Saturday, August 6, 2011

The #3 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era--"Boston" by Boston

Beginning on May 1, Inside the Rock Era began counting down The Top 100 Albums of All-Time in the Rock Era*, releasing and telling the story of one album per day.  To recap the Top 10, AC/DC got us off to a thunderous start with Back in Black, Pink Floyd mellowed things out with The Dark Side of the Moon, the Beatles are at #8 with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, #7 is the brilliant Tapestry from Carole King, Alanis Morissette has #6 with Jagged Little Pill, Led Zeppelin came in a solid #5 with IV and Stevie Wonder's masterpiece Songs in the Key of Life is #4.

This album represented the beginning for Boston in 1976, an album that smashed a bunch of records including the highest-selling debut album in history at the time.  Guns 'N' Roses eclipsed the mark years later.  The group could never come close to matching the high standard they had set for themselves, but the meticulous attention to detail that would later hurt their success was tailor made for a debut album. 

Group leader and perfectionist (to a fault) Tom Scholz  originally formed a group but didn't like the live sound so he just as quickly disbanded them.  He did record some home demos with lead singer Brad Delp and drummer Jim Masdea and shopped them around.  Label after label turned them down for the music on this album until finally, Epic Records said they were interested.  This should tell you something about the foresight of record companies from the mid-70's, an unfortunate deterioration that exists even more today.  When Scholz refused to come to Epic to record the tracks on professional equipment, Epic producer John Boylan had to bring in members of the band to make "fake recordings" at Epic so the top brass would think the band was recording the album there instead of at Scholz's home.  To say that Scholz had his own vision of what the album should sound like is putting it mildly.  Lead and rhythm guitarist Barry Boudreau and bassist Fran Sheehan appear on only two tracks on the album ("Foreplay/Long Time" and "Let Me Take You Home Tonight").

The album reached #3 for six weeks but hung around the Top 10 long enough to log 27 weeks there, and it stayed on the album chart for 132 weeks (nearly 2 1/2 years).  Boston became the quickest debut album to a million in sales (platinum), achieving the feat in a mere three months.  The album reached 10 million in 1990.  To date the album has sold 17 million copies and continues to sell extremely week for a 35-year-old album.

The best thing the album has going for it is its Track Rating* of 9.53.  This is one of the highest in the Top 100*--what it means is that the album is extremely consistent.  In other words, there is not much drop-off from the singles ("More Than a Feeling", "Peace of Mind" and Long Time") to the other tracks on the album.  "Smokin'", in fact, is one of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era* and the other tracks--"Let Me Take You Home Tonight", "Hitch a Ride", "Rock & Roll Band" and "Something About You" are outstanding.  You would expect that from the #3 album of All-Time*.  And, since "Peace of Mind" and "Long Time" did not make the Top 10, obviously they are also at the head of The Top Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*, but that is more due to the ineptitude of radio station music directors at the time than to the quality of the songs for time has proven the few radio stations that did not play them incredibly wrong.  It is one of the ultimate "track-through" albums you will ever hear.  To this day, all eight tracks continue to be played on radio, making it the most-played album of all-time in terms of airtime. 

Choosing to select the three singles for Side One meant that first side was a grand slam home run; many radio stations will play that entire side without interruption.  By the way, if a radio station plays the short version of "Long Time" (without the prelude "Foreplay"), you should sue them.  I'm being facetious, but I would at least recommend that you stop listening to that station.  It's a given that the entire version should be played or not at all.

Boston was nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys and the album was nominated for Best International Album at the Juno Awards.

(All songs written by Tom Scholz unless otherwise noted.)

