Infobox musical artist
Name = Boston
Img_capt = Boston live in Hinckley, MN on June 13, 2008
Img_size = 250
Landscape = Yes
Background = group_or_band
Boston, Massachusetts, USAcite encyclopedia| year = 1995| title =Boston | encyclopedia =The New Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll| publisher =Simon & Schuster Inc. | location =New York, NY | id =0-684-81044-1]
Genre = Rock,
Years_active = 1976 - present
Label = Epic, MCA, Artemis
Barry Goudreau, Orion the Hunter, RTZ, Cosmo, Beatlejuice, Stryper
URL = http://www.bandboston.com
Tom Scholz Michael Sweet Tommy DeCarlo Gary Pihl Kimberley Dahme Jeff Neal
Past_members = See: Boston past member section
Boston is an American rock band from
Boston, Massachusettsthat 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 rockradio playlists. Boston's best-known works include the songs " More Than a Feeling", "Peace of Mind", " Foreplay/Long Time", "Don't Look Back" and "Amanda". They have sold over 50 million albums worldwide, [ [http://www.mystrands.com/artist/4327/biography Boston Biography] ] including 31 million albums in the United States. [ [http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?table=tblTopArt RIAA Best Selling Artists - Boston] ]
Early Years (pre-1976)
Barry Goudreauand Tom Scholzhave significantly different versions of how the band started. The way Goudreau tells it, when he was a student at Boston University, he led a band called "Mother's Milk." One day, a musician named Tom Scholz joined after answering an ad in a local weekly newspaper. Scholz was a recent MIT engineering graduate who worked at Polaroidwho was primarily a keyboard player, but who rapidly developed as a guitar player after joining Goudreau's band. After years of practice in Scholz's home studio with singer Brad Delpand other local musicians, Mother's Milk evolved into what we know as Boston, and Scholz took over the leadership of the band. In 1976, after years of having their demo tapes rejected, the band got signed to Epic Recordsafter (in Goudreau's words) Scholz "refine [d] the songs and recordings to a point where they could no longer be denied." The first album came out in August 1976 and sold 200,000 copies in just a few weeks. According to Goudreau's story, he was the founder of the band Boston— and he, Delp and Scholz were more or less equal contributors to the band's emergence. [ [http://www.barrygoudreau.com/GoudreauBio.html Bio ] ]
According to Scholz, Goudreau had little or nothing to do with Boston's founding. Scholz's version of the story is that Boston began when he began composing songs and recording demos where he played all of the instruments, except the drums. Scholz does confirm that Goudreau was present on earlier demos, but his two steadiest collaborators were Jim Masdea, who played drums (as well as keyboards), and singer
Brad Delpwho methodically overdubbed the vocals. This was all done in Scholz’s home studio. Just as in Goudreau's version of the story, the band was originally called "Mother's Milk." Scholz does agree that around 1970 he was in a band by that name with Goudreau: however, he asserts that his later Mother's Milk was an entirely separate band from Goudreau's.
The roots of the first album were created in these early demo sessions with songs such as "More Than a Feeling," "Hitch a Ride" (originally called "San Francisco Day"), "Peace of Mind," "Foreplay/Long Time" and "Rock & Roll Band." Scholz soon became frustrated with the limitations of the technology at the time and his inability to capture the sound he wanted, so he began building and designing his own equipment.
The first tapes Scholz sent out were rejected by the record labels. A subsequent set of tapes drew the attention of record industry vets
Charlie McKenzieand Paul Ahernwho signed the band to a management contract in late 1975 and brought them to the attention of Epic Records, a division of CBS.
Masdea left in early 1976 about the same time the band finally got signed. In one version of the story, he was asked to leave because the label was displeased with his performance, although according to other sources, he quit voluntarily to pursue other interests. (Some of Masdea's playing did end up on the final version of first album.) Masdea was briefly replaced by David Currier, but
Sib Hashian(a long time friend of Delp's) took over when Currier quit in a dispute over money. The label also insisted that Scholz re-record the demo tapes in a professional studio with a full band. According to Scholz, it was only at this point that Hashian, Barry Goudreau and Fran Sheehanjoined the band.
With the exception of "Let Me Take You Home Tonight," which was recorded in California under the direction of producer John Boylan, Scholz re-recorded the other seven tracks in his home studio with only Delp & Hashian (with Goudreau making an appearance on "Foreplay/Long Time" and Sheehan playing bass on "Foreplay"). In an interview with Goldmine Magazine(#465 May 1998), Scholz states that it was John Boylan who suggested the name change from Mother's Milk to Boston.
