Boston was one of those bands who are loved by many and you can’t say anything bad about them. However to me, I really enjoyed a few songs on each album and others not so much.
Boston – Boston
If you want to know the power the artist had, you need to know the story of Boston’s self-titled debut.
Produced by Tom Scholz, the band had received numerous rejection letters from major record labels in the early 1970s, and by 1975, a demo tape had fallen into the hands of CBS-owned Epic Records, who signed them.
Epic wanted the band to record in Los Angeles with a record producer, but Scholz was unwilling and wanted to record the album in his basement studio, so he hired another person to run interference with the label. Scholz tricked the label into thinking the band was recording on the West Coast, when in reality, the bulk of the album was being tracked solely by Scholz at his home.
Basically there was no compromise from Scholz on his vision.
And that vision came out in 1976 to platinum sales. Then again platinum is very misleading for back in those days, a platinum album was given on the backs of how many records got shipped not sold. Regardless it’s stood the test of time.
“More Than A Feeling” is a great song to play on the guitar. Even Kurt Cobain took the main riff and called it “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. But my favourite song is “Piece of Mind” because of the harmony lead breaks in the intro, during the solo and the outro.
Boston – Don’t Look Back
The follow up, released in 1978 on Epic Records and the beginning of the band’s legal fight with Epic.
As mentioned previously, Tom Scholz didn’t compromise on his vision. But this time around he claimed that Epic executives pushed him and the band into releasing the album before they felt it was ready.
How good is that melodic lead break during the Chorus of “Don’t Look Back”?
“A Man I’ll Never Be” has a similar lead break like “Don’t Look Back” just before the Chorus and “Party” sounds like they just turned up, plugged in, had a party and jammed.
Their next album, “Third Stage”, was not released for another eight years, by which time the band and record label had parted ways and were fighting a courtroom battle that Boston ultimately won.
It finally came out in 1986.
Like all of their previous albums, there are always a few songs which just grab me and make me press repeat.
“Amanda” has a vocal melody which hooks me and that harmony solo which mimics the vocal melody seals the deal.
“Were Ready” has got so many bits and pieces of 80’s song writing in a concise 4 plus minute song. There is no way you cant like.
Clean tone arpeggios. Check.
Harmony Solo check.
Pedal point riff. Check.
Big backing vocals. Check.
And yeah, I know that Boston did these things before, but in “We’re Ready” they got it all MTV ready. Even Vito Bratta must have been impressed because I swear he took some of the riff and called it “Little Fighter” for the intro.
“The Launch” makes me feel like I have won Gold at the Olympics. And then it morphs into “Cool The Engines” which is a throwback to their 70’s albums.
“Cantcha Say You Believe In Me/ Still in Love” has a pretty big arena rock chorus as it moves between a ballad and a rocker. But then it moves into the “Still In Love” section, with clean tone arpeggios and little lead licks. For a pop rock album, its pretty progressive in the songwriting department. And then “Still In Love” builds into a lead section which copies the “Cantcha Say You Believe In Me” chorus melody.
“Hollyann” is full of harmony leads and what not.
And after that, I’m not sure what happened with Boston. The only thing I do know is that it was years before the next release.