Side one
1.  "More Than a Feeling" --4:44
2.  "Peace of Mind" --4:55
3.  "Foreplay/Long Time" --7:56

Side two
1.  "Rock & Roll Band" --2:59
2.  "Smokin'" (Tom Scholz, Brad Delp) --4:44
3.  "Hitch a Ride" --3:18
4.  "Something About You" --4:19
5.  "Let Me Take You Home Tonight" (Delp) --4:12

The band that made this historic album was:  Tom Scholz on electric guitars, acoustic guitars, clavinet, organ and bass guitar, lead singer Brad Delp on acoustic guitar and Sib Hashian on drums.  Jim Masdea played drums on "Rock & Roll Band" and as mentioned, Barry Goudreau and Fran Sheehan played on "Foreplay/Long Time" and "Let Me Take You Home Tonight".

Boston was recorded from October of 1975 to April of 1976 at Foxglove Studios in Watertown, Massachusetts (Scholz's home), Capitol Studios in Hollywood, California and The Record Plant in Los Angeles.  Scholz and Delp engineered and produced the album although John BoylanScholz remastered the album for CD and his expertise with the new technical equipment has won high praise from critics and fans of Boston.  Paul Ahern and Charles McKenzie directed the album, Jeff Albertson and Ron Pownall provided photography and Roger Huyssen illustrated the cover.  The landmark album was released August 8, 1976 on Epic Records.

Boston has been elevated to #3 All-Time* with their historic debut, Boston.

This Date in Rock Music History: August 7

1954:  Elvis Presley appeared at the Eagle's Nest in Memphis, Tennessee.

1955:  It was official, because it was on The Ed Sullivan Show.  Bill Haley & the Comets performed "Rock Around The Clock".  When the song went to #1 on July 9, the Rock Era began.
1957:  The Quarrymen (minus Paul McCartney, who was at Boy Scout Camp) made their first appearance at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England.
1957:  Paul Anka appeared on American Bandstand.
1957:  Buddy Holly and The Crickets begin their first major tour at the Howard Theater in Washington, D.C.

1963 - The movie Beach Party, starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, debuted. 
1963:  The Beatles had the top U.K. album with Please Please Me.  The Shadows' Greatest Hits package was #2, followed by Cliff Richards and Cliff's Hit Album, the Soundtrack to "West Side Story" was #4 with Elvis Presley's album It Happened at the World Fair #5.

1964:  The Rolling Stones kicked off the National Jazz Festival on the Richmond Athletic Grounds in Richmond, Surrey, England.
1965:  Mike Smith of the Dave Clark Five suffered broken ribs when loser fans pulled him from the stage in Chicago, Illinois.

1965:  The single was written for the Turtles by Bob Dylan, called "It Ain't Me Babe".  "It Ain't Me Babe" debuted on the chart on this date, starting the Turtles on their journey.
1965:  "Help" by the Beatles replaced "Mr. Tambourine Man" by the Byrds as the #1 song in England.
1965:  Gary Lewis & the Playboys were on top of the Easy Listening chart with "Save Your Heart For Me".

1965:  Wilson Pickett's great song "In The Midnight Hour" was #1 on the R&B chart.
1965:  Herman's Hermits reached #1 with "I'm Henry VIII, I Am", knocking off the Rolling Stones and "Satisfaction".  Tom Jones remained at 3 with "What's New Pussycat?", Gary Lewis & the Playboys had "Save Your Heart For Me" and Sonny & Cher moved from 22 to 5 with "I Got You Babe". 

1967:  The Box Tops released their single "The Letter".

1967:  Jackie Wilson released "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher".

1970:  Christine McVie joined the group Fleetwood Mac.
1970:  Chicago, Rod Stewart, Jethro Tull, Bob Seger, Ten Years After, Mountain, the James Gang, John Sebastian, Brownsville Station, the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Stooges with Iggy Pop and MC5 appeared at the three-day Goose Lake International Music Festival in Leoni, Michigan from August 7-9.  Over 200,000 attended the Festival over the three days.

1971:  Olivia Newton-John's first hit, her version of Bob Dylan's "If Not For You", reached #1 on the Easy Listening chart.

1971:  Aretha Franklin moved from 69 to 29 with "Spanish Harlem".

                                   The Raiders with their biggest career hit...