Originally only Tom Scholz and Brad Delp were signed to the management deal with Ahern & McKenzie and the record contract with CBS/Epic. And it was a few months after that that the other three Boston members were also written in for equal shares in the LP's performance royalties and tour income(according to an article in Musician Magazine 1/1/87 [http://www.gonnahitcharide.com/walkon/content/view/112/59/ GonnaHitchaRide.com] ).
Delp said in a 1999 interview that the band was already in existence as far back as 1969. He replaced a lead singer whose name has been forgotten and at the time the band consisted of Goudreau on guitar and vocals, Scholz on Hammond Organ and Masdea on drums. [ [http://www.gonnahitcharide.com/walkon/content/view/131/59/1/1/ The Band Boston Fan Site - Brad Delp Interview By Par Winberg ] ]
The debut album, "Boston", released in August 1976, was an enormous success. The record ranks as the second best-selling debut album in U.S. history with over 17 million copies sold, only trailing
Appetite For Destructionby Guns N' Roses.
During the summer and fall of 1976, Boston attracted much publicity when they toured with
Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Foghatand others. The band then embarked on a headlining tour in the winter & spring of 1977 to support the album. This helped establish Boston as one of rock's top acts within a short time.Rockwell, Jorn (February 12, 1977). Rock: Boston Heads a Triple Bill. " New York Times"]
The album spawned one Top 10 single, "More Than a Feeling" and two other Top 40 hits, "Long Time" and "Peace of Mind". Additionally, the album peaked at #3 on the Billboard charts. Eleven years later, "Boston" would reappear in the Billboard Top 200, reaching #101.
"Don't Look Back" (1978)
Despite much bickering between CBS President
Walter Yetnikoffand Scholz, the second Boston album had the finishing touches put on it "just" two years after the debut album's release. Album #2, "Don't Look Back", was officially released by Epic in August 1978.
At the time this was considered a long gap between albums, but Scholz still considered "Don't Look Back" to be a rush job and was unhappy with the album's second side in particular. This was confirmed on the "
Third Stage" episode of the popular radio program "In the Studio with Redbeard" when he said that "CBS had no confidence in a second Boston record and were trying to cash in on the success of the debut album". Although it sold four million copies in its first month, overall "Don't Look Back" sold less than half as well as the extraordinarily successful first album.
Another tour followed, and the album's title track became a Top 10 hit, peaking at #4. Additionally, two other singles, "A Man I'll Never Be", and "Feelin' Satisfied" went Top 40 and Top 50 respectively. Despite the success, Scholz's relationship with Epic continued to deteriorate steadily. Scholz eventually began the process of working on Boston's third album, determined to complete the album at his own pace.
Boston Disintegrates (1979–1983)
In late 1979, Scholz began writing new material, but a lawsuit filed by Boston's former co-manager,
Paul Ahern, argued that, according to an agreement Scholz signed earlier with Ahern, Ahern owned a percentage of all songs Scholz wrote from that point on. Since the litigation would delay the start of the third album, Scholz suggested, in the meantime, the individual members should work on whatever other projects they might be considering. Goudreau then decided to record a solo album which featured Boston members Delp and Hashian. The album, released in 1980, was titled simply "Barry Goudreau" and featured a minor charting single "Dreams". There was a bit of tension when CBS marketed the album as "The guitar sound heard on twelve million Boston albums". Scholz objected but the label eventually dropped promotion on Goudreau's album citing lack of interest. Goudreau ended up leaving the band in 1981. Delp went along with him to work on some material but was soon back with Scholz helping to record the third album.
In the mid-80s Scholz claimed that Hashian and Sheehan had brought a lawsuit against him in an attempt to wrest the Boston name away and continue on without him. He also claimed that this attempt to remove him from Boston was done with the knowledge and assistance of CBS/Epic who also sued him for failing to deliver the third Boston album in the time they thought it should be delivered. The case later went to trial and Scholz would eventually emerge victorious over the record label. Sheehan and Hashian settled their suit out of court. Scholz has stated on numerous occasions that this process left him extremely jaded and wary of record labels and outside musicians.
CBS Lawsuit (1983–1985)
In the course of recording new material for the third Boston album, CBS, tired of waiting for Scholz to finish, filed a 60 million dollar lawsuit alleging breach of contract by Scholz. Regardless, the legal trouble experienced by Tom further slowed progress toward the completion of the next album which was now being recorded in much the same way the original tapes were: in Scholz's home studio. Joining Scholz in the album's development again were singer Delp and drummer Masdea, plus former
Sammy Hagarguitarist Gary Pihlwho joined the band in September 1985 and remains a member to this day.
