Boston
lyrics
Don't Look Back
Third Stage
Walk On
Greatest Hits
Corporate America
Life, Love & Hope
Boston - 1976

How to Make Extra Money Working at Home in Your Own Basement...
By Tom Scholz

Sitting on a folding metal chair in a basement in 1976, I was tweaking the mix of a demo that Brad Delp, Jim Masdea and I had recorded in my home-brew studio. The possibility that anyone would be listening to this song, "More Than A Feeling," thirty years into the future was incomprehensible. In fact, the thought of keeping someone's interest for thirty minutes was a long shot!

After years of knocking on doors with tapes in hand, I had heard "not interested" expressed in every possible combination of words from the English language. Initially, I made these demo tapes in frighteningly expensive studios that cost more per hour than I could save in a week at my day job. Simultaneously there were numerous attempts to play the songs live in hopes of being "discovered." My friends Barry Goudreau and Jim Masdea played lead guitar and drums respectively, and after a long and painful search, Brad Delp finally saved the day as vocalist.

But somehow the music in my mind was not making it onto the demo tapes, and the only thing discovered playing live was that no one was really listening.

So using technology I acquired working at Polaroid, I built a crude multitrack tape machine and sequestered myself in my basement. There I could experiment alone, playing all the instruments myself one track at a time until I was satisfied with the result. The only exception was the drumming, which was all done by Jim since I only played air drums at the time.

Something magical happened when Jim 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 the bass, organ and guitar parts 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.

After creating what I thought was a symphony of rock with the instruments, it was Brad's turn with the tape. Methodically he would overdub a one-man-vocal-orchestra that relegated my first chair musical efforts to the second row! Listening from the back seat, Brad's voice clearly brought the music to life.

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. Boston's perceived "instant" stardom obscured six years of abject failure, and irritated critics whose customary involvement was rendered moot. Simultaneously the style was abducted and imitated by marketing executives to mass produce what became known as radio-friendly "corporate rock."

Guilty only of stumbling onto the secret formula of pop music success while performing musical experiments in the basement, we would eventually be smeared with that same label. It was ironically vindicating when I was sued shortly after for being creatively "uncooperative" with the corporation. Such a rebel.

Nothing about Boston was done by the book. The strangest twist was caused by the label's refusal to allow the original six-song demo to be used as the actual album; the material had to be recorded over again in a "professional" studio exactly the same way!

But I had completely adapted to playing and engineering alone in my basement; I knew I couldn't duplicate those performances without the solitude which had become both a blessing and a curse.

In a gutsy move, Epic producer John Boylan made me an offer: I record the multitrack masters in my basement myself, while he decoys the company recording a couple of Brad's songs in L.A. with Barry, Sib and Fran. Then I join him in L.A. for vocal overdubs and mixing. Oh, and we split the producer's royalty! You mean I even get paid? Deal.

So after laying down Sib and Jim's drum tracks, I settled in for the lengthy ordeal of reproducing a ban's worth of bass, guitar and organ performances on the new, nearly identical, recording. Barry joined me to play the awesome lead guitar on "Long Time," and Fran to play the bass track for "Foreplay." In L.A., Brad's "Let Me Take You Home Tonight" was recorded in its entirety, and its the only song to embody performances of all five musicians that eventually ended up on stage for the first ever "Boston" concert in 1976.

What you hear on this CD is the final result of that saga, meticulously remastered thirty years later. No synthesizers used.



Better Music Through Science
Or
The Biggest Basement Tapes Ever Made
A Fan's Notes by David Wild

It's been such a long time since 1976, but even all these years later, it is significantly more than a feeling that Boston remains a breathtaking rock classic. The album you have just purchased - or perhaps re-purchased - is one of the more stunningly accomplished and enduring debuts in recorded rock history, as well as the single most commercially successful debut album from any band, period. More than seventeen million satisfied customers could have been wrong, but in this case, they weren't. Now that three decades have passed since Boston first touched down in such high and profitable style, it's worth remembering the open secret behind all the commercial success. Boston was - and somehow still is - a thoroughly mind-blowing piece of work.

