November 22, 2021 4 min read
Have you heard it? Of Course! Overplayed? Maybe? A masterpiece of rock? You bet your behind! No matter where you are in the country right now… driving in your car, on the treadmill at the gym, shopping for groceries or taking your dog to the vet, I promise you someone, somewhere, is hearing one of these songs right now. A Debut album on which all others are challenged….this week’s Nick’s Pick is 1976’s self titled debut by Boston!
Born as the brain child of guitarist/producer/composer Tom Scholz, most of the Boston album was written and recorded in the basement of Scholz’s apartment. Scholz, having written most of these songs in 1972 and 1973, Continuined to fine tune the tracks while the band worked the bar scene as “Mother’s Milk”. Scholz recorded a demo tape which he sent to every record label under the sun. All of the labels turned him down. Eventually the demo tape made it to the hands of a record label executive who contacted a concert promoter in California, it was he who connected the dots to Epic records exclaiming “You’ve gotta hear this!” After performing a private label showcase in Aerosmith’s rehearsal space, the band were finally signed to Epic, assigned a producer named John Boylan and were instructed to head to California for the recording of their debut album. Scholz, worried about relinquishing control of what was now his pet project for years struck a deal with Boylan, he would run interference with the Record label, making them believe the band were working in LA, while Scholz re-recorded an exact replica of the original demo tape in his basement in Massachusetts. Pretty incredible! Outside of the label ruse Boylan assisted in, his biggest contribution was suggesting the band change their name to “Boston”.
The entire album reads as a “greatest hits”! The opening track “More than a Feeling” with it’s iconic acoustic intro (a go-to for an acoustic demo here in the store) and beautiful melody could have made this record a classic on it’s own. “Peace of Mind” with it’s dueling guitar licks, melodic hooks, and lyrics about the cooperate ladder (Scholz worked at Polaroid cameras throughout the entire process of the writing and recording of the album) Showcases the hard rock side of the band. The progressive tour-de force of “Foreplay/Long Time” make for an eclectic and exciting closing of side 1. Scholz’s production skills shine especially bright on “Foreplay/Long Time” with tons of crazy panning effects as well as layered guitar tracks that define what is known as a “Wall of guitars”.
Side 2 kicks off with “Rock & Roll Band”. Although it’s hard to pick 1 track, This is my favorite song on the album. There is not a musician, no matter what kind of music they play, that doesn’t identify with the lyrics of this song. When you’re young, hungry and have a band, it’s the most important thing to you and I think this song in general captures that vibe so well. “Smokin’” is up next, the spotlight of this song without question goes to Scholz’s INCREDIBLE organ skills. The laid back and probably least appreciated track “Hitch a Ride” is up next. Have to point out the incredible tone of the acoustic guitar on this track plus the vocal performance by Brad Delp (More on him in just a second). “Something About You” is my favorite “Deep Track” off of this record if there is one. I love the guitar solo! In Fact, the entire album is filled with guitar solos so melodic that they can be sang on their own. Ask any guitar player, this is not an easy feat! Also, this might be the best “Chorus” on the album. The record closes with “Let Me Take You Home Tonight” a slow paced laid back track that shifts into a full on rock explosion. If you’re behind the wheel while jamming this one you will end up far over the speed limit by the end! Another incredible melody on this song as well.
I’ve talked a lot about the mastery of Tom Scholz as the main writer, producer, performer and engineer on this record BUT this record would not be what it is without the INCREDIBLE vocal prowess of the late Brad Delp. In my opinion he’s one of the greatest rock singers to ever step in front of a mic. The control and range showcased on this entire album by Delp puts him on the Mount Rushmore of classic rock. People talk about Steve Perry of Journey as the best of this “AOR” genre, I love Steve Perry but Delp in my opinion is even better. Do yourself a favor and check out some of the isolated vocal tracks of these songs on YouTube and you’ll be blown away just how much of what is loved about these songs are built on Delp’s vocal ability. Listen closely to the vocal lead up to the solo in “More than a Feeling” as Delp doubles his original vocal track with a higher harmony on top of a note that is already in the stratosphere!
Upon release, “Boston” sold 500,000 copies within 2 months of being released, 2 months after that it had sold 2 million copies making it the fastest selling debut in Rock history! To date the album has sold over 17 million copies worldwide! In almost every record collection we purchase you will find a copy of “Boston”, It’s staying power is unmatched. From radio play to references in “South Park” 45 years after its original release people of all ages continue to be moved by the songs of this album and it shows no signs of slowing down. We sell multiple copies of this record in various formats every week! If you somehow haven’t heard it, grab a copy immediately! if you have heard it go back and listen again, I’ve heard all of these songs probably 10,000 times yet every time any of these hit the airwaves… I never change the channel.
November 22, 2021 5 min readRead More
November 22, 2021 5 min readRead More
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