BOSTON (self-titled) - Boston
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Year of Release: 1976Label: Epic RecordsGenre: Classic Rock/Hard Rock
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Members (from left to right):
  • Tom Scholz - electric/acoustic/bass guitars, clavinet, organ
  • Fran Sheehan - bass guitar
  • Sib Hashian (top) - drums, percussion
  • Barry Goudreau (bottom) - electric guitar
  • Brad Delp - vocals, guitar
Not in this photo:
  • Jim Masdea - drums for "Rock and Roll Band"



From Tom Scholz's modest basement in Boston, Massachusetts to the great stages of arena rock, Boston's self-titled album, Boston, propelled Scholz and the band to a hard-earned and well-deserved success in the competitive world that is rock-and-roll.


VITAL STATISTICS
Named the 2nd best selling album in U.S. history after Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction, Boston's self-titled album hit 17x Platinum in sales in the year 2003. The album reached #3 on the Billboard 200 in 1976 and remained on charts for 132 weeks. Boston's most-known hit single, "More Than a Feeling” made it to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and also made it onto VH1's Top 100 Rock Songs, ranking #39 on the list. Other successful singles from the album include “Long Time”, hitting #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977, and “Peace of Mind”, ranking #38 on the Billboard Hot 100 - also in 1977. Additionally, the band was nominated for a Grammy Award as Best New Artist.


BACKGROUND / TECHNICAL DETAIL
While a student at MIT, Tom Scholz wrote his very first piece of music in 1969. The song, which was purely instrumental would later be titled, "Foreplay" - little did Scholz know that this song would soon be featured on his near-future band's first album. Scholz joined a frat band in 1970 called "Freehold." He then met Barry Goudreau and Jim Masdea.

Using his engineering education from MIT as well as the technology he had acquired while working for Polaroid, Scholz built a crude multitrack tape system in his very own basement in Boston. After experimenting and fooling around with the machine, he was able to successfully record "Foreplay" in 1971. Scholz played all of the instruments himself, with the exception of the drums, which Jim Masdea covered.

By means of the money he earned from Polaroid, he also utilized commercial studios to record demos of the songs. With these he attempted to gain the interest of record labels, but none seemed interested. In fact, many of them rejected the demos with insulting comments. Despite the unfortunate disappointments, Scholz gained one vital and priceless reward that made the expensive recording sessions worthwhile: he met Brad Delp. Delp's tone of voice and extraordinary vocal range was the perfect compliment to Scholz's style. Scholz himself admitted that it was Delp's voice that brought the music to life. On the contrary, the genius of the music was in the fusion of vocal harmonies with orchestral guitars. The pair's collaboration would later be referred to as a "symphony of rock".

Scholz started a band called Mother's Milk in 1973 with the desperate attempts of being noticed. Due to the lack of progress, the group was quickly disbanded and Scholz was left feeling as though his dream of playing music professionally would never come to fruition. With most of his money gone by 1974, Scholz emptied his savings and bought a 12-track tape recorder, which came to symbolize his last-minute gamble for superstardom. Relying solely on himself this time (with the exception of Masdea for drumming), Scholz overdubbed one instrument at a time until he was satisfied with each part. He used the equipment in his basement as well as a few other devices he designed: one of which he called the "Space Echo" pedal, a rudimentary unit that rested in a cigar box. When all of the instrument tracks were finally laid down, Scholz asked Delp to join them to record the vocals. Not only did Delp sing the lead vocals, but he also sang all of the harmonies for which Scholz utilized the multi-tracking technique. The final product was a four-song demo, which proved to be a lucky financial risk; three major record companies voiced interest.

"From the beginning, being a garage band would have been such a step for us - we hadn't even made it that far. We didn't even have a garage and weren't really a band. We were two guys who in their spare time wrote songs and recorded them in this homemade studio in a basement with a little help from our friends. That went on for six years, financed out of my pocket, until I was basically going broke and about to stop. Then finally, we struck it rich in a lucky last-minute way. All of a sudden these doors we'd been knocking on opened and three major labels became interested at once." - Tom Scholz

In addition to the three record labels, Scholz and Delp were offered to be managed by a team of radio promoters called Pure Management. However, two things stood in the way: 1) They needed a band, and 2) their new managers insisted that the duo replace Jim Masdea. Eventually, Barry Goudreau and Fran Sheehan joined the team, while Masdea was replaced by Sib Hashian as their new drummer.