As the lawsuit played out in court, CBS opted to withhold royalty payments to Scholz in an attempt to leave him without funds to hire legal counsel to fight the lawsuit. Scholz had enough savings to continue paying his lawyers — and he even had enough money to start his own technology company,
Scholz Research & Development, Inc.SR&D proved quite profitable, which allowed Scholz to hire lawyer Don Engel to represent him against CBS. Scholz was able to show that, in fact, he never stopped working to produce the album for Epic, even though a severe back problem should have sidelined him. The lawsuit's first round was decided in Tom's favor. This allowed Tom to shop around the third album to other record companies. Even though Walter Yetnikoff warned other record companies to keep their hands off it, MCA agreed to release the third album, appropriately titled "Third Stage". CBS let it be known that if another major label wanted Boston's contract, CBS would settle for $900,000 and $.25 an album. When MCA decided to take on the album, CBS brought a new case against Scholz and MCA, asking for a preliminary injunction to freeze the deal. The judge decided against CBS and Third Stage then belonged to MCA.
"Third Stage" (1986–1988)
Despite the adversity, progress continued to be made on the third Boston album. A tape of one of the songs, "Amanda", leaked out of the studio in 1983 and was widely bootlegged throughout the fan community who were eager for new material. The song was even played by some radio stations too before CBS ordered them to "cease & desist".
"Amanda" became the lead single when "
Third Stage" was finally released in September 1986 after the band signed with MCA Records. The album is loosely built around the theme of life's "third stage" (the onset of middle age). During Boston's subsequent tour, the new album was played in sequence in its entirety. "Third Stage" was the strongest charting Boston release to date. The album and lead single "Amanda" both went to #1 on Billboard, and subsequent singles, "We're Ready" and "Can'tcha Say" were Top 10 and Top 20 respectively. Despite the strong start, sales of "Third Stage" were below the first two albums with fewer than five million copies sold to date.
The group headed off on tour to promote "Third Stage" in the summer of 1987, with side Canadian dates added in the fall of 1988, dubbed the "Christmas In Canada Tour". For the tour the group was joined by
David Sikes(ex- Aldo Nova) on vocals, bass & keyboards and Doug Huffman(drums, keyboards, backing vocals)
Boston also participated in a local charity concert sponsored by
Tea Party Concertsto benefit AIDSawareness. This move was lauded by local radio personalities, owing to the stigma attached to AIDS at that time. Boston has continued involvement in a number of charities, including anti-domestic violence groups and local homeless programs. (Boston Herald, 1988; Boston Globe, 1988; bandboston.com).
Delp Departs & "Walk On" (1989–1995)
After the release of "Third Stage", Delp officially left the band in 1989. Scholz was now the last remaining original member. Ironically, Delp subsequently joined Barry Goudreau's new band,
RTZ. Scholz headed back to the studio to work on an album with the working title of "Boston IV". He was eventually joined(in 1993)by vocalist Fran Cosmo. Cosmo had been a member of Goudreau's previous band Orion the Hunter, a project that also featured songwriting and backing vocals from Delp.
In 1990, a jury ruled in favor of Scholz in the CBS lawsuit and the court awarded him 1.6 million dollars in punitive damages.
With Scholz working at his usual slow pace, eight years passed before "Walk On" was released (in June 1994). "Walk On" went platinum but only reached #7 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. It failed to reach the usual multi-platinum level or chart in the Top 5 like all their previous albums. It produced no hit singles, although "I Need Your Love" was widely played on rock radio and did enter the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.
Delp rejoined Boston for two Christmas season benefit shows at the House of Blues on December 12th & 13th, 1994 in Boston where the band ended up handing a check of $5,000 to Globe Santa and another $5,000 to Operation Christmas in Fall River. Unfortunately, Delp blew out his voice by the end of the night. The next night, Cosmo and David Sikes had to split the lead vocal duties.
The group, with Delp now permanently back on board, toured in the summer of 1995 with Delp sharing lead vocal duties with Cosmo on stage. By this time drummer Huffman had been replaced by
Curly Smith(ex- Jo Jo Gunne)
"Greatest Hits" & "Corporate America" (1996–2006)
On the heels of the "Walk On" tour, Boston released their first ever Greatest Hits package in 1997, titled simply "Boston: Greatest Hits". The album has sold over two million copies since its release. The album featured all of the charting classics, except "We're Ready", along with three new songs, including "Higher Power," the first new Boston song with Delp on vocals since 1986 and featuring a harmonica solo by Curly Smith (the drummer during the "Walk On" tour and the Summer 1997 "Greatest Hits" tour). The album also included "Tell Me" with bassist David Sikes on vocals and an instrumental version of the "
Star Spangled Banner."
