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Classic rock catalog: Boston discography

A little goes a long way

By

Writing about music (to borrow actor/comedian Martin Mull's semi-famous comment about art) is like dancing about architecture. Here is case in point: using numbers as an illustration of one aspect of Boston's recording history.

  • Shortest period between Boston album releases: two years
  • Typical length of time between Boston album releases: eight years (three times)
  • Longest period between Boston album releases: 11 years

Forgive my exercise in dancing about architecture, but I couldn't think of a better way to make the point that Boston's studio releases have never been about either quantity or frequency. They have been about founding member Tom Scholz's practice of carefully hand-crafting every second of every recording, in the studio in the basement of his house. Oh, and did I mention that Scholz has also written almost all of the band's recorded songs? 

Unlike some bands, who have released more compilations than they have original albums, Boston has released just one, Greatest Hits, in 1997. No doubt, that's because they released just 13 singles, all of them before 1995. Two of their career total of six studio albums went to #1, and their first album was one of the biggest selling debut albums of all time. It's beginning to look like there's some validity to the Scholz Theory about quality being more important than quantity. 

 

1976 - 'Boston'

boston_boston.jpg
Epic

Release date: August 20, 1976 (US) / December 3, 1976 (UK)

Chart Peak: #3 (US) / #11 (UK)

Certified 17x Multi-Platinum (US) / Gold (UK)

Key Tracks: "More Than A Feeling" / "Rock And Roll Band" / "Peace Of Mind" / "Foreplay"

Boston's self-titled debut album is #2 on the list of best-selling debut albums of all time (behind Appetite For Destruction by Guns N' Roses.) Boston went Gold within two months of its release, and reached Platinum after three months. Tom Scholz wrote all of the songs and recorded most of the instrumentation, in his home studio.

Watch Boston's live performance of "Smokin'" in 2008

Original LP Track List

Side 1
1. "More Than A Feeling"    
2.  "Peace Of Mind"    
3. "Foreplay/Long Time"

Side 2    
1. "Rock & Roll Band"    
2. "Smokin'"    
3. "Hitch A Ride"    
4. "Something About You"    
5. " Let Me Take You Home Tonight"

 Available on CD, vinyl LP, MP3, audio cassette, MiniDisc

1978 - 'Don't Look Back'

boston_dontlookback.jpg
SBME Special Markets

Release date: August 2, 1978

Chart Peak: #1 (US) / #11 (UK)

Certified 7x Multi-Platinum (US) / Silver (UK)

Key Tracks: "Don't Look Back" / "A Man I'll Never Be" / "Feelin' Satisfied" 

In Scholz years, two years to make an album is like the blink of an eye. He claimed that the record label (Epic) rushed the band into releasing Don't Look Back before it was properly finished. Fans  didn't get that memo apparently,bought almost four million copies in the album within a month of its release, and propelled "Don't Look Back" into the #4 spot on Billboard's Top 100 singles of the year..

Watch Boston's "Don't Look Back" music video

Original LP Track List

Side 1
1."Don't Look Back"  
2."The Journey"
3."It's Easy"  
4."A Man I'll Never Be"

Side 2 
1."Feelin' Satisfied"  
2."Party" 
3. "Used to Bad News"
4. "Don't Be Afraid"  

Available on CD, vinyl LP, audio cassette, MiniDisc 

1986 - 'Third Stage'

boston_thirdstage.jpg
MCA

Release date: September 23, 1986

Chart Peak: #1 (US) / #37 (UK)

Certified 4x Multi-Platinum (US)

Key Tracks: "Amanda" / "We're Ready" / "Cool the Engines" / "Can'thca Say You Believe in Me)?" / "Still in Love"

The eight years between Boston's second and third albums wasn't all spent working on the album. In fact, an extended legal battle with their original label, Epic Records delayed the release of Third Stage. Finally, the lawsuit was settled, the band signed with MCA Records, and Boston notched their second #1 album, and their only #1 single, "Amanda".

Watch Boston in a live performance of "Amanda" in 2003

Side 1
1. "Amanda"    
2. "We're Ready"    
3. "The Launch"    
4. "Cool The Engines"    
5. "My Destination"

Side 2    
1. "A New World"    
2. "To Be A Man"    
3. "I Think I Like It"    
4. "Can'tcha Say/Still In Love"    
5. "Hollyann"

Available on CD, vinyl LP, MP3, audio cassette

1994 - 'Walk On'

boston_walkon.jpg
MCA

Release date: June 7, 1994

Chart Peak: #7 (US) / #56 (UK)

Certified Platinum (US)

Key Tracks: "I Need Your Love" / "Walk On Medley"

Another eight years passed before Boston's next album was released. During this period of inactivity, original lead singer Brad Delp left the band, to form a band called RTZ, with original Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau. Fran Cosmo took on lead vocals, which he shared with Delp as he returned to the fold in time for the tour that followed the release of the album.

Watch a 2008 live performance of Boston's "Walk On" medley

CD Track List

1. "I Need Your Love"  
2. "Surrender to Me"
3. "Livin' for You"
4. "Walkin' at Night"
5. "Walk On"
6. "Get Organ-ized/Get Reorgan-ized"
7. "Walk On (Some More)"
8. "What's Your Name"
9. "Magdalene"
10. "We Can Make It"  

Available on CD, vinyl LP, MP3, audio cassette

2002 - 'Corporate America'

boston_corporateamerica.jpg
Artemis Records

Release date: August 27, 2002

Chart Peak: #42 (US)

Certified Platinum (US)

As the band's third eight year album hiatus ended, they emerged with two more vocalists -- Kimberly Dahme and Anthony Cosmo -- in addition to Delp and Fran Cosmo (Anthony's father). Corporate America was the first Boston album that failed to make the Top 10. In fact, it failed to make the Top 40. 

Listen to Boston's "Corporate America"

CD Track List

1. "I Had a Good Time"
2. "Stare Out Your Window"
3. "Corporate America"
4. "With You"
5. "Someone"
6. "Turn it Off"
7. "Cryin'"
8. "Didn't Mean to Fall in Love"
9. "You Gave Up on Love"
10. "Livin' for You (Live)"  

Available on CD 

2013 - 'Life, Love and Hope'

boston_lifelovehope.jpg
Frontiers Records

Release date: December 3, 2013 (U.S.) / December 9, 2013 (U.K.)

A lot happened during the 11 years that lapsed between Boston's fifth and sixth albums. Brad Delp, the original lead vocalist who had been on every one of the band's tours and all but one of their albums, committed suicide in 2007. It was also a period of seemingly endless lawsuits involving former band members, and members of Delp's family. Three of the albums tracks -- "Didn't Mean to Fall In Love", "Someone (2.0)" and "You Gave Up on Love (2.0)" -- are remastered and/or rearranged versions of songs on earlier Boston albums. Tracks recorded before Delp's death are included on the album, along with vocals by Kimberly Dahme, Tommy DeCarlo, David Victor, and Scholz.

CD Track List

1. "Heaven on Earth" 
2. "Didn't Mean to Fall in Love"
3. "Last Day of School" 
4. "Sail Away"
5. "Life Love and Hope"
6. "If You Were in Love" 
7. "Someday" 
8. "Love Got Away"  
9. "Someone (2.0)" 
10. "You Gave Up on Love (2.0)"
11. "The Way You Look Tonight"

Available 12/3/13 on CD and MP3

 

When should you expect the next one?

Releasing six albums over a period of 37 years have proven that the absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder theory works for Boston. Given the length of the "in between albums time" throughout their career, we could well be in the decade of the '20s before we see another one, if at all.
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