I have been looking forward to today’s album, as I consider it to be very unique for one notable reason. In my years of listening to rock music, I can’t think of any other record besides this one, where every single song, without exception, is broadly played and recognized in radio rotation. The debut album of the band Boston, simply titled “Boston”, was truly remarkable in that regard. In my formative years listening to what we now refer to as classic rock, I never paid that much attention to Boston. They had what seemed to be a very limited number of albums and songs, which is still true, and candidly, in comparison to some of the dominant bands of the time, I always thought they were a bit one (or two) dimensional, with a strong lead guitar and vocal pairing, but no depth or notable accompaniment from bass and drums, leaving their sound a bit “thin”. However, a few years ago, I looked more closely at their debut album, and realized that not only did I really appreciate many of the songs on this album, I also discovered this “eight for eight” achievement and how impressive that was, particularly in a debut album.
As noted above, Boston was primarily the pairing of Tom Scholz, the founder and creative leader of the band, on guitar, and Brad Delp, who had amazing range and strength with his high tenor vocals. The album opens with “More Than a Feeling”, and it just goes from there, one big hit after another. Next is “Peace of Mind”, which once upon a time captured my attention with this verse, “Now you’re climbing to the top of the company ladder, Hope it doesn’t take too long, Can’t you see there’ll come a day when it won’t matter, Come a day when you’ll be gone.” Reasonably profound and very true, Mr. Delp. Side one ends with the guitar explosion that is “Foreplay/Long Time”, a true air guitar classic of the 1970s.
Side two opens with the autobiographical track “Rock & Roll Band”, which I have always enjoyed, including its references to being a New England-based band. The up-tempo continues with “Smokin’”, another guitar rock classic, and then the pace shifts with “Hitch a Ride”, which was served as the anthem for our hitch-hiking days growing up. In the small town we grew up in, hitching was a necessity to get from one of two central areas to the other, and although that may sound like a terrible choice, we usually got picked up by someone’s surprised parents so it wasn’t too treacherous. My all-time favorite hitch-hiking story is my friend Mike and I electing to decline a 75-mile ride from Greeley to Parker during college, because we thought hitching would be a “better experience”. After about 7 hours, four or five short rides and a lot of rain, we finally caved in and called my dad to come get us. Good call, Mike…
The last two songs are both on the slower side but like the others, classic rock radio staples, “Something About You” and “Let Me Take You Home Tonight”. Eight songs in all, eight songs that all heavily fill the rotation to this day. It really was a remarkable debut performance, and although I don’t say this often, I don’t possibly understand how this blockbuster was left off the Rolling Stone Top 500 list.