Introduction to Boston


First, a little bit something about Boston…

Formed by MIT grad Tom Scholz in the 1970s, Boston once held the distinction of having the biggest and fastest-selling debut album in history. The eponymous first album, which was released in 1976, netted over 17 million copies. The band spawned a staple of classic radio hits such as “More Than A Feeling”, “Don’t Look Back”, “Amanda” and “We’re Ready”. Boston has released a total of six studio albums, one compilation album and thirteen singles.

Formation and hugely successful debut album

Boston’s founder and sole nucleus Tom Scholz (born on March 10, 1947 in Toledo, Ohio) has been a rock music fan since he was in his teens. He started writing music while he was working on his master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After receiving his master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the MIT, Scholz went on to work for Polaroid. He used his salary from work to build his own 12-track recording studio in his basement, as well as to purchase some demo tapes.

He then would record tracks in his demo tapes along with Brad Delp, who took on the lead vocal duties. Their demo efforts earned them their first recording contract with Epic Records. Some of their demos in Boston were later overdubbed in Los Angeles, California. The majority of the would-be album’s tracks were recorded at Scholz’s home recording studio.

By then the original Boston lineup began to take shape. Other members who joined the band were guitarist Barry Goudreau, bassist Fran Sheehan and drummer Sib Hashian.

The result of the band additions was Boston’s eponymous debut album, released in 1976. Boston went on to become the fastest-selling debut albums in history, its sales amounting to a staggering 17 million copies. It remains the best-selling debut album in US music history, with Whitney Houston’s 1985 self-titled debut album coming in at close second (at 13 million copies sold).

The self-titled album’s success was helped by the monster hit single “More Than a Feeling,” probably the song that is most associated with the band. “More Than a Feeling,” which showcased Brad Delp’s amazing vocal range, peaked at #5 on the Hot 100.

Legal battle with Epic label

The success of the Boston album enabled the band to afford a long break and concentrate to work on their next album. After two years, Boston released their sophomore LP Don’t Look Back in 1978.

Don’t Look Back produced three hit singles: “A Man I’ll Never Be” (at #31), “Feelin’ Satisfied (#46) and the title track, which shot to #4 on the Hot 100. It was also very successful, topping the Billboard 200 album chart, and selling over seven million copies.

Despite the success of Don’t Look Back, it was around that time that Boston started to have rifts with their label. Ever the perfectionist, Scholz only releasedDon’t Look Back sooner than he planned because Epic was pressuring them to release a quick follow-up. This marked Boston’s lengthy, draining legal fight against Epic. Due to the rush release of Don’t Look Back, Scholz felt unsatisfied with its results. He vowed next time that he would record an album at his own pace.

Epic claimed that Boston broke their contract by the gaps between album releases. Boston countered that Epic pressured them into releasing the album even before the band felt it was ready to release. Scholz spent the next eight years in the courtroom, therefore stalling Boston’s activity for quite long. He eventually won the long and hard-fought legal battle against Epic. By then, Boston had moved to MCA Records.

Scholz’s own company and “Third Stage” LP

Around the early 1980s Scholz founded his own company Scholz Research & Development, Inc., specializing in amplifiers and other electronic music equipment. In 1982, Scholz and his company introduced their first product, the Power Soak, a volume amp control. Then the company came out with the Rockman guitar amplifier with headphones. It was a success, and Scholz generated a lot of income from his invention, enabling him to fund any musical projects he wanted.

In 1986, Boston released Third Stage, their third LP and first on MCA. Third Stagebecame the band’s second #1 album. Its famous single, “Amanda” topped both the Hot 100 (pop) and Billboard rock charts that same year. Another single from the album “We’re Ready,” went to #9 and #2 on both pop and rock charts, respectively.

Later career

In 1990, lead singer Brad Delp left the band (and others had quit previously), leaving Scholz the only remaining original member. Scholz spent another eight years before releasing Boston’s fourth album Walk On in 1994. Despite the album debuting at #7 on the Billboard 200, it gained a “mere” platinum status.

It took another eight years for Scholz and Boston to come up with another effort. In 2002, Scholz focused on the Internet to release his singles on an online music store. His ploy worked as the singles were one of the most sought-after, leading to the talk of an impending album release. That album was to become Corporate America, which was more politically-tinged.

Early in 2007 Brad Delp passed away. The cause of death was later ruled as suicide.

Boston’s current lineup consists of Scholz, with newer and more recent members Gary Pihl, Curly Smith, Kimberley Dahme, Jeff Neal, Tommy DeCarlo, David Victor and Tracy Ferrie. Boston came out with their latest album Life, Love & Hope in December 2013; it debuted at #37 on the Billboard 200.

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