1971:  The Bee Gees moved up in a big way when "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" climbed from 6 to 1.  Paul Revere & the Raiders from Boise, Idaho remained at 2 with their former #1 "Indian Reservation".  The previous #1 "You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor was now at 3, with Jean Knight's "Mr. Big Stuff" and "Draggin' The Line" by Tommy James trailing.  The rest of the Top 10:  "Take Me Home, Country Roads" from John Denver, Carole King, from Stanley, Idaho,with "It's Too Late"/"I Feel the Earth Move", her double-sided smash, Chicago, with a double-sided hit of their own--"Beginnings" and "Colour My World", moving from 16-8, Tom Clay at #9 with "What The World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin And John" and Marvin Gaye's socially conscious "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)".
1972:  The Eagles were at the PNE Coliseum in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
1976:  "Getaway" from Earth, Wind & Fire was the top R&B song.  

1976:  Elton John & Kiki Dee teamed up for the smash of the summer--"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" that reached #1.  Gary Wright had to settle for #2 on "Love Is Alive" while newcomer Starbuck was next with "Moonlight Feels Right".  Wings had #4 with "Let 'Em In", the Bee Gees jumped from 11 to 5 with "You Should Be Dancing" and the Beach Boys were at 6 with "Rock And Roll Music".  The rest of the Top 10:  "Got To Get You Into My Life" from the Beatles, the Manhattans fell hard with "Kiss And Say Goodbye", Lou Rawls entered the Top 10 with "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" and the former #1 from Starland Vocal Band was at 10 with "Afternoon Delight".
1980:  John Lennon and Yoko Ono began recording of the album Double Fantasy at The Hit Factory in New York City.  (Note:  Some websites say that John Lennon began recording what turned out to be his final studio album, 'Double Fantasy', on August 4, 1980.  Other websites give various other dates as the beginning of the sessions.  According to keyboardist George Small, in the book 'Starting Over:  The Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Double Fantasy"' by Ken Sharp, rehearsals were held August 2, 4 and 5, but Lennon didn't begin recording until August 7.)
1981:  Phil Taylor of Motorhead was found guilty of possession of drugs.
1982:  Dexy's Midnight Runners found the top of the chart in the U.K. with "Come On Eileen".

1982:  Mirage by Fleetwood Mac was the new #1 album with Asia falling to #2.  Eye of the Tiger by Survivor moved up to 3 while John Cougar (Mellencamp) was fourth with the great album American Fool.  The rest of the Top 10:  Pictures at Eleven from Robert Plant, Abracadabra by Steve Miller Band, REO Speedwagon's Good Trouble at #7, the classic Toto IV at #8, Willie Nelson with Always On My Mind and Crosby, Stills & Nash with Daylight Again.
1984:  Esther Phillips ("What A Difference A Day Makes") died of liver and kidney failure in Torrance, California at the age of 48.  (Note:  some websites say Phillips died in Los Angeles, while 'MTV' and others say she died in Carson, California.  'MTV' says she died at the UCLA Medical Center in Carson.  There is a UCLA Medical Center on Carson Street, but it isn't in Carson, but rather in Torrance, confirmed by the newspaper 'The New York Times'.)
1991:  Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses was charged with assault and property damage for a riot he caused at a concert in St. Louis, Missouri.
1991:  In an effort to pay backtaxes, Willie Nelson sold his Colorado ranch for $803,000.
1995:  LL Cool J married Simone Johnson.
2000:  Jimi Hendrix's family won an international case to evict the owner of the Internet web site
2001:  Usher released the album 8701, named after the day it arrived in music stores.
2002:  Noel Gallagher, Andy Bell and Jay Darlington of Oasis were injured when their taxi was involved in a crash in Indianapolis.  They were taken to the hospital and treated for cuts and bruises.

2002:  The city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania saluted the group Yes with a day in their honor.
2003:  The Osmonds received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 
2005:  James Blunt had the top U.K. song with "You're Beautiful".
2005:  Mariah Carey owned the U.S. chart with "We Belong Together".
2007:  Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers began serving a three-year sentence in federal prison for income tax evasion.
2008:  A jumpsuit owned by Elvis Presley sold for $300,000, the highest price that a piece of Elvis memorabilia had ever gone for.  The white outfit with blue and gold peacock design was hand-embroidered on the front and back and along the pant legs.

