History of Rock - Boston

Essay by amismoses73College, UndergraduateA+, April 2009

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I. IntroductionBoston was a very successful arena rock group from the late 70’s and early 80’s. Formed in 1971 in Boston, Massachusetts, they were the owners of the biggest selling debut album in Rock and Roll history. Primarily due to the genius of Tom Scholz, an engineering graduate from MIT, Boston achieved fame with hits like, “More than a Feeling,” “Peace of Mind,” “Don’t Look Back,” and many others. Boston was centered around guitarist, songwriter, and producer Tom Scholz. The rest of the successful the band consisted of guitarist, Barry Goudreau, vocalist Brad Delp, bassist Fran Sheenhan, and drummer John Hashian. The band would go on to create two number three albums and one number one album on the Billboard top 100 list. To the present day, Sholz and Delp would be the only remaining members. Boston is a band well overdue for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

II. BiographyTom Scholz was born in Toledo, OH on March 10, 1947 (Ankeny,internet). He was a tremendous rock and roll fan throughout his teenage years. While earning his master’s degree in engineering at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, he began to write his own songs. Upon graduation, he took a job at Polaroid and shortly joined up with a local band led by guitarist Barry Goudreau. Goudreau’s band now with Scholz began to record some of the songs Scholz had written. Although Scholz was accepted to Goudreau’s band as a Keyboardist, he quickly learned to play the guitar which in effect gave him the ability to take full control of the band. The first recordings were rejected by all of the record labels and were not very popular. Scholz was frustrated with the sound of the recordings. He set out to engineer his own recording studio to find a better sound for his band. With the new studio built, Sholz dubbed his band, “Boston.” Boston went back to the newly constructed studio and re-recorded some of Scholz’s music. Epic records heard their music and signed them to a record deal in 1975. In 1976 the release of Boston’s first self titled album, “Boston,” was a smash hit. It went immediately to the top of the charts with hits like, “More than a Feeling,” “Long Time,” and “Peace of Mind.” The debut album sold over 17 million copies and was one the biggest selling rock and roll debut albums in rock and roll history (Smith 208). With the immense success of the first album, it took Scholz over two years to release Boston’s next album. He was an extreme perfectionist, and the only reason for releasing the second album was from the intense pressure from Epic. The second album, “Don’t look back,” went to number one of the Billboard top 100. Even with the success of the second album, “Don’t Look Back,” was largely unsuccessful in the eyes of Scholz. He vowed to never release another album until he thought it was ready. Boston’s next album was not released until 1986, and the only remaining band members were Delp and Scholz. This album, called “Third Stage,” went to number three and recorded one number one hit. Some critics did not like the third album citing that the mature lyrics were lost within the adolescent audience. Since there had been such a long time between the albums, listeners were disappointed to hear Boston with the same sound. It took another eight years for Scholz to produce another album. He first targeted the internet and released a single on a music website in the summer of 2002. Results of the release showed that it was the number one download single from the site. With this information, Sholz released “Corporate America,” which still kept the same tone as the old Boston. This would be there last album for many years for Boston, with Scholz and Delp being the only remaining members of the band on the album.

III. Fitting the CriteriaAn induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is of great magnificence to the work of any musician. Artists such as Elvis, inducted in 1988, Johnny Cash, inducted in 1992, and the Beatles, inducted in 1988, grace the walls of the Hall of Fame (Talevski 267, 44, 73). To become eligible for the Hall of Fame, artists are reviewed by a nomination committee. Nominations are taken after 25 years have passed from the release of the artists or musicians first album. Ballots are sent to 1000 rock experts and are evaluated in depth. The performers that receive the highest amount of votes are then inducted. The Hall of Fame generally inducts five to seven members each year. Boston should be inducted into the Hall of Fame for many reasons. Most notably they hold the record for the biggest selling debut album in rock and roll history. Boston helped revive the waning popularity of rock when punk and disco were starting to take hold in America. Tom Scholz is regarded as a musical genius, and his blend of musical styles, ranging from classical to 60's English pop has resulted in a unique sound for this age. Brad Delp also is credited for contributing to Boston's sound with his strong, clear lead vocals. Boston helped define the so-called “corporate rock” sound of the late 1970’s (Smith 207). Although notorious perfectionism has led to long periods – as much as eight years – between albums, the group was an influential part in making “power pop” such a driving force in 1980’s rock (Smith 207-208). Boston’s first three albums went to number three, one, and three again respectively on Billboard’s top 100. Very few bands can boast that kind of success.

IV. ComparisonThe new inductees of 2007 featured a rock group called R.E.M. R.E.M. is a rock group that started in the Athens, Georgia where the University of Georgia is located. The band debuted in 1981 a few years after Boston debuted. Although R.E.M. had many top 100 albums, none of them reached as high as Boston’s did in their time. R.E.M. had many single hits, but Boston’s has had their own quality of singles that will forever be remembered. Like Boston, R.E.M. had multiple years off between albums which show both bands consistency through time. Yet with R.E.M.’s many accomplishments all of which Boston equally meets, it should be noted again about Boston’s importance of reviving rock in the early 80’s.

V. ConclusionI believe that Boston is an outstanding band. I can not drive anywhere listening to a rock and roll station and not hear the guitar rifts of “More than a Feeling,” “Long time,” “Peace of Mind,” and “Amanda.” I believe that it is even more credit to the band on how they started. With Tom Scholz creating their own studio from his knowledge and passion for engineering to their ability to release albums years and years apart and still top the Billboard charts only speaks volumes for the intangible musical gift. They are definitely deserving of this honor.

Works CitedTalevski, Nick. The Unofficial Encyclopedia of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Westport, Connecticut. Greenwood Press, 1998.

Smith, Chris. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Rock History: From Arenas to the Underground, 1974-1980. Greenwood Press. Vol. 4. Westport Connecticut. 2006.

Dodd, Phillip. Book of Rock. New York. Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2001.

Ankeny, Jason. “Loverboy.” All Media Guide. 2006.