Scholz again headed back to the studio in 1998 (minus Sikes and Smith, who'd departed by the end of the previous year) in order to work on their fifth album. Fran's son,
Anthony Cosmo, began helping out on the album as well. Three songs were leaked prior to the release of the album: "Someone" (featuring Delp on vocals) and "Turn It Off" (featuring Cosmo) which were aired on the Rocklineradio program in 1999. "Corporate America" was uploaded by Tom Scholz to MP3.com under the name "Downer's Revenge" in early 2002 in order to test the album's appeal to a non-biased (college) demographic.
On New Year's Day 2002, Boston sang the Star Spangled Banner at the opening of the
Fiesta Bowlat Sun Devil Stadiumin Arizona. The lineup was now Scholz, Delp, the Cosmos and Pihl plus new members Kimberley Dahme(vocals, bass, guitar) and drummer Anthony Citrinite. The latter was replaced later that year by Tom Hambridgefor a short time before Jeff Nealjoined at the tail end of 2002.
November 2002 marked the official release of "Corporate America" on the independent label Artemis Records. This album featured the largest Boston lineup ever; returning members included Delp and Cosmo on guitar and lead vocals, Scholz on lead guitar and organ, Gary Pihl on guitar, Curly Smith on drums for a live cut (from 1997) of Living for You, along with the new members: Anthony Cosmo on rhythm guitar and Kimberley Dahme on bass and vocals. Dahme contributed lead vocals to "You Gave Up on Love" and a country flavored song she wrote, "With You", and Anthony Cosmo wrote and produced three songs, "Stare Out Your Window", "Cryin'" and "Turn it Off". The group embarked on a national tour in support of the album in 2003 and 2004.
In 2006, Anthony and Fran Cosmo departed from Boston and formed the band Cosmo. Tom Scholz later sued Anthony Cosmo for allegedly performing live billed as Boston. [http://www.therockradio.com/2007/01/boston-leader-suing-former-bandmember.html] The lawsuit was later dropped by Scholz.
Another significant piece of news for Boston was that Scholz and guitarist Barry Goudreau overcame their previous differences and rekindled their friendship; both have expressed regret for their past actions. ("Boston" magazine, 2006)
In 2006, Scholz supervised and released the first two Boston albums in their remastered form.
Death of Brad Delp (2007)
Boston lead singer Brad Delp took his own life March 9th, 2007 at his home in Atkinson, New Hampshire. Police found Delp dead in his bathroom. Police Lt. William Baldwin called the death "untimely" and said that no foul play was indicated. Delp was alone at the time of his death according to the police report. According to a New Hampshire TV website, Delp was preparing for a summer tour. The Associated Press reported that his death was a result of suicide and that he was found by his fiancée. The AP also reported that, according to the New Hampshire medical examiner, Delp's death was the result of suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning (from a charcoal grill) as evidenced by carboxyhemoglobin.Delp's last concert with Boston had been at
Boston Symphony Hallon November 13th, 2006 at a concert honoring football great Doug Flutie.
Tribute to Delp (2007)
A concert in honor of Delp named Come Together: A Tribute to Brad Delp occurred on August 19th, 2007 at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston. The concert included, in order of appearance,
Ernie and the Automatics, Beatlejuice, Farrenheit, Extreme, Godsmack, RTZ, and finally the current version of Boston.
All of the living members of Boston were invited to perform in the concert on August 19th. The singers for Boston included
Michael Sweetof Stryper, former band member Curly Smith, band member Kimberley Dahme, and a Boston fan from North Carolina named Tommy DeCarlo, who was chosen to sing based on his performances on Boston cover songs on his MySpace page. [http://www.bandboston.com/] Another former Boston vocalist Fran Cosmowas unable to sing because of a ruptured blood vessel in his throat but he did play some guitar. Jim Masdea, Fran Sheehanand even Barry Goudreaujoined Scholz and the rest of the band on stage for the finale, "Don't Look Back". Sib Hashian was conspicuously absent. Curly Smith and Kimberly Dahme split the lead vocal on the finale.
The Future of Boston (2008-)
The ongoing conflicts between the surviving band members spilled over to the 2008 Presidential campaign. Barry Goudreau and Fran Sheehan endorsed
Mike Huckabee(who is a musician himself) and played with him at some rallies in New Hampshire. Barry claimed on YouTubeto be currently "of Boston" and said "We Like Mike" arguably implying that he and Sheehan were part of the band and that they were speaking for the band as a whole. Huckabee used "More than a Feeling" as a campaign theme song.