Born This Day:

1925:  Felice Bryant (birth name Matilda Genevieve Scaduto), who, together with husband Boudleaux wrote several Everly Brothers hits ("All I Have To Do Is Dream", "Wake Up Little Susie" and "Bye Bye Love"), "Raining In My Heart" for Buddy Holly, and many others, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; died April 22, 2003 after being diagnosed with cancer in Gatlinburg, Tennesse.
1928:  Herb Reed of the Platters, an original Platter and the last surviving member who sang on the group's big hits, was born in Kansas City, Missouri; died June 4, 2012 of lung disease in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Note:  some websites claim Reed was born in 1931.  According to the newspapers 'The New York Times' and 'The Los Angeles Times' and 'Billboard' magazine, he was born in 1928.)

1942:  B.J. Thomas was born in Hugo, Oklahoma.
1945:  Kerry Chater, bassist of Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, was born in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
1947:  David Hodo (real name Richard Davis) of the Village People was born in Palo Alto, California.  (Note:  some websites state Davis was born in San Andreas, California, but according to 'MTV', he was born in Palo Alto.)
1949:  Carlo Novi, songwriter and tenor saxophonist of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, was born in Mexico City, Mexico.
1950:  Rodney Crowell, singer, songwriter and guitarist, was born in Houston, Texas.
1952:  Andy Fraser, songwriter and bassist of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and a founding member of the group Free at age 15, was born in Paddington, Middlesex, England; died March 16, 2015 after battling cancer and AIDS.  (Note:  some websites insist Fraser was born in Paddington, London or London.  London was not a county in 1952.  When Fraser was born, Paddington was included in the county of Middlesex.)
1958:  Bruce Dickinson, vocalist of Iron Maiden, was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England.
1960:  Jacqui O'Sullivan, singer/songwriter of Bananarama, was born in Hendon, Middlesex, England.  (Note:  several websites falsely report she was born in Hendon, London.  Hendon was historically in the county of Middlesex, and was not included in Greater London until 1965, five years after she was born.)
1964:  Ian Dench, guitarist and main songwriter of EMF, was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England.
1966:  Kristin Hersh, lead singer and guitarist with Throwing Muses and a solo performer, was born in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Top 100 Albums of All-Time in the Rock Era

This summer, we are featuring the Top 100 Albums of the Rock Era*.  We began May 1, and are featuring one album per day.  Click on any of the albums below to read its story.  Here is the complete list:

#100--Tusk, by Fleetwood Mac
#99--Millennium, by the Backstreet Boys
#98--Physical Graffiti, by Led Zeppelin
#97--Learning to Crawl, by the Pretenders
#96--Brothers in Arms, by Dire Straits
#95--II, by Boyz II Men
#94--A Song For You, by the Carpenters
#93--Spice, by the Spice Girls
#92--The End of the Innocence, by Don Henley
#91--Rhythm Nation 1814, by Janet Jackson
#90--Back in the High Life, by Steve Winwood
#89--Whitney, by Whitney Houston
#88--Rubber Soul, by the Beatles
#87--Double Vision, by Foreigner
#86--Heart in Motion, by Amy Grant
#85--Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, by Elton John
#84--Silk Degrees, by Boz Scaggs
#83--Guilty, by Barbra Streisand
#82--Cracked Rear View, by Hootie and the Blowfish
#81--Different Light, by the Bangles
#80--Tracy Chapman, by Tracy Chapman
#79--Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, by Elton John
#78--Graceland, by Paul Simon
#77--Metallica, by Metallica
#76--Bat out of Hell, by Meat Loaf
#75--The Cars, by the Cars
#74--In Pieces, by Garth Brooks
#73--Abraxas, by Santana
#72--52nd Street, by Billy Joel