After much time (and two songs later), Epic Records finally offered Scholz and Delp a contract. To Scholz's dismay, the label asserted that the original six-song demo would need to be re-recorded in a professional studio. Scholz was crestfallen, for he knew that even if he tried, he could never recreate what he had already engineered in his basement. Luckily, the producer John Boylan agreed to let Scholz produce the multitrack masters on his own time in his basement, while the rest of the band recorded in L.A. He would later join them for mixing and vocal overdubbing.

In the hopes of mending severed ties with his friend, Jim Masdea, who had played a significant role from the start, Scholz insisted that he be involved and recognized in some way, so Masdea's drumming was recorded for "Rock and Roll Band".

Upon its completion, the 7" vinyl album mainly highlighted the extraordinary talents of Tom Scholz. Besides being the writer of all except one song on the album, Scholz proved his writing, performing, and musical engineering skills by playing and recording the majority of the instruments that are on featured the album. Only the very last song on the album, "Let Me Take You Home Tonight", which was written by Brad Delp, features performances from all five musicians. It was a total collaboration when much of the album was Scholz's doing.

Although Scholz has been dubbed the genius behind the band, there is no doubt that Boston would be Boston without Brad Delp's voice, which became characteristic of the band's sound.


BREAKDOWN of the MUSIC
The album, Boston, has an overall feel-good rock vibe. The sing-along lyrics and engaging instrument solos are catchy, while many of the songs have become well known as good ol' classic rock. The various instruments used are as follows:
  • Vocals – Brad Delp’s unaltered voice is powerful and instantly recognizable. His talent for singing both melodies and harmonies compliments the talents of Tom Scholz. With an incredible vocal range, Delp's voice is what sets the band apart. He appropriately plays with his high range at the perfect “rock” moments.
  • Drums/Percussion – The drums and percussion are unmistakable, but they are not overdone. They blend perfectly with and compliment the other instruments.
  • Guitars – The blend of acoustic and electric guitars creates a strong dynamic. The typical “rock” sounding guitars are featured while effects are also added. Electric and acoustic guitars are played together or featured separately at different parts within songs (as heard in “Long Time”). This builds upon the structure and feel of the song. Many of the guitar riffs are memorable and catchy.
  • Organ – This classic instrument provides a cool and different element to the music. The instrument is especially noticeable in “Foreplay", “Long Time”, and a solo in “Smokin’”.
  • Clavinet - The electronically amplified keyboard typically used in funk music provides a funky, groovy sound.

The overall themes or concepts that run throughout the album include good times, memories, rock and roll, moving on, love, and relationships.


CULTURAL ANALYSIS
In Scholz's own words, "This six-song demo and subsequent album turned the disco-crazed music industry on its head, and broke all the known rules for succeeding in the world of rock and roll." And that's just what the album did. The band's journey was in many ways unconventional and the album came out at a time when disco was becoming a popular style of music.

The feel-good mood of the 70's was clearly expressed in the album. The songs "Smokin'" and "Let Me Take You Home Tonight" show the cultural awareness of "sex, drugs, and rock n' roll". The influence of marijuana is especially evident in "Smokin'" for it is cleverly recorded at 4:20, a time that became associated with smoking marijuana in the early 1970s.

The song "Rock and Roll Band" conveniently tells the journey of a band from Boston, playing modest gigs and then finally getting a big break and becoming famous. Although this life was not yet true for Boston, Scholz certainly longed for a full-time life of rock and roll as well as the success and fame that is associated with it. He had put his time, effort, and money into his work, and all he wanted was for it all to pay off in the end. Scholz dreamed of playing memorable shows for large crowds in huge concert venues, and he shared that dream in this song. While working in his tiny basement, Scholz imagined his big dream coming alive. He explains, "Something magical happened when Jim [Masdea] and I got together to work on my songs; the basement walls disappeared and were replaced by a huge arena filled with screaming fans…as long as the headphones were loud enough. Alone later, as I played…to the rolling tape with eyes closed, the same vision reappeared, inspiring a far better performance than this lonely space deserved. Then just a fantasy, it proved to be a vision of things to come." Boston was ultimately a rock and roll dream come true for the incredibly talented and hardworking rock genius who is Tom Scholz.

