Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Re-Boston | Lefsetz Letter


Hi Bob,

Here’s a 4-5min news video of Tom Scholz returning to the basement where he recorded the Boston album while working for Polaroid in nearby Waltham, MA after college. The news piece is also produced by Mission of Burma bassist Clint Conley, who works for local Channel 5. There’s a vignette about how he came to get half the producing credit for the album from the CBS Records producer.

David Neylon


Subject: Thank you from the Mothership at BOSTON

Thank you for writing about BOSTON in your newsletter today.

With gratitude,
Gail Parenteau


The first Boston album changed my life. I was one of those “millions” who burned their way through the vinyl needing to hear those songs, and Brad’s voice, over and over again.

I also had the pleasure of being a member of Boston.

I was the co-lead singer and guitarist right after Brad passed away. I was in the band from 2007 to 2011. I was invited to sing during what most thought would be Boston’s last show – a tribute show to Brad Delp. That took place in August of 2007 at The Bank of America Pavilion in Boston. Tom liked my performance so much that he asked me if I would like to join the band right after the show! That eventually turned into more touring (56 shows with Styx opening) and I was thrilled to be a part of it.

Brad was one of a kind and is irreplaceable. I did my best each night to pay great respects to a voice that inspired me immensely as a singer. There will never be another one like him.

Having seen it first hand from the stage night after night, you are right – the songs on that first album were magical. Seeing the fans react to them from stage is still one of the greatest feelings I’ve experienced as a vocalist/guitarist.

You mentioned that Tom Scholz was not an easy going character. You’re not the first that I’ve heard say that. Oddly enough, I never experienced that from him, at all. I found him to be a an amazing guy and he was always very courteous and professional to me. After 35 years of doing this, I’ve certainly seen my share of egos on the road. He never struck me that way whatsoever.

Thanks for writing about one of the greatest albums in rock history.

Michael Sweet


That LP was a true independent LP. Totally made without label money. Master made and handed over to the label.

The corporate rock tag was unfair and based on the artwork!!

Larry Tepper


You could be deaf and know that these two songs were hits: “Hold the Line” by Toto and “More Than a Feeling” by Boston. ‘Nuff said.

Bob Paris


lol That sure is nice Bob.

I LOVE Boston. Period. Great songs-Great records . Scholz rules. Loved Brad too. What a voice!! Got to jam with him once.

Steve Lukather


I’m glad you took a minute to clarify the band’s true place. At what point does someone’s methodical and meticulous attention to musical detail render them ‘corporate’ or premeditated? Nobody else did what TS came up with. It was original enough and the sound was so dynamic that mentioning Phil Spector wouldn’t be out of line.

I remember the day that Paul Ahern stopped by BCN (I was also music director) to play me the song on a reel to reel. More Than A.. was undeniable. A monster track no less captivating than ‘Do Ya’ or subsequent ELO efforts. We carted it up and it was one of the only songs where the phones lit up immediately to the point where we must have played it four times in a row. For a couple of weeks it was also exempt from our policy of not playing the same song more than one shifts in the same day. Lenny Pietze the promotion guy for Columbia heard it and came running down to the station to get a copy and he ended up as an A&R guy having discovered a Boston legend.

Funny that you mention hearing music in your head. It happens to me all day. Songs pop up that seem to have no bearing on what is happening around me nor are they limited to any genre. The mental jukebox just pushes that button and I start singing.

John Brodey


I’ll never forget where I was when I heard the first Boston album. I was in David Krebs’ office, of music managers Leber-Krebs fame. They were also the producers of Beatlemania (the show I starred in for them) as well as Mgrs for Aerosmith, Parliament Funkedelic, Mahogany Rush, Ted Nugent, AC/DC and more later. The album sat next to the turntable and I put it on. With a relationship to all things CBS, it had just been delivered to the office with other new Columbia releases.

