BOSTON

Boston’s success has defied many music business tenets; allowing considerable time to elapse between releases, with virtually no photo-ops to keep the group in the public eye, yet enjoying multi-platinum sales with a richly textured, power guitar sound that remains essentially unchanged since the release of the first album in 1976. That release, eponymously titled Boston (Columbia 34188), was the brainchild of guitarist Tom Scholz. An unlikely rock star, Scholz earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from MIT and, as a senior product designer for Polaroid Corporation, was limited to creating his music during leisure hours. His demo tapes, produced in his own twelve-track basement studio, led to a recording contract with Epic Records. These tracks formed the core of the album, although Scholz and his supporting band—including vocalist Brad Delp, guitarist Barry Goudreau, bassist Fran Sheehan, and drummer Sib Hashian—recut some of the material on the West Coast with producer John Boylan. Boston was a huge success, selling more than eleven million copies; in 1995, Billboard called it the third-best-selling LP ever, behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.

The follow-up release, Don’t Look Back (Columbia 35050; 1978), although reaching number one, sold only six million copies. Apparently concerned about a further erosion of public interest, Scholz spent eight years working on the next album. When Third Stage (MCA 6188) became available in 1986, Scholz and Delp—whose soaring vocals helped define the group’s intricately layered sound—were the only members left from the original lineup. Driven by the number one single, "Amanda" (MCA 52756; 1986), the album topped the charts, becoming a four-million seller. At this point, Scholz’s creative focus was compromised by a series of lawsuits involving former band member Goudreau and CBS Records. He also found time to invented the Rockman, a small guitar amplifier with headphones used by many musicians. With Delp having departed in 1991 to form a band called RTZ with Goudreau, Scholz was forced to dispense, once and for all, with the fiction of group collaboration. Nevertheless, utilizing a new studio built from the money won in his successful countersuit of CBS, Schloz produced a fourth album, Walk On (MCA), in 1994.

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