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Boston: "Don't Look Back" seq Kris Kelley

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  • Wild West Productions 2007
    Sounds just like the record! The arena rock group behind one of the fastest-selling debut albums in history, Boston was essentially the vehicle of studio
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 6, 2007
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      Sounds just like the record! 

      The arena rock group behind one of the fastest-selling debut albums in history, Boston was essentially the vehicle of studio wizard Tom Scholz, born March 10, 1947, in Toledo, OH. A rock fan throughout his teen years, he began writing songs while earning a master's degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After graduation, he began work for Polaroid, and eventually joined a local band led by guitarist Barry Goudreau. Though Scholz signed on as a keyboardist, he also began learning guitar, and his quick mastery of the instrument soon allowed him to take full control of the band.

      At the same time, Scholz set about constructing his own 12-track recording studio in the basement of his home, where the group -- now dubbed Boston and including Goudreau, vocalist Brad Delp, bassist Fran Sheehan, and drummer John "Sib" Hashian -- recorded the demos that earned them a contract with Epic in 1975. Although some recording and overdubs were later done in Los Angeles, the 1976 release of Boston consisted largely of Scholz's original basement tapes; spawning three hit singles ("More Than a Feeling," "Long Time," and "Peace of Mind"), the LP shot immediately to the top of the charts, and remained the best-selling pop debut effort in history before it was supplanted by Whitney Houston's first album in 1986.

      Despite the record's overwhelming success, Scholz spent over two years working on the follow-up, 1978's number one hit Don't Look Back; a perfectionist, he only then released the album because of intense label pressure for product. Unsatisfied with the results, he swore to produce the next album at his own pace; as a result, the chart-topping Third Stage did not appear until 1986, at which time only Scholz and Delp remained from the original lineup.

      Scholz spent the next several years in the courtroom: first, he was sued by Goudreau, who alleged that Scholz had damaged his solo recording career (they settled out of court); next, he won a seven-year battle against Epic, which claimed Boston had reneged on its contract by taking so long between releases. When the band resurfaced again in 1994 with Walk On, Scholz was the lone remaining member; Delp and Goudreau had reunited in 1992 as RTZ, releasing the album Return to Zero. Unlike previous returns, Walk On was a notable failure. Radio and MTV ignored any attempts at singles or videos, and the minimalist approach taken by the popular alternative artists of the era made the crystalline production and lengthy recording time seem like an egotistical exercise. Compounding the problem was the poor songwriting, which could no longer be hidden with glossy production techniques. Scholz still hit the road to support it, but upon his return to the studio he knew he had to approach his situation differently.

      Taking another eight years to work on the next record, he targeted the Internet crowd first by releasing a single to www.MP3.com in the summer of 2002. The track became the site's number one download, and word of their new album spread quickly. Secondly, Scholz set his lyrical sights on political targets, going so far as to title the record Corporate America as he emphasized his disdain for the system he had been a vital part of at one time. Releasing the record in the fall of that year, Boston didn't even have another member anymore and the following tour was postponed while Scholtz searched for accompaniment.

      In addition to his fame as a musician, Scholz also found success as an inventor and businessman. In 1981, he formed Scholz Research & Design, Inc., a company founded to create high-tech music equipment. After first developing the Power Soak, a volume-control device, SR&D introduced the Rockman, a small and inexpensive guitar amplifier with headphones. The Rockman proved phenomenally popular with other musicians, and the capital generated from its sales helped fund Scholz's further musical ambitions. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

      Written by Jason Ankeny
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