbath was that they didn't do soundchecks," remembered Delp. "So we were afforded all the time we wanted on stage, Ozzy Osbourne would say, 'Ahh, you wanna go up and play some songs, go ahead.' They couldn't have been nicer."[3]


The album soared, with three singles becoming Top 40 hits. All eight of the songs on the album still receive regular airplay on classic rock radio to this day, across the country. Taking a mere three weeks to earn an RIAA Gold Record Award (500,000 in unit sales) in 1976, and a Platinum Award (1,000,000 in unit sales) after three months on November 11, 1976, it was the fastest selling debut album for any American group. It has continued to sell very well, accumulating 9 million in sales by the 10th anniversary in 1986, reaching diamond in 1990, and 17x platinum by 2003.[10]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [13]
Rolling Stone (favorable) [8]
Robert Christgau C [14]


By 1986, the album had been certified for over nine million sales domestically, and Boston went diamond in 1990. By November 2003, the album was certified by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of 17 million.[10] Worldwide, the album has sold 20 million copies.[11] The album is the second best-selling debut album of all time in the United States, after Guns N' Roses's Appetite for Destruction.[12] Boston, along with the band's 1978 follow-up Don't Look Back, were remastered in 2006 by Scholz.[5]

The album was certified gold two months after its release, and sold another 500,000 copies within 30 days, going platinum for the first time in November 1976. By January 1977, the debut disc sold two million copies, making it one of the fastest selling debut albums in rock history.[3] "More Than a Feeling" became a hit single on both AM Top 40 stations (with its second verse deleted for time constraints), and on FM "AOR" stations (with the second verse left intact).[3] "I was at Polaroid when I first heard 'More Than A Feeling' on the radio," said Tom Scholz. "I was listening to somebody else's radio. The first week the album came out, it did better than I expected."[3] Epic Records was pleased with their new acquisition—Boston and another new band, Wild Cherry, were among Epic's biggest success stories of 1976.[3] The album was afforded several accolades, including a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist. Boston sold six million albums, 8-tracks and cassettes by December 1977.[3] For massive popularity, Boston was considered to rival established stars such as Peter Frampton, Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Wonder.[9]

Boston was first released by Epic Records on August 25, 1976. Few industry insiders thought a guitar-heavy rock record could make much of a dent in the charts as disco ruled the airwaves at the time.[5] The album broke out of Cleveland first, and the following week, it had been added at 392 stations.[4] Had the record been unsuccessful, Scholz, then 29, planned to abandon his rock and roll dream; he still worked at Polaroid during the first few weeks of the record's success.[7] Scholz felt pessimistic about the success until the album sold 200,000 copies. "And all of a sudden I realized I was in the music business," he told Rolling Stone. "I got word on what the sales figures were while I was still at Polaroid full-time. It wasn't easy staying there two more weeks."[4] Critics were kind to Boston; Rolling Stone wrote that "The group's affinity for heavy rock & roll provides a sense of dynamics that coheres magnetically with sophisticated progressive structures."[8]

From left: Barry Goudreau, Tom Scholz, Sib Hashian, Brad Delp, Fran Sheehan, in 1977.


The trademark sci-fi theme of the record cover was Scholz' concept: "The idea was escape; I thought of a 'spaceship guitar.' "[2]

"Something About You" was originally "Life Isn't Easy" and was written around 1975, and as the last demo, it was put as the second to last track. [3] "More Than a Feeling" is an ode to daydreaming, and contains a guitar solo reminiscent of "

Boston is mainly composed of songs written many years prior to their appearance on the album.[4] Scholz wrote or cowrote every song on the first album, played virtually all of the instruments and recorded and engineered all the tracks.[2] The "Boston sound" combines "big, giant melodic hooks" with "massively heavy, classically-inspired guitar parts."[7] For Scholz, the idea of beautiful vocal harmonies was inspired by The Left Banke, and the guitar-driven aspect was influenced by the Kinks, the Yardbirds and Blue Cheer.[7] Another signature element of the "Boston sound" in terms of production involves the balance between acoustic and electric guitars. To this end, Scholz was inspired by his childhood listening of classical music, noting that the "basic concept" of setting the listener up for a change that is coming in the music had been explored for hundreds of years in classical compositions.[7] The record also makes use of multiple-part harmonized guitar solos and baroque melodic devices known as mordents.[7]

This sample of "Foreplay/Long Time" demonstrates the band's shifting emphasis between acoustic and electric guitars.

Problems playing this file? See .


The entire operation has been described as "one of the most complex corporate capers in the history of the music business."[6] With the exception of "Let Me Take You Home Tonight", the album was a virtual copy of the demo tapes.[3] The album was recorded for a cost of a few thousand dollars, a paltry amount in an industry accustomed to spending hundreds of thousands on a single recording.[2]

Boylan's own hands-on involvement would center on recording the vocals and mixing,[6] and he took the rest of the band out to the West Coast, where they recorded "Let Me Take You Home Tonight".[7] "It was a decoy," recalled Scholz, who recorded the bulk back home in Watertown without CBS's knowledge. While Boylan arranged for Delp to have a custom-made Taylor acoustic guitar for thousands of dollars on the album budget, Scholz recorded such tracks as "More Than a Feeling" in his basement with a $100 Yamaha acoustic guitar.[2][3][7] That spring, Boylan returned to Watertown to hear the tracks, on which Scholz had recut drums and other percussion and keyboard parts.[6] He then hired a remote truck from Providence, Rhode Island to come to Watertown, where it ran a snake through the basement window of Scholz's home to transfer his tracks to a 3M-79 2-inch 24-track deck.[6] The entire recording was completed in the basement, save for Delp's vocals, which were recorded at Capitol Studios' Studio C with Warren Dewey engineering the overdubs.[5][6] All vocals were double-tracked except the lead vocal, and all the parts were done by Delp in quick succession.[6] When Scholz arrived in Los Angeles for mixing, he felt intimidated and feared the professional engineers would view him as a "hick that worked in a basement."[5] Instead, Scholz felt they were backwards in their approach, and lacked knowledge he learned. "These people were so swept up in how cool they were and how important it is was to have all this high-priced crap that they couldn’t see the forest for the trees," he said.[5] Boylan found his only real confrontation with the autocratic Scholz during the mixing stage, in which Scholz handled the guitar tracks, Boylan the drums and Dewey the vocals, with Steve Hodge assisting.[6] Scholz pushed guitars too high in the mix, rendering vocals inaudible at times.[6]

[6] Boylan felt that while Scholz's guitars "sounded amazing," he did not understand how to properly record acoustic instruments, and flew in engineer Paul Grupp to instruct him on microphone technique.[5]

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