Boston is an American rock band from Boston, Massachusetts that achieved its most notable successes during the 1970s and 1980s. Centered on guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter, and producer Tom Scholz, the band is a staple of classic rock radio playlists. Boston's best-known works include the songs "More Than a Feeling", "Peace of Mind", "Foreplay/Long Time", "Rock and Roll Band", "Smokin'", "Don't Look Back" and "Amanda". They have sold over 50 million albums worldwide, including 31 million albums in the United States.
Tom Scholz first started writing music in 1969 while he was attending MIT, where he wrote an instrumental, entitled "Foreplay". While attending MIT, Scholz joined the band "Freehold," where he met guitarist, Barry Goudreau and drummer, Jim Masdea, who would later become members of Boston.
After graduation with a master's degree in mechanical engineering, Scholz worked for Polaroid, where he used his salary to buy a recording studio in his basement, and to finance demo tapes recorded in professional recording studios. These early demo tapes were recorded with Jim Masdea on drums, and Scholz on guitar. The demo tapes were sent to record companies, but received consistent rejections. However while recording demo tapes, Scholz met singer Brad Delp, and together they formed the band Mother's Milk with Groudreau and Masdea in 1973. The band quickly disbanded, but Scholz worked Masdea and Delp to produce six demos. Scholz recorded all the tracks on the demos, except for the drums, and used self-designed pedals to create the desired guitar sound.The trio worked for five years to get a record contract.
Upon signing with Epic Records in 1975, the management company insisted that Jim Masdea be replaced. Scholz however insisted that Masdea be included in some way in the future record. Because Scholz recorded most of the tracks on the newer demos, playing live shows that resembled the sound on these demos was impossible without a second guitarist. The band added Goudreau as a second guitarist, Fran Sheehan on bass, and later Sib Hashian on drums.
In addition to the firing of Masdea, the record label also insisted that Scholz re-record the demo tapes in a professional studio. However, Scholz wanted the record to be recorded in his basement studio, so that he could work at his own pace. Upon request of Tom Scholz, Masdea played drums on the track "Rock and Roll Band," and the instrumentation was recorded in Scholtz's studio. The multitrack tapes were then brought to Los Angeles, where Brad Delp added vocals and the album was mixed by John Boylan. It was then where the band was officially named "Boston," by suggestion of Boylan and engineer Warren Dewey.
Innovations And Styles
Guitarist and primary song writer Tom Scholz' blend of musical styles, ranging from classical to 1960s English pop, has resulted in a unique sound, most consistently realized on the first two albums (Boston and Don't Look Back). This sound is characterized by multiple lead and blended harmonies guitar work (usually harmonized in thirds), often alternating between and then mixing electric and acoustic guitars. Scholz and Brian May are well regarded for the development of complex, multi-tracked guitar harmonies. Another contributing factor is the use of handmade, high tech equipment, such as the Rockman, used by artists such as Journey guitarist Neal Schon, the band ZZ Top, and Ted Nugent. Def Leppard's album Hysteria was created using only Rockman technology. Scholz' production style combines deep, aggressive, comparatively short guitar riffing and nearly ethereal, generally longer note vocal harmonies. A heavier, lower and darker overall approach came in the next two albums (Third Stage and Walk On). The original track, "Higher Power," on the Greatest Hits album exhibits a near Germanic, almost techno influence with its sequencer-sounding keyboards, a sound most fully realized on Corporate America's title track.
Singer Brad Delp, who was strongly influenced by the Beatles, is also credited for helping to create Boston's sound with his signature vocal sound, one that associates him with Boston as closely as Freddie Mercury is with Queen, Mick Jagger with The Rolling Stones, Steve Perry with Journey, Roger Daltrey with The Who, Richard Sinclair with Hatfield & the North, Elliot Lurie with Looking Glass, Dennis DeYoung with Styx, Andy Fairweather-Low with Amen Corner, and Steve Walsh with Kansas - all fellow classic rock bands.
Boston's albums are played on heavy rotation on Classic rock radio stations, with an emphasis on the earlier works.