There have really been a lot of Music Milestones to raise a glass to in 2016 and for me personally a whole bunch of them came out in 1986 when I was a very active consumer and spending so much of my meager earnings at the local record store. This latest toast brings us back to 1976 where on this very day the debut album by the band Boston was released. It was very simply titled – “Boston”. Happy Fortieth to this absolutely classic release. Now I should stress that I didn’t purchase this one on the day of its release as I would have only been eleven years old at the time but as I sift through the memories I’d like to say that I had heard it from at least my own 13th year of life. “Boston” was an instant hit to my recollection and I used to listen to Rock radio stations like WPLJ and WNEW from an early age which meant the first singles from the record “More Than a Feeling” and “Foreplay/Longtime” had been in regular rotation on the airwaves for a couple of years by then. Once I was allowed to use money in the fashion that I best saw that I wanted to it would be one of the very first albums that I would purchase. The younger set has it so much easier with that kind of restriction I am thinking. As with other toasts, I am keeping this to personal recall more than the overall historical notes since you can find them all on the Wikipedia entry at the close. So now back to that.
Like most people, the very first tune I would be exposed to from “Boston” would be “More Than A Feeling” and what blew me away about this introduction was just how BIG it sounded as a song. Every note on the guitars and strike of the drums were crystal clear with vocals that would soar to the stratosphere at points. The song was quite frankly meant to be played at a louder volume than most other albums. I would soon learn that this would be needed for the rest of the LP as well. Tom Scholz was truly a master musical craftsman when it came down to this first offering and since I am also playing the album as I pen these notes it’s amazing to realize how it still stands up rather well in comparison to other albums of the day hitting their own similar anniversaries. Let’s go over the track listing on the debut shall we.
1. More Than A Feeling
2. Peace Of Mind
3. Foreplay/Long Time
4. Rock & Roll Band
6. Hitch A Ride
7. Something About You
8. Let Me Take You Home Tonight
As I glance over the tunes from beginning to end I can say that the only very favorite for me in an album of favorites has to be the first single with the second single running a close second. I find that whenever I play “Boston” to hear a solitary track that I begin at the start and never skip around until the whole thing has completed. It’s one of those albums for me (another one is Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”). I view this as one of the perfect albums in my collection and I am sure that a lot of you agree with me. While band founder Scholz wrote every song along with co-writing a couple with Delp the full personnel for the recording came care of Brad Delp (lead and harmony vocals, acoustic guitar), Tom Scholz (electric guitars, lead guitar, acoustic guitars, clavinet, organ, bass guitar, design consultant, remastering, liner notes, production, engineering) – whew that is a whole lot of responsibility, Barry Goudreau (rhythm guitars, lead guitars on “Foreplay/Long Time” and “Let Me Take You Home Tonight”), Fran Sheehan (bass guitar on “Foreplay” and “Let Me Take You Home Tonight”), Sib Hashian (drums) and Jim Masdea (drums on “Rock & Roll Band”). I also loved the spaceship on the cover. When I finally owned the album it made the Science Fiction fan in me smile quite a bit. That was done by Roger Huyssen.
Though I’ve been fortunate to attend a whole lot of shows over the years I never managed to catch Boston in concert and I always wanted to. Sadly, the music world would lose singer Brad Delp to suicide back in 2007 and now the group performs with a new singer and the occasional guest one. For a short stint, Stryper’s Michael Sweet handled the microphone for the them. I still have my original vinyl and now a CD as well, but some of the older school fans might still have a cassette or 8-track tape of this laying around so I wonder what your thoughts on this particular milestone is. Let me know in the comments section below and congratulations once more to Boston on a truly incredible album. Timeless even after four decades and that is something to brag about.