As the fade-in intro to “More Than a Feeling” built up from the speakers, I was hooked. Then came the chorus, with it’s infectious chords and hand claps. Amazing. I turned to Tom Werman, legendary record producer and visiting at the moment. “Tom! Where have you heard this before, kind of?” He couldn’t place it but it did sound familiar to him.
Then it struck me. The James Gang. The musical chorus/bridge to to Joe Walsh’s “Tend My Garden.”
“That’s it!” agreed Tom. And as interviews would show later on, Tom Scholz’ was a major fan of Walsh himself.

Tom Scholz did indeed take his influences and make them his own.

On a side note, Brad Delp came to some run thru’s of Beatlemania in Boston during 1977 previews. He came backstage and I was in awe. What a voice. When he said, “Man, I wish I could sing like you!” I was floored. And I told him he was already much better than that and we laughed. He was a very nice guy and humble about his talent.

Mitch Weissman


i was sitting in the legendary harvey leeds office at epic and asked him how they broke boston.without a seconds hesitation,he gave me one of the greatest answers a promo guy could give about a perfect record,”the mailman delivered that record”

Larry Mazer


Many many Boston stories!!

Harvey Leeds


Great piece. I knew they were going to break big the first time I heard them play It was at the Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, in September of 1976. I remember seeing Tom’s hack of the Echoplex (where I had worked) with the throttle cable to move the distance between the record and playback heads. Classic Tom Scholtz. Got the call to go out with them on their first arena tour soon after. Must have heard those songs hundreds of times between sound checks and performances. Lately I’ve been thinking about them a lot. First because that was the first “big” tour I went out on. And second because I still have Brad, Fran and their manager, Charlie McKenzie’s bookeeper as my bookeeper.

Thank you for bringing them up. RIP Brad Delp, Sibby Hashian and the old Grey Ghost (The tour Manager, Joe Striegler)

Lee Rose


Tom Scholz was the right man at the right time with the right sound. That first album, born in his basement, was a production masterpiece. It had an unmistakable sonic sheen and arrived at a time when compressed FM broadcast signals made it sound bigger than it already was. Leave it to an M.I.T. grad and tech gear head to get it right. Now, 44 years later, it still sounds terrific because it’s so impeccably produced. Scholz also made a fortune with his Rockman equipment company before selling it in 1995. My favorite story about their debut album came from their then co-manager Paul Ahern. When asked about the band’s follow-up album, Ahern said (half jokingly) “We’re re-releasing the debut album as Boston’s Greatest Hits.’

Dave Logan


Ah yes—
Being in radio when the music was so good that it wasn’t a question of IF we were going to play the album…
But how MANY songs we were going to play from the album.

Marty Bender


Oh They will. Lets face it. RRHF is holding on some acts so they can continue the annual awards for their benefit. Because another decade they are going to run out of acts who are worthy. How many bands are qualified from the past 10 years alone to be inducted. Ok I’m putting my bid in for The Archies lol.

Thanks Bob,

Frank Ball


At the end, Brad used to sing at the local roadhouse (Sit ‘n Bull) in Maynard, MA with his Beatles cover band. And then he was gone.

Thank you for recalling Boston.


Fred Bement


Bob…. Thanks! Had one of those trippy moments today when your e-mail hit my inbox….. at the exact time I was texting with someone about great albums and we were discussing Boston. You’re so right, always a classic!

I’ve enjoyed you the last month… your passion for and reality of the state of the nation is right on… thanks.

The Manhattan Transfer


Great piece on Boston Bob.
I knew Brad. He sang backgrounds in the studio for me on some tracks one time.
he said his vocals on the first album were all out of tune. what ears. what a genius genius. he could mimic all the Beatles singing . and i mean DEAD ON.

When I first heard it … it was like science fiction music.

crazy different.

Anthony J. Resta


I enjoyed your Boston piece – saw them in 1978 at the Montreal Forum.

