Another day, another vinyl. This time around, we take a closer look at one of the greatest albums of all time: Boston’s very first self-titled 1976 debut release, BOSTON. Dad, this one’s for you.
How can you say anything bad about an album that opens right up with a classic like, “More than a Feeling”? Let Tom Scholz whisk you away with his guitar, while Brad Delp gives you your first taste of one of the greatest lead vocalists in rock history. This song will give you every indication of what’s to follow, and you’ll further appreciate every song that comes your way because of it. Seriously, as someone who grew up in the 90s/00s, I think I was most shocked when I found out that this wasn’t a greatest hits album, and was instead Boston’s very first record. Talk about starting out strong.
As soon as the band finishes their first song, get ready for another hit: this time in the form of their hit single, “Peace of Mind”. Now, I understand about indecision…but this band seriously knew what they were doing when they pieced together this album. Every move is methodically and purposefully made, to the point where you almost forget you’re listening to an album. It’s easier to envision the members of Boston standing right in front of you and a sold out crowd. Just as you come off from the high that is “Peace of Mind”, the band gives you a minute to breathe, with a little intro called “Foreplay”. But soon after they woo you with their soft charm, they blow you away with, yes, another hit single, “Long Time”. Just sit back and appreciate how ridiculously talented each member of the band is. Scholz takes you on a guitar solo journey. Delp’s voice leads the way throughout, just so you don’t get lost. Barry Goudreau hammers away on the drums, and Fran Sheehan wails away on bass. By the time they band has finished, congratulations: you just finished side 1. Now get ready for side 2 to begin.
Flipping the record over, don’t expect anything less than what you’ve just been listening to. “Rock & Roll Band” is the first song they’ll blast your way. This song is an homage to the band’s past, present, and (in my opinion) their future. “We were just another band out of Boston”, screams Brad Delp as the rest of the band smashes it out of the park. The song places the setting and explains how the band got their start and hit it big. This being their first album, one can only assume the band had high hopes for their future records, and rightly so. As they wrap up “Rock & Roll Band”, they start their slow descent back into reality, but first lead you straight into “Smokin’”. This would be the part where an herbal product of some kind might come in handy…if you’re into that sort of thing. “You gotta let yourself go, the band’s gonna take control […] Smokin’, Smokin’, we’re cookin’ tonight, just keep on tokin’.” No subtleties here in the lyrics, and they aren’t holding back on the instrumentals either. Enjoy.
The record starts to slow down with “Hitch a Ride”, but picks up more steam with, “Something About You”. Nevertheless, you’ll still get those incredible guitar licks and always-perfect vocals to please your ears. The band closes out their record with another excellent song, “Let Me Take You Home Tonight”, which seems to have more of a country-rock vibe than the rest of the album, but it works really well as a closer.
If you’re looking for an album that is packed with hits and plays seamlessly without any bumps, this is the album for you. Hit after hit, Boston shows you that they are a force to be reckoned with, and it will make you wonder why they haven’t wound up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame already. Some day. In the meantime, I’ll try and catch them when they’re in town next. Lord knows it won’t be the same though, without the vocals that led them to success. R.I.P. Brad Delp.
Written by Jeff Gould