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A Look Back At Boston's Self-Titled Debut 40 Years Later


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Boston

(Radio.com) Boston's self-titled debut album, which has sold over 17 million copies, turned 40 on Thursday (August 25). Here, Radio.com discusses the album with legends from CBS Radio affiliate WZLX, Boston's classic rock: Carter Alan, the station's music director and DJ, and afternoon drive DJ Chuck Nowlin, currently celebrating 25 years with the station.

"I looked out this morning and the sun was gone," the late Brad Delp sings, with crystal clear tone, over mad scientist Tom Scholtz's delicate guitar picking. "Turned on some music to start my day/I lost myself in a familiar song/I closed my eyes and I slipped awaaaaaaaay…."

So begins "More Than a Feeling," the leadoff track and lead single from Boston, one of the most successful debut albums of all time. It's received massive play on classic rock radio (every song has gotten airplay, a rarity for any album by any band), and it happened almost immediately after being released, which was odd, as the band had no backstory. No one knew who they were, even in Boston.

The lyrics to "Rock and Roll Band" seemed to be telling the band's story. They sang about being "on the road and tryin' to make ends meet/Playin' all the bars, sleepin' in our cars." To hear them tell it, they were grinding in the clubs, just like any other band: "We practiced right on out in the street/No, we didn't have much money/We barely made enough to survive/But when we got up on stage and got ready to play, people came alive!" But strangely, no one could recall seeing Boston in concert. And there's a good reason for that.

WZLX's Carter Alan explains: "The lyrics are as fictional as the live audience sound effects that make it sound like a live track. The band had never played live when that song was written or recorded. A local Boston fanzine lists an August 27 show in Manchester, NH as the band's first official gig, in front of 200 people." That was two days after they released their debut.

So unlike the rock bands of earlier years, Boston didn't cut their teeth on the road: rather, bandleader Tom Scholtz labored over the album for years in his home studio, and recorded most of the instruments himself. As Scholtz told WZLX's Chuck Nowlin in a recent interview, "It was six years of experimenting and recording and spending all the money I could make, and working nights." Read more here.

Radio.com is an official news provider for antiMusic.com.
Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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