Michael Craig


Did you catch the first episode of last season on Ray Donovan? The scores a a whole scene with “foreplay/long time”. Incredible.

Tim Lefebvre


I do the same thing, Bob, when I’m feeling good — I put on the SACD of the self-titled Boston album, close my eyes, and I slip away…

Fun fact — invert the first few signature chords of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and you get “More Than a Feeling.”

Mike Mettler
The SoundBard


Amen Bob,
I’m grateful that I was on that wave when it broke.

Jay Craik


When I was a kid growing up in Maine in the 70s/80s we had a farmhouse which we rented to students from Bowdoin college. Each summer, when they left town, I would scour the boxes of things they left behind and this is how I bolstered my early record collection. These discarded carloads of records were gold mines for a kid with no money or way into town, but a growing musical curiosity. I was only 9 or 10 years old and had little concept of the arc of rock music and my interest was mostly peaked by whatever art was on the album’s cover. Kiss, Ted Nugent, and the Tubes, I remember, had provocative covers, but the music didn’t grab me. Boston’s “4” album cover seemed cool with it’s flying saucer vibe, so I put that on and those strangely likable first chords floated out into the air. One by one, each song took me away. It was simple music, but just like you said, so so good. That worn out record stayed with me all the way though my own college years, when I tacked the cover to my wall, somewhat ironically. I bought the CD version to listen to in the 90’s and probably left it behind in some rental house where I hope a kid like me picked it up and dug it just as I did back then.

Arthur Bradford


There was nothing generic about the guitar intro. It was completely unique. When it came on it blew your hair back. You actually articulate the reason why later in your post. Scholz invented that sound. He had a BA and Masters from MIT and worked for Polaroid. He wasn’t simply a tinkerer. The band also wasn’t “passed by”. The interesting part of the story was how he gave the label the finger and was able to because he went on to found Scholz Research & Development, Inc and the Rockman was born. It was then used ubiquitously on record after record perhaps most famously by the mentioned Mutt Lange on Hysteria.

-Tag Gross


Thanks for that
For some reason I found myself smiling at the end. Good story
All my best

Jeff Harris


Boston saved me from the Disco Era.

Yours truly,

Bob D’Eith


“Foreplay” (sans “Long Time”) was the b-side to “Peace of Mind.” “Peace Of Mind” as the a-side did pretty well to the best of my recollection, although the single version is edited to a considerable degree.

— Greg Debonne


Always a pleasure to see the same feelings in you, as I had and have about music. Thanks from germany.

Thomas Bopp


Great narrative on a classic album, but I cannot believe that you overlooked the fact the Boston literally created the power ballad genre with, “Amanda”! That chorus screamed louder in perfect Boston unison, than any of their tracks imo. JR


I’m 53 and to this day, whenever a Boston song comes on I crank it. I could listen to it anytime on the streaming services, but there is something about an unplanned listen that is just fantastic. What a great album and a great band. The guitar and vocals were just incredible. Thanks for the write up!

Tim Stevenson


Greatly enjoyed your column on Boston. After all these years I still get a kick out of
Foreplay/Long Time.

You might be aware of this group, The Lexington Lab Band. They do a great job of recreating
classic rock tunes. Here’s their take on Foreplay/Long Time:


Thank you for your columns.




When I first met my wife, also a music fan, we spent some time grilling each other over our tastes and dislikes. One of the things we were in sync on completely was that neither of us had ever tuned to another station if a Boston song came on in the car…ever. We’ve now been married 25 years and that is still the rule. They are timeless and still awesome.


Bob Ferguson


Their first album was 8 songs, 38 minutes. It was their greatest hits record, and a debut. Never been done before, never will happen again.

Great letter!

-adam berberich


Nailed it. I’ve never been afraid to include the debut among my list of best albums ever. It’s truly a perfect record and still sounds great. And also spot on as to why they never followed it up.

The story of Boston was always about the illusion of a band that was really Scholz creating the magic in the studio.

