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Boston
Epic 34188
Released: August 1976
Chart Peak: #3
Weeks Charted: 101
Certified 9x Platinum: 10/30/86

Fran SheehanSib HashianBarry GoudreauBrad DelpTom ScholzBoston is a five-man band that embodies the finest influences of English heavy-metal and progressive rock as no other American band has ever done. The group's affinity for heavy rock & roll provides a sense of dynamics that coheres magnetically with sophisticated progressive structures. "Foreplay/Long Time," for instance, is a perfect marriage of Led Zeppelin and Yes that plays musical chairs with electric and acoustic sounds. But that's merely a point of reference -- Boston surfaces from the melting pot as a refreshingly original band.

Lead singer Bradley Delp's muscular vocals are powerful and graceful. He teams with guitarist Tom Scholz, who coproduced and wrote six of the album's eight songs, in a relationship that's the key to the group's striking personality. If Boston is as exciting to see as it is to hear, Aerosmith will soon have company at the top.

- Kris Nicholson, Rolling Stone, 10-7-76.

Bonus Reviews!

This highly touted New England group more than lives up to its billing as being able to rock in heaviest metal style while remaining warm and fluid. The uniqueness would appear to emanate from Tom Scholz, an MIT mechanical engineer in product development for Polaroid who played a mean local guitar in bar bands by night. Scholz was chief engineer and co-producer of this album, which grew at least partially from some phenomenal demo tapes he made in his own home studio. Lead singer Brad DeIp and his many overdubs vocalize with a lot more feeling and beauty than the often perfunctory singing that can be found in even big-name hard rock groups. Scholz and Delp individually wrote all the songs on the album too, again with much more melody and imagination than one usually expects to find on a heavy metal outing. An unusually auspicious debut in an era of particularly high standards for new rock groups. Best cuts: "More Than A Feeling," "Let Me Take You Home Tonight," "Smokin'."

- Billboard, 1976.

Boston - Boston
Original album advertising art.
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The album that virtually defined '70s FM rock sold over six million copies and featured the smash hits "More than a Feeling," "Peace of Mind," and "Let Me Take You Home Tonight." * * * *

- Donna DiChario, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

The Tom Scholz formula sounds freshest on Boston's debut. Bouncy, slick tracks such as "More Than a Feeling" and "Peace of Mind" defined new parameters for rock during the 70s, with soaring vocals, searing guitars and trite lyrics. * * *

- Eric Deggans, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.

It was more than a feeling -- the nova that was Boston sold over 16 million copies of its blockbuster debut and still reverberates through R&R's celestial sky. Oh-so-'70s, but oh-so-listenable, Tom Scholz's basement creation revealed his home-studio wizardry, unleashing super anthems and a whole new spectrum of incredible sounds, containing all the elements that make classic rock classic: from the first note, it brings out the air guitar. * * * *

- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.

Boston was one of the few "corporate rock" albums to contain the germ of something more than the usual bland, edgeless music produced by the group's peers at the time.

The brainchild of Tom Scholz, who recorded countless demos in a home-built basement studio, including six that led to eight tracks on the album, Boston's eponymous debut captured millions of US and UK radio listeners with a blend of melodic, well-crafted AOR, spine-tingling harmonies with intelligent instrumentation. It quickly became the largest selling debut album of all time and the best-selling debut album by a group. The band went from being virtually unknown to playing sold-out arena shows all over the country.

The record's opening track, "More Than A Feeling," was an immediate success on US radio and the UK, reaching Numbers Five and 22 respectively. There are thoughtful songs in here too, which while not fitting the "ballad" blueprint move in that direction. Noteworthy are "Hitch A Ride" and the album's closer, "Let Me Take You Home Tonight."

Brad Delp's incredibly sopranic vocals and Tom Scholz's fantastic guitar work are both Boston trademarks. This album showcases both of those talents admirably.

Creem Magazine voted the album's cover one of the top ten Album Covers Of The Year in 1977.

As of 2004, Boston was the #4 best-selling album of the 70s.

- Hamish Champ, The 100 Best-Selling Albums of the 70s, 2004.

After the celebration of the Bicentennial in the United States, engineer-turned-guitarist Donald "Tom" Scholz and his bandmates unleashed soft rock's ultimate Christmas present in December 1976.

Scholz, recording demos since 1970, borrowed Aerosmith's equipment to cut an album in November 1975. He recorded at studios across Los Angeles, to conform to union regulations requiring approved engineers, yet only one of those tracks made the album. For the rest, Scholz slaved over a hot console at home while his bandmates indulged in Californian excess (hence drummer Sib Hashian's herbal surname).

The set was Scholz's take on the Cream/Zeppelin template and boasts melodic rockers, flashing guitars, powerhouse rhythms, and sweet cascading vocals by Brad Delp. There was not a synth in sight, yet "Foreplay" is as space age as the UFO-inspired sleeve. "There was a rumor that I wrote the entire first album with a computer program," recalled Scholz. "Smokin'" rocks like a juggernaut, while the boisterous "Rock and Roll Band" and engaging "Let Me Take You Home Tonight" are outstanding slices of pristine rock.




Further reading on
Super Seventies RockSite!:

Album Review:
Don't Look Back

Boston Lyrics

Boston Videos

Then there is the definitive anthem "More Than A Feeling." Alternately lilting and loud, it sounds like a blueprint for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" -- Nirvana even took to vamping it when they played "Teen Spirit" live. The song's enduring popularity helped make Boston a multi-platinum monster. Clocking up its 17 millionth sale in 2003, this album cannot be stopped.

- Tim Jones, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, 2005.

"More than a Feeling" is more than the prototypical three-chord guilty pleasure sing-along of the '70s. Beneath its screaming-bullet guitars and correspondingly shrill vocals is a tale of obsession: One man's pursuit of a particular guitar sound he hadn't heard anywhere else.

The backstory: Guitarist Tom Scholz, a mechanical engineering graduate of MIT with a day job at Polaroid, literally spent years in his basement exploring novel ways to amplify and record the guitar. His research yielded an array of different techniques -- among them a way to capture the sound of fingers striking the strings of an acoustic guitar (heavily processed acoustic guitar is a secret weapon of this album) along with special effects that give ordinary chords an almost palpable texture. He also went a bit nutty with a homemade multitracking rig, painstakingly stacking individual riffs and counterlines into massive guitar symphonies.

Though the album is a showcase for Scholz's unorthodox sonics, there is, amazingly, almost no guitar wanking on here: On every track, this semi-mad scientist uses a different set of textures and tricks to support Brad Delp's multitracked vocals. The epic stomp "Long Time" features howling whammy-bar sustained notes as a near-constant backdrop, while "Peace of Mind" has a grittier, less airbrushed attack. With its rare balance of gee-whiz sounds and reliable hookcraft, Boston remained the top-selling debut of the rock era until Whitney Houston's self-titled release in 1985. Its high-gloss guitars were copied by scores of bands, and so were its riffs: Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is a natty confluence of "More than a Feeling" and "Louie, Louie." Scholz took more than two years to follow up the hit (the uneven Don't Look Back, 1978), then eight years to release album number three, which came out in 1986. Vexed by lawsuits, personnel changes, and Scholz's perfectionism, Boston never reached anywhere near this level of inspiration again.

- Tom Moon, 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die, 2008.

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