Scholz, a self-described "Obama supporter", sent an open letter to Huckabee stating that the band had never endorsed any candidate, and that he had never authorized the use of "More Than a Feeling" as Huckabee's theme song. Scholz made a point of saying that he, and not Goudreau or Sheehan, "actually played all the guitars on that Boston hit as well as most of Boston’s songs, not the person holding a guitar in your promotion." [http://daddys.com/blog/?p=538] [http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2008/02/14/more-than-a-feeling-writer-says-mike-huckabee-has-caused-him-damage] After the open letter was published in the "
Rolling Stone" magazine, Laura Huckabee, Gov. Huckabee's daughter-in-law, called on behalf of the Huckabee campaign to apologize to Tom Scholz, and Gov. Huckabee did stop using "More than Feeling" as a theme song. (Huckabee later stated, "we reminded him, 'Tom, you sold the music; we paid a license fee; get over it.'") [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adele-stan/huckabee-hearts-music_b_125836.html]
Tom Scholz is remastering the "Greatest Hits" album for compact disc, and is also working on an album of live Boston performances. [http://bandboston.com/flashsite407.html] He also said that he is currently working on new Boston studio material. About the same time,
Michael Sweetof Stryper said that he had been working with Scholz in the studio, and that a tour might be coming up. In March 2008, Scholz confirmed that there would be a tour. [http://bandboston.com/flashsite407.html] [http://www.metal-rules.com/zine/content/view/1189/1/]
On June 6th, 2008, the new version of Boston, led by Scholz, kicked off a summer tour of the United States and Canada beginning with a show in
Thunder Bay, Ontario. [http://www.thirdstage.ca/boston/] Scholz was the only founding member of Boston to play on the tour, although longtime member Gary Pihl was also part of the band. The new lineup also featured Michael Sweet, Tommy DeCarlo, Kimberley Dahme and Jeff Neal. Goudreau and the other charter members were not part of this tour.
Innovations and style
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 Mayare well regarded for the development of complex, multi-tracked guitar harmonies. Another contributing factor is the use of handmade, high techequipment, such as the Rockman, used by artists such as Journey guitarist Neal Schon, the band ZZ Topand 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.
The late singer Brad Delp, who was strongly influenced by the
Beatles, [http://www.gonnahitcharide.com/walkon/content/view/131/59/] 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 Mercuryis with Queen, Steve Perry with Journey, Roger Daltreywith The Who, Mick Jagger with The Rolling Stones, Dennis DeYoungwith Styx, Peter Ceterawith Chicago 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.
Tom Scholz: lead guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals (1976-present)
Michael Sweet: lead vocals, guitar(2008-present)
Tommy DeCarlo: lead vocals, keyboards, percussion (2008-present)
Gary Pihl: guitars, keyboards, backing vocals (1985-present)
Kimberley Dahme: vocals, bass, guitar (2001-present)
Jeff Neal: drums, percussion, backing vocals (2002-present)
Note: The dates when Goudreau, Masdea, Sheehan and Delp joined the band vary widely according to who tells the story. They all knew Scholz as far back as 1969, and worked with him in various combinations on various projects starting circa 1970, which led up to Boston's first album in 1976. Scholz does admit to being in a band with Goudreau, Delp and Masdea early on, but he claims this band was entirely distinct from Boston. Hashian was the last member of the "original" quintet to join, coming on board just before the band hit it big in 1976, replacing Masdea.
Brad Delp(d. March 9, 2007) lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, percussion (1976-1989, 1994-2007, he'd been working with Scholz since the early 1970s)
*Jim Masdea: drums, percussion, keyboards (1983-1988, but also worked with Scholz in the early and mid 1970s)
Barry Goudreau: guitars, backing vocals (1976–1981, also worked on early demos with Scholz in the early to mid 1970s)
Sib Hashian: drums, percussion, backing vocals (1976–1983)
*Fran Sheehan: bass, backing vocals (1976–1983)
*David Sikes: vocals, bass, keyboards (1987–1997)
*Doug Huffman: drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals (1987–1994)
*Curly Smith: drums, percussion,
harmonica, backing vocals (1994–1997)
Fran Cosmo: lead vocals, guitar (1993–2006)
*Anthony Cosmo: guitar, backing vocals (1997–2006)
*Anthony Citrinite: drums (2001–2002)
*Tom Hambridge: drums (2002)
Best selling music artists
* [http://bandboston.com/ Official Site]
* [http://www.chuckthewriter.com/boston.html Boston: Heaven is a Reel to Reel Tape] , originally published in Goldmine magazine, written by columnist Chuck Miller
* [http://justcauseit.com/articles/just-10-questions-tom-scholz Interview with Tom Scholz] at JUST CAUSE Magazine.
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