I remember reading an article about Def Leppard “Hysteria” album where they were overdubbing single notes of chords much like the way Scholz constructed some of his recordings.

Mark Brut
Denver, CO


Thanks for inspiring me to break the first Boston album out again today. For my money, the glorious chorus to “Something About You” bests anything Boston’s so-called “arena rock” contemporaries ever did.

-Carlos Ramirez


Absolutely still to this day, one of the greatest rock albums ever recorded. That 1 social media post still goes around asking the question of 5 albums you need if you’re stranded on a desert island. The first Boston album, followed by The Eagles Hotel California, Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy, Deep Purple Machine Head, and Queen News of the World. All 70’s.

Leni DiMancari


Thanks for the thoughts on Boston. Nailed it! I was in high school during that time and remember hearing those Boston songs for the first time-they were so unique, fresh and unlike anything we’d heard before. Made for some great cruising nights in rural Kansas.

Bruce Dyson


Riccardo Formosa”s guitar solo on that LRB tune was cut in one take while he was sick as a dog and just wanted to go home to bed. The oddest things can inspire performance.

Sidney Cooke


The guitar solo in ‘Hitch A Rid’e is likely the most underrated guitar solo in Rock. Fucking phenomenal!

Best Regards,

Eric Seifert


That organ – the Hammond M3

Jonathan Mendez


That sound came out of FM radio at just the right time. I was young, but the first album hooked me. My first concert was my dad taking me to see Boston at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in 1979on the Don’t Look Back tour. They lost me after that, but that first album still is really fun to listen to. And I have loved live music ever since.

Neil H. Bookspan


There are lots of videos of Tom Scholz explaining how he became an engineer and a musician that are just wonderful

Entire album was recorded in his basement studio

Tom Scholz: The Start of It

Tom Scholz: Sound Machine

Tom Scholz interview – Boston/More Than A Feeling

Its really a fantastic story.

-Barry Ritholtz


“Foreplay/Long Time” since it dropped has been my go to cartridge, speaker, amp test track. The range, the depth and the joy.
Andrew Forsyth
Dundas ON. Canada


I certainly agree with you! Boston came in like a hurricane around January 76″ with airplay of “Foreplay/Long Time.” that kept me mesmerized both in my car and at home with headphones cranked up. As the year progressed, we finally hit the next level after rockin out to Frampton for the 1st have of the year!

I finally got to see the 1st Tour, October 3rd 1976 At Chicago’s Uptown Theatre and of course blown away with Tom & Brad! Tom Scholz was not just a front man, he was a great player and really had to classify him in the category of: Todd Rundgren and Skunk Baxter with being a brain in technology and music production. As in all bands, the trick is to survive and sustain the decade..




Listen to the record! The third best liner note after A splendid time is guaranteed for all and And nobody played synthesizer. Thanks Bob PS Can’t believe you didn’t mention Peace of Mind



Spectacular album!!! Extra props to the author of the album liner note. So over the top but the prose matches the energy of the album.

Decatur, GA


“Bob goes to 11” :-). Your clearly genuine connection to this record is inspiring. As in, inspiring me to revel in this gem once again, for the umpteenth time. Thanks always!

Jeff G.


Thank you Bob…

I remember hearing it the first time at my friend’s indy-record store… Rainbow Records…

Right across the street from my Grandma’s house… It was after the store closed…

He played it on a Technics Turntable through a Marantz system with JBL stereo monitors… The kind the studios used…

He designed the room as a listening space to host album debut parties in a day when a new album was something to be excited about…

I can still smell the mixture of sandalwood incense and weed…

And you just described it perfectly… like you were having sex with it… Like the way we remember our first meaningful lover…

