This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #121: More Than a Feeling by Boston.
Growing up in the late 1970s, as I did, the songs of Boston played a prominent role in the sound track of my high school days. In particular, in my home town of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, our downtown consisted of one main street. On Friday and Saturday nights, local teens used to flock to Commercial Street (as it was called). Some of us would line the sidewalks, while others drove their cars in endless loops, up and down Commercial Street, stereos cranked. The music of Trooper and April Wine and Boston were always filling the air on those nights. “Shooting the Drag” was what we called the practise of turning cars into night clubs as they drove around town….those of us on the sidewalks wanting to be seen, those in the cars wanting to be heard. Looking back on it, those days were the best of days, in a way, because it was our last chance at a sort of freedom that adulthood tends to deny you. So, a song like, “More Than a Feeling” is one that best exemplifies what those times were like. It isn’t so much any one thing that happened on those nights downtown but, instead, it was the feeling of being older, more mature, of starting to create an adult identity for ourselves. It was something that happened in time to the magic guitars of Boston; a band that really wasn’t a band at all.
The story of Boston is one of the more unique stories in this entire countdown. Boston had huge hits in the 1970s with songs such as “Don’t Look Back”, “Peace of Mind”, “More Than a Feeling”, “Amanda” and so on. The debut album by Boston sold seventeen million copies and, for awhile, had the distinction of being the biggest selling debut album in history (until Garth Brooks/No Fences and Guns n’ Roses/Appetite for Destruction came along). Overall, Boston has sold over seventy-five million albums worldwide.
The funny thing is that Boston was never a band, in the sense of what we imagine a band to be when we hear the term used. No, Boston was actually just one person; a man named Tom Scholz. Scholz was a guitarist in the live line-up that was assembled once the debut album took off and a demand for live performances came to pass. But, prior to that, it was Scholz who set up a recording studio in his basement and recorded the various instrumental tracks that came to form the songs on the album. He did this over the course of several years. At certain points, he might call in a friend to help with a drum track or with the vocals (Brad Delp was the “voice” of Boston but, he was more of a session singer when it came to creating the albums. He only showed up when Sholz called him in or else, when the “band” needed to tour.) But, overall, the band known as “Boston” was actually just Tom Scholz tinkering around in his basement. Weird but, true.
There really isn’t a whole lot more to say than that. Every few years, Scholz would have enough material to warrant a new album. When the album was ready, he would call in the members of the “touring band” and Boston would hit the road for a few concerts and then, all would go their separate ways and Scholz would return to his basement and his true passion, sound engineering. Thankfully, for the rest of us who were fans, Scholz had a knack for creating beautiful harmonies with guitar; layering the sounds unlike any other band could do and thus, giving Boston a distinctive guitar sound at a time when guitar-driven rock was the norm. I am grateful for his efforts, even if Boston turned out to be just a guy fooling around in his basement. PS: this is why the album covers were always filled with graphics and never showed any human band members, too, just so ya know.
So, without further delay, here is “More Than a Feeling” by Tom Scholz and a bunch of guys who called themselves Boston.
The link to the video for the song, “More Than a Feeling” by Boston, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Boston, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Rolling Stone Magazine, can be found here.