If one wanted to hear the rebellious, in-your-face spirit of Bostonians, one needed to look no further than the gritty guitar sounds on the debut album by the 70s supergroup aptly named Boston. A technological marvel filled with plenty of ear candy, this hybrid of hard rocking and heartwarming ballads catapulted Boston to the top of the charts.

Tom Scholz, a music-loving MIT student founded Boston. After graduation, he began recording demos with a number of friends in his home studio. Realizing the equipment available wasn’t able to meet his needs, Scholz began developing his own gear, giving him an unmistakable guitar sound that would be used extensively on the recordings.

Still, the first set of demos was not well-received by record labels, but after the hiring of lead singer Brian Delp, their hard work paid off with interest from Epic Records. Epic would eventually put the remainder of the band together with a pair of guitarists, Tom Scholz and Barry Goudreau, vocalist/guitarist Brad Delp, bassist Fran Sheehan and drummer Sib Hashian.

Boston went on to sell 15 million copies in the U.S. and millions more internationally. The album was in heavy rotation on AOR radio, thanks to hits like “Peace Of Mind” and “Long Time” but the biggest success came from a rock ballad called “More Than a Feeling” which made it’s way to the #5 spot on the charts.

In 1978, Boston released Don’t Look Back, the title cut of which was a cheerful statement of optimism, complete with the trademark Shultz overdriven guitars and jam-packed with plenty of pristine harmonies. It became another Top-5 hit for the band, while the album soared all the way to #1. Meanwhile, the band embarked on their inaugural tour, receiving a warm welcome from sold out venues wherever they stopped.

Tom Scholz decided to take his time with the next Boston album, since Don’t Look Back hadn’t quite lived up to his perfectionist standards. To support himself during the years of downtime, his company, Scholz Research and Development, was born and went on to market a line of innovative products, such as the “Rockman” – an almost pocket-sized amplifier that delivered that trademarked Sholz guitar sound, and quickly became a favorite piece of equipment among rock guitarists.

In 1986, Boston resurfaced for the first time in eight years with Third Stage. Its solid mix of rockers and power ballads lived up to the expectations of their loyal fans and gave the group their second #1 album.

The band finally reached that all-important milestone when “Amanda,” a ballad with commanding guitar-driven choruses, became their first #1 single. “We’re Ready,” a song that balanced mid-tempo verses with hard-rocking choruses in true Boston style, also became a Top-10 hit. Meanwhile, Boston hit the road again, thanks in part to Third Stage becoming the first album ever to achieve gold status (500,000 copies sold) in the new CD format.

As had been expected, it was another long wait for Boston to return to the pop charts with Walk On in 1994. Like the group’s previous albums, it quickly went platinum and led to a successful tour. In 1997, the group released a Greatest Hits album and followed it with a two-month tour of the U.S. And, in 2002, Corporate America was released, and with a much larger lineup than previous incarnations, the band embarked on another successful national tour.

Tragically, Boston lead singer Brad Delp took his own life on March 9, 2007, at his home in Atkinson, New Hampshire. In honor of Delp, a concert called Come Together: A Tribute to Brad Delp occurred on August 19, 2007 at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston, MA. All of the original surviving members of the band performed in the concert.

This time, fans would wait another eleven years for the next release, Life, Love & Hope. Tom Scholz was the only original member featured on the album with the exception of the late Brad Delp, whose previously recorded vocals can be heard on four of the album’s tracks.

Boston may be a shell of its former rocking self these days, but there remains a smokin’ catalog of classic songs that will continue to find their way to countless radio stations and iPods for as long as people enjoy hearing the crunch of masterfully distorted guitars.

If you grew up listening to Boston, or count yourself as a fan, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts and memories with us in our comments section below.

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