As a high school student in Toledo, Ohio, Scholz developed a love for American and (the new wave of) British rock. He frequently tuned into Boston's WBZ radio station that often played music from this genre. For this reason, and due to the obvious fact that the members lived in Boston, the band was appropriately named "Boston".

Boston was highly influenced by many American and British bands that were present. Some of these include Aerosmith (also a band from Boston), The Beatles, Queen, The Who, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Electric Light Orchestra, and Led Zeppelin.

Overall, Boston has been well-accepted and highly recognized as a classic American rock band. Many of their songs, including "More Than a Feeling" and "Peace of Mind" are still played on rock radio stations today.


TRACK LISTING
Side 1:
1. "More Than a Feeling" - 4:45
  • written by: Tom Scholz
  • drums: Sib Hashian
  • lead guitars: Tom Scholz
  • rhythm guitars: Tom Scholz, electric and acoustic
  • bass guitar: Tom Scholz
2. "Peace of Mind" - 5:03
  • written by: Tom Scholz
  • vocals: Brad Delp
  • drums: Sib Hashian
  • lead guitars: Tom Scholz
  • rhythm guitars: Tom Scholz, electric and acoustic
  • bass guitar: Tom Scholz
3. "Foreplay / Long Time" - 7:47
"Foreplay"
  • written by: Tom Scholz
  • drums: Sib Hashian
  • lead guitars: Tom Scholz, including top secret space pedal effects
  • rhythm guitars: Barry Goudreau
  • bass guitar: Fran Sheehan
  • organ: Tom Scholz
  • clavinet: Tom Scholz
“Longtime”
  • written by: Tom Scholz
  • vocals: Brad Delp
  • drums: Sib Hashian
  • lead guitars: Barry Goudreau, monster guitar
  • rhythm guitars: Barry Goudreau, electric; Tom Scholz, acoustic
  • bass guitar: Tom Scholz
  • organ: Tom Scholz
  • clavinet: Tom Scholz

Side 2:
1. "Rock and Roll Band" - 3:00
  • written by: Tom Scholz
  • vocals: Brad Delp
  • drums: Jim Masdea
  • lead guitar: Tom Scholz
  • rhythm guitar: Tom Scholz
  • bass guitar: Tom Scholz
  • clavinet: Tom Scholz
2. "Smokin'" - 4:20
  • written by: Tom Scholz
  • vocals: Brad Delp
  • drums: Sib Hashian
  • guitars: Tom Scholz
  • bass guitar: Tom Scholz
  • organ: Tom Scholz
  • clavinet: Tom Scholz
3. "Hitch a Ride" - 4:11
  • written by: Tom Scholz
  • vocals: Brad Delp
  • drums: Sib Hashian
  • lead guitars: Tom Scholz
  • rhythm guitars: Tom Scholz, electric and acoustic
  • bass guitar: Tom Scholz
  • organ: Tom Scholz
4. "Something About You" - 3:48
  • written by: Tom Scholz
  • vocals: Brad Delp
  • drums: Sib Hashian
  • lead guitars: Tom Scholz
  • rhythm guitars: Tom Scholz
  • bass guitar: Tom Scholz
5. "Let Me Take You Home Tonight" - 4:48
  • written by: Brad Delp
  • vocals: Brad Delp
  • drums: Sib Hashian
  • lead guitars: Barry Goudreau
  • rhythm guitars: Barry Goudreau, electric; Brad Delp, acoustic
  • bass guitar: Fran Sheehan
  • organ: Tom Scholz


MEDIA



"Peace of Mind"


"Foreplay/Long Time"


"Rock and Roll Band"


"Let Me Take You Home Tonight"




SOURCES
Official BOSTON Website
allmusic.com