Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
In the history of recorded music there aren’t many albums where every song has received significant airplay. From Frank Sinatra to The Beatles to Fleetwood Mac to Michael Jackson and beyond, even the biggest sellers with multiple chart-topping singles had some tracks that never hit the airwaves. Off the top of my follically-challenged head, only Boston’s 1976 self-titled debut can boast that all eight of its songs were pop &/or rock radio staples through the ’70s & ’80s, and most of them are still well-known by subsequent generations who continue to discover this amazing album. Although presented as the work of a quintet of musicians, it’s essentially a home-studio recording by all-around technological whiz/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Tom Scholz and the vocal brilliance of Brad Delp. Two of the musicians who would become part of the group, guitarist Barry Goudreau and bassist Fran Sheehan, only appear sporadically, while drummer Sib Hashian contributes to all but one song. I love the two subsequent Boston albums, including 1986’s Third Stage (which I covered as part of my Thirty-Year Thursday series in 2016), but nothing quite compares to their initial offering. Also, how cool is that album cover?
For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.
From GREAT OUT OF THE GATE Part 1:
Even more than their fellow New Englanders The Cars, Boston’s debut album might be the closest any artist has ever come to releasing a “greatest hits” at the start of their career. Sure, they had other successful singles and albums, but there was no way they were ever going to top this record, which pretty much came to define AOR (album-oriented rock). The combination of Tom Scholz’s songwriting & one-of-a-kind guitar sound and Brad Delp’s seemingly limitless vocal range made them the perfect band for both AM and FM radio in the ‘70s. All eight tracks have received airplay over the years, with “More Than A Feeling,” “Peace Of Mind” and “Foreplay/Long Time” the most recognizable thanks to classic rock stations. Those three took up Side A, and the consistency of the remaining tracks on the flip side set Boston apart from anything else released at the time: “Rock And Roll Band,” “Smokin’,” “Hitch A Ride,” “Something About You” and “Let Me Take You Home Tonight” are all cut from the same cloth but each has its own distinct charms.
So who agrees that this is not only a great debut album but also one of the best all-around records ever released? And can anyone point to another non-compilation where every song got significant radio exposure?