As one of the original impressionable teenagers whose young mind this album thoroughly blew - with the help of a pair of totally boss Koss headphones, a blessed bar mitzvah gift - I can personally attest to the fact that Boston arrived like some dazzling sonic equivalent of the space age mothership on it's front cover. Right from those gorgeous, haunting opening chords of "More Than a Feeling" straight through to the spirited ending of "Let Me Take You Home Tonight," Boston was a spectacular audio revelation. For those of us there to greet Boston's big landing, it was as if some more advanced civilization was bringing us gifts of prodigious riffs and melt-in-your-mouth melodies. Unlike, say, War of the Worlds, Boston's song cycle represented an altogether pleasant musical invasion - a blissed-out blast of sonic force that for many defined the aural spirit of '76 - 1976, that is. Full of grand romance and harmonic convergence, Boston is glorious music for coming of age, falling in love for the first time or just playing air guitar behind closed bedroom doors until the opportunities of adulthood knocked.

History suggests that Boston was first and foremost a rock and roll dream come true for an unlikely but wildly talented rock genius - namely and M.I.T.-educated guitar hero name Tom Scholz. Having earned a Masters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Scholz went on to get a job dreaming up new projects at Polaroid. Yet ultimately Scholz spent much of his time dreaming up something else entirely - a brilliant rock band with the melodic grace and songcraft of the Beatles.

The recording history of Boston's debut is complicated and, for a long time, rather mysterious. Despite Scholz's lyrics to "Rock and Roll Band" - a charming bit of group self-mythology which suggested Boston was your garden variety bar band situation - it now appears that recording-wise, the band was in some ways more of a two-man show, combining the musical ingenuity of Tom Scholz, the group's main songwriter, and the vocal gifts of Brad Delp, Boston's solitary singer.

"From the beginning, being a garage band would have been such a step for us - we hadn't even made it that far," Scholz adds. "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."

The recording of Boston even featured a little daring deception - like having the rest of the band in Los Angeles recording "Let Me Take You Home Tonight" (written by Brad Delp) while Scholz secretly tinkered away on the tapes back in his Boston bunker.

A few words about the man singing to you here: In all the discussion of Scholz's enigmatic genius as a guitar player, songwriter and producer over the years, it's easy to forget that it was Brad Delp who gave the Boston sound a tremendous amount of heart and soul, singing all vocals - lead, harmony, backup - on the first three Boston albums. Delp effectively split the difference between Paul Rodgers of Free and Bad Company fame and Carl Wilson from the Beach Boys. While Scholz was brainstorming for Polaroid, Delp had been punching the clock at a factory making heating coils for Mr. Coffee machines. For whatever reasons, these two balanced each other perfectly, with Delp grounding Scholz's orchestral guitar-driven flights of fancy into something fantastic yet earthy.

Thirty years later, there continue to be a million reasons to love Boston - for instance, the utter majesty of Barry Goudreau's lead work on "Long Time," the lyrical, almost classical beauty of the instrumental "Foreplay," the vaguely ZZ Top-ish boogie beginning of "Smokin,'" the almost Byrdsy jangle of "Hitch a Ride" and the power-poppy pleasures of "Something About You." The individual parts are all wonderful, but do yourself a favor and try and listen to Boston all in one sitting for maximum impact.

It's ironic to recall that the lyrics to "More Than a Feeling" are about the power an old song can have in your life. Thirty years on, the songs on Boston are now golden oldies yet somehow they still retain a little shock of the new.

***

Like politics, music history makes strange bedfellows.

Boston has not generally been thought of a forefather of the grunge movement - indeed Boston's spick-and-span sound now seems anything but grungy. But I am here to report that the grunge revolution might not have happened the way it did without a little unintentional help from Boston.

It's early 1991, and by now I'm some reasonable facsimile of a grown-up writing for Rolling Stone. Having just moved to Los Angeles, I got to lunch with Geffen Records A and R man Gary Gersh. When we get back to his office on the Sunset Strip, he plays me some new songs from artists with whom he's been working. He turns on an intense, utterly inspired song from some Seattle band called Nirvana. He says the title is "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Later Gary will tell me that I was one of the first people ever to suggest that Nirvana had, against long odds at the time, come up with a massive hit song. For a time, I falsely believe that I am a visionary. Then one day I happened to slipBostonon my car stereo. Suddenly I had more than a feeling Kurt Cobain had heard Boston too. As Cobain would later acknowledge, he was trying to write the ultimate pop song at the time. The one he ultimately wrote - the masterpiece that brought grunge to the masses - did all that with a central riff that had what might be termed a decidedly strong Boston accent. Take another listen to "More Than A Feeling." Now put on "Smells Like Teen Spirit." You can't miss it.

"I have heard that from a gazillion different people, but I've heard a million worse Boston swipes over the years," Scholz himself says about the comparison/ "The Nirvana song is such a completely different style that it went right by me - even though I knew the song and really liked it. I think of it as a grand compliment that people even say that."