Keith Miller


Excellent piece. And, like a track off of Boston’s debut, just the right length.
I was 13 when that album came out, and the intro to MTAF was a key reason I wanted a guitar.
You’ll get a lot of emails saying the same thing I bet.
Scholz’s electric tone was so incredible, he put it in a box and sold it!
But the acoustic guitars provided texture, dynamics, and warmth—humanity!
I still play and write, still love the guitar, and still love that first album. Always will.
Rob Hargadon


100%!! I turned 9 the day before Boston’s first record came out. I had been into rock music for about a year after having discovered The Beatles thanks to my best friend’s three older brothers, who collectively had everything from Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers going forward to the present day in their collections. Boston was on the radio constantly back then, and they sounded so good! I’m pretty sure every song on that record got airplay on the local rock station, even the non-singles. The local record stores, we had two in my small college town (the store closer to my house and the campus was called “Hot Wax, New Licks” – always loved that!), had the giant posters and other Boston swag on display. The guitars/spaceships cover art! I was just getting into Sci-Fi then too, so double the impact on me. A few months ago I came across the isolated vocal track from More Than A Feeling on YouTube. So good I cried listening to it.


Dave Nelson


I was a young one when Boston was filling the enormo-domes and football stadiums across the USA, and wanted nothing to do with the dinosaurs of the 70s as I “matured”, but in my later years, I grew to appreciate Tom Scholz’ songs that celebrated the transportive power of rock-n-roll. “Feelin’ Satisfied”, though off the difficult second album, was the ultimate anthem, Brad Delp’s vocals urging YOU to “COME ON!!!…PUT YOUR HANDS TOGETHER!!!…COME ON!!!…YOU KNOW IT’S NOW OR NEVER…TAKE A CHANCE ON ROCK-N-ROLL!!!” Hell, the whole lyric sheet is filled with the power of ROCK. All about what you spoke of: turning it up, turning you off and getting lost in the music. We need more tunes like this today and forever!
Warmest Regards, Brian Friel


Such a perfect record. Worked in the headphones, worked in the car, worked outside in the summer.
Played to death, and everyone in the clubs wanted every band to play it, but no one could do the vocals.

Brad was awesome and left us too soon. But Utica’s own Fran Cosmo (Migliaccio, lay it on him if you ever interview him) has stepped into the breach. He and his two brothers had the Royals, later Celebration, contemporaries of Ronnie (Padavona) Dio and the Prophets, Eric and the Chessmen, Wilmer and the Dukes – do you know of these iconic upstate NY bands? All three brothers had voices that started in the stratosphere and went up from there. Fran had his own group, Orion the Hunter, toured with and eventually joined Boston, still touring.

Best regards,
Darryl Mattison


Hey Bob, Absolutely loved that first Boston album too and still get a bit nostalgic when I hear it. When I was 7 or 8 an Air Force buddy of my dad’s was being sent overseas and needed to travel light or something. He brought me a box of all his vinyl and gave it to me. This was around 1976 or 1977 and there were probably 30 albums in the box. Coolest gift ever. Zeppelin 1 and 2, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and first Boston album plus Bitches Brew and Love Supreme to name some of them. It’s been about the music ever since. I wore the grooves off that Boston album. It’s Been Such a Long Time…

Thanks for sharing.

Dan Herrington


Loved the first album and was lucky enough to work it a radio. They were on Epic not Columbia.
Alan Oreman


They were on Epic Bob I know because I was working for CBS Records when the 1st album came out I was a Inventory clerk It was amazing to come into a store back then a week after it came out And have the Record Department Manger scream at you that he needed another 60 LPS ASAP I was 21 @ the time I never had seen anything like that happen for a Band that wasn’t even a month old @ that point CBS had 22 Sales Branch Offices @ the time That kind of depth in the Market place allowed them to be able to sell over 7 million on Boston’s Debut album Then Epic followed the same game plan and sold I think 7 million on Bat out Of Hell Then Cheap Trick Live

