It’s difficult to think of another rock band in Bay State history that went from “Who are those guys?” to superstar status so quickly. The band Boston was the brainchild of Tom Scholz, the MIT engineering graduate who basically created the group’s phenomenally successful 1976 eponymous debut album (still one of the best-selling debuts discs of all time, the band was signed to Epic by a&r man Lennie Petze, formerly of the Rondels) in his basement studio. That record, fueled by the twin engines of Scholz’s uniquely big, clean and lush guitar sound and vocalist Brad Delp’s instantly recognizable vocals, catapulted the group to superstar status. Boston featured three Top Ten singles — “More Than a Feeling,” “Peace of Mind” and “Long Time,” — and has sold nearly 17 million copies, cementing its status both in rock lovers’ hearts and classic rock radio playlists.
The group released its chart-topping sophomore disc Don’t Look Back in August 1978, a record that continued to play to Scholz and Delp’s strengths. Known as a studio perfectionist, Scholz didn’t complete work on Third Stage until 1986 when the band begun to fracture and its fortunes were marked by a series of starts and stops with sporadic tours and recordings while the prickly Scholz fought with former band members and every record label he’s recorded with.
The band’s swan song, 2002’s Corporate America, found Scholz and Delp working together again, but any hopes for the band’s return to former glories were dashed in 2007 when Delp was found dead in his New Hampshire home at the age of 55. Scholz, never fond of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, has recently turned his efforts to philanthropy, but Boston’s sui generis sound remains: a new generation of eager fans have been introduced to the band through several of their songs’ inclusion in the Rock Band video game series.
(by Dean Johnson and Stephen Haag)