The point here is not that Boston was the first great grunge band or that Nirvana did anything remotely wrong. Hell, they both were borrowing a little from no less a rock standard than "Louie, Louie." In the end, it's all good - or in this case, it's all great. No, my real point is that the best popular music never really leaves us. Instead, it continues to reverberate in unexpected and sometimes magnificent ways. The music on Boston was of its time, a snapshot of teen spirit as it felt in the Seventies. Yet like all great albums, Boston is now timeless and eternal. That, ladies and gentlemen, is more than a feeling - that is a fact.

***

Tom Scholz has often been described as the genius behind Boston, but even the man himself doesn't claim to fully understand either the highs or lows of the Boston experience - why it clearly endures and why it is sometimes dismissed.

"See I was working at Polaroid and almost thirty when things started happening," Scholz says now. "I never really expected to be in the music business and be a professional musician. So why the music has endured all these years later, I don't really know. At the same time, I'm mystified by some of the resentment of the music from the other side. I don't think we'll ever be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because we're seen as these corporate rockers. The funny thing is I thought I was too experimental to be successful - which was how I made myself feel better for being a total failure for a number of years there. In the end, I can't explain either of those extremes. So I'm just grateful the music means so much to so many. The best thing is getting letters from people who have genuinely been helped in some way by this music - whether it helped them get through tough times, or inspired them to stop taking something, or go back to school or make some sort of positive life changes. That type of success means a lot more to me than anything else. It goes beyond heartwarming - it actually makes all the trouble and all the effort more than worthwhile.



SONGS AND PERFORMERS:

lead vocals: Brad Delp, all singing parts (no vari-speed!)
harmony vocals: Brad Delp, all singing parts

...and the mere mortals:
1. MORE THAN A FEELING (Tom Scholz)
drums: Sib Hashian
lead guitars: Tom Scholz
rhythm guitars: Tom Scholz, electric and acoustic
bass guitar: Tom Scholz

2. PEACE OF MIND (Tom Scholz)
drums: Sib Hashian
lead guitars: Tom Scholz
rhythm guitars: Tom Scholz, electric and acoustic
bass guitar: Tom Scholz

3. FOREPLAY (Tom Scholz)
drums: Sib Hashian
organ: Tom Scholz
clavinet: Tom Scholz
lead guitars: Tom Scholz incl. top secret space pedal effects
rhythm guitars: Barry Goudreau
bass guitar: Fran Sheehan

LONG TIME (Tom Scholz)
drums: Sib Hashian
lead guitars: Barry Goudreau, monster guitar
rhythm guitars: Barry Goudreau, electric
Tom Scholz, acoustic
organ:Tom Scholz
clavinet: Tom Scholz
bass guitar: Tom Scholz

4. ROCK and ROLL BAND (Tom Scholz)
drums: Jim Masdea
lead guitar: Tom Scholz
rhythm guitar: Tom Scholz
clavinet: Tom Scholz
bass guitar: Tom Scholz

5. SMOKIN' (Tom Scholz and Brad Delp)
drums: Sib Hashian
guitars: Tom Scholz
organ: Tom Scholz
clavinet: Tom Scholz
bass guitar: Tom Scholz

6. HITCH A RIDE (Tom Scholz)
drums: Sib Hashian
lead guitars: Tom Scholz
rhythm guitars: Tom Scholz, electric and acoustic
organ: Tom Scholz
bass guitar: Tom Scholz

7. SOMETHING ABOUT YOU (Tom Scholz)
drums: Sib Hashian
lead guitars: Tom Scholz
rhythm guitars: Tom Scholz
bass guitar: Tom Scholz

8. LET ME TAKE YOU HOME TONIGHT (Brad Delp)
drums: Sib Hashian
lead guitars: Barry Goudreau
rhythm guitars: Barry Goudreau, electric. Brad Delp, acoustic
organ: Tom Scholz
bass guitar: Fran Sheehan



Arranged by Tom Scholz and Brad Delp with help from Jim Masdea

Produced by John Boylan and Tom Scholz
Engineered by Tom Scholz and Warren Dewey
Assisted by Deni King, Bruce Hensel and Doug Ryder
A Great Eastern Gramaphone Production

Recorded at:
Foxglove Studios, Watertown, MA (Winter '75)
Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA (Spring '76)
The Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA (Spring '76)
Mixed at: Westlake Audio, Los Angeles, CA
Assisted by Steve Hodge

Remastered (2006) by Tom Scholz, Bill Ryan and Toby Mountain at Northeastern Digital, Southborough, MA
Hideaway Studio II
Analog to Digital transfer by Tom "Curly" Ruff

Cover Illustration: Roger Huyssen
Photography: Ron Pownall
Original back cover band photo: Jeff Albertson

Discovered by: Charles McKenzie at RCA in 1975
Direction: Pure Management: Paul Ahern, Charles McKenzie (1976)
Management: azoffmusic management (2006)

Reissue Design: Joel Zimmerman
Art and Design Consultants: Kim Hart, Tom Scholz
Photo Editing: Gary Pihl

Special Thanks to Bill Ryan, Kim Hart, Gary Pihl, Toby Mountain and Tim Barrett for long hours on short notice, also to Jim Collins, Steve Simon, Maggie Lange, Cindy Scholz, and to Ron ans Steve from Epic Records (1976)

Extra special thanks to John Baruck at azoffmusic management

www.bandboston.com

Other titles available by Boston:
Don't Look Back (Remaster) | Third Stage | Walk On | Corporate America | Greatest Hits

What Are You Going to Listen to Next?
For a complete listing of titles available from Legacy Recordings, please visit us at:
www.legacyrecordings.com | www.sonybmg.com

Original liner notes:
If you're looking for something to tell you that the band in question is composed of nearly notable former members of various bands, or how many jam sessions the drummer sat in on with rock superstars who are now dead or disabled, or retired, forget it. Unless the names Mother's Milk, Middle Earth, or the Revolting Tunes Revue ring any particular bells, where the people who make up this band called Boston came from is irrelevant to who and where they are now.

Listen to the record!

As to how the band came together, we'll let lead signer Bradley Delp tell the story: "Fran knew Barry, and I knew Fran, and Fran had played with Sib, and Sib had played with Tom, and Tom knew me, but Fran didn't know that I knew that he knew Barry to, so what happened was..."

Listen to the record!

If you still need more information, try this. Boston is masterminded by a guitarist named Tom Scholz. An MIT graduate with a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering, Tom was living a split existence at the time his concept for Boston began to fall together. By day, he was a highly-touted member of a product design wing of a major Massachusetts-based corporation, helping to develop all sorts of media machinery he's not supposed to talk about. By night he was a member of any one of a handful of constantly shifting bands on the North Shore club circuit in Boston. Considering the day gig, when he bought 12-track recording equipment and began experimenting with basement tapes, mastering the machinery at his disposal posed no great problem. With these extraordinary homemade demo tapes, the band was soon better known to record company executives in L.A. and New York than it was to taste-mongers in its own hometown.

Listen to the record!

If you insist on having it further spelled out for you, consider this, what distinguishes Boston's music is although by it's definition heavy rock and roll, it evidences a greater concern for melodic and harmonic flow than practically any band you can think of working the same general territory. Also, consider the use of technology as an instrument, all the more remarkable because this is a first album. Of the tendency for technology to take over in the hands of lesser practitioners, Tom Scholz says, "It depends completely on the person using it. People have already fallen prey to that, in my opinion, with items that they just go out and buy to get a certain sound without really understanding where that sound comes from and how to apply it." Those who question how precise technology of the group's record will translate to a live environment will discover that, with the aid of some special sound innovations developed for performance by Scholz, the Boston concert will easily be a comparable experience to the Boston album. That's a lot to look forward to, but you know where to start.

Listen to the record!


BOSTON is:

TOM SCHOLZ - lead and rhythm guitars, acoustic guitar, special effects guitar, bass, organ, clavinet, and percussion

BRAD DELP - lead and harmony vocals, acoustic 12-string guitar, rhythm guitar and percussion

BARRY GOUDREAU - lead and rhythm guitars

FRAN SHEEHAN - bass

SIB HASHIAN - drums and percussion

Jim Masdea plays drums on "Rock and Roll Band"

Recorded at:

Foxglove Studios, Watertown, Mass. (Winter '75)
Capitol Studios, Hollywood, Cal. (Spring '76)
The Record Plant, Los Angeles, Cal. (Spring '76)

Engineered by Tom Scholz and Warren Dewey

Assisted by Deni King, Bruce Hensel and Doug Ryder

Mixed at: Westlake Audio, Los Angeles, Cal.

Assisted by Steve Hodge

Mastered by Wally Traugott at Capitol Records

Direction - Pure Management: Paul Ahern...Charles McKensie

Cover illustration: Roger Huyssen
Design: Paula Scher
Back cover photo: Jeff Albertson

Special thanks to Ron, Steve, Lennie, Jim, and Sam.
Extra special thanks to Brian Rohan and Cindy.
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