What I great time to start a career in the Music Business In July of 1978 Epic made me their Local Promotion Manger based in Buffalo It was my big break into be a Promo Guy I was 22 years old back then A month into it I got a call from Sandy Beach the PD @ WKBW Buffalo He was screaming @ me “Where’s My New Boston Single ” I said excuse me but I’m not aware that there is one yet Turns out Sandy Beach heard the song on a Toronto Station who got a advance copy early Knew no one else had So they were pounding it I had to call the NY Office and Ask if this song “Don’t Look Back” was in fact was the New Boston Single from their 2nd Album Their question why do you want to know ? I told about the Sandy Beach phone call I got They put me on Then came back on the line and told me they were going to send me 20 Acetate of the Single It was going to be on a US Air flight that would arrive that night That was my official Baptism By Fire as a Epic LPM who’s territory was within ear shot of Toronto Radio Turns out somebody in Canada what to jump the Worldwide Release date for the 1st Single from the 2nd Boston Album So they gave it the Canadian Radio station in Toronto The shot heard round the world

Kevin F. Sutter


I heard a ref the Boston record for the first time at a party during the Columbia Records convention in LA in 1976. As soon as the needle dropped the room fell silent. It was that powerful. Still is.
Phil Brown


Scholz also had a beautifully liquid, sweet guitar tone that massaged your ears instead of assaulting them. We had a discussion once about why red LEDs are the best distortion elements ever for overdrive effects boxes 🙂

Craig Anderton


every morning I go on walkabouts.. I’m always listening to music that’s apart from my usual forte…
And this morning it twas’ Boston… swear to god!
And then I remember many Summers ago we went to see them in concert.. you had VIP passes and we had a great time….

Kindest Cheers,
Jeff Laufer


Love it! Selling-out doesn’t mean “selling records”. It means making music or supporting a message you don’t believe in…just for the money & attention.

In the 90’s I asked Ed DeGarmo from EMI/CMG if he liked the demos for our new album. He said, “Who cares what I like? Don’t make music trying to impress people. Only release the songs you believe in. Because if the the company, the critics, radio and the fans don’t like your songs…and YOU don’t like them, then NOBODY likes them. You have to live the rest of your life with that. But if YOU believe in them, and nobody likes them, well you can live with that. Now, go make music YOU believe in that we can sell to millions of people!”

Steve Wiggins


Spot on as always, And not to add to your moral confusion, but Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekelow has a band that did a killer cover of “Foreplay/Long Time”: www.youtube.com/watch?v=om-oM-gXPEs

Jeff Curran


Listening to music really is a form of time travel.

I’ve been arguing for years that “More than a feeling” is one of, if not the best rock songs of all time. It’s a song about listening to music and that making everything else alright.

It takes me to the cornfields of Iowa and October of 1999, I’m driving with my best friend and we are cranking this cd, the only cd we have with us, in the rental car. My buddy is singing along and hitting all the Brad Delp notes to my shock.

Two weeks later my friend dies in a freak accident and for the rest of my life “More than a feeling” will serve as a time travel device to transport me back to that weekend with my best friend when everything was alright.



When you testify like this I LOVE IT! While I agree that DON’T LOOK BACK was largely a rush job (I liken it in some ways to VAN HALEN II in that manner), I think “Used to Bad News” is incredible, and THIRD STAGE has some great moments on it too!

Any thoughts on the soundalike singer they discovered via MySpace (of all places) in Tommy DeCarlo?

Stay well, sir!

– Doug Odell (formerly of Muze)


Bob – loved this. I was a high-school senior when the Boston album came out, and it was huge. I played it until you could see through the vinyl. What a great record, and I still turn it up when it comes on the radio (or my Deezer Hifi shuffle.)

As for “Feels Like the First Time,” I still remember what curve I was rounding in my little town in Upstate NY when it first came on the radio. AM. It sounded AMAZING through those tiny speakers. A friend and I found out Foreigner was going to play nearby (Hartford Civic Center) – opening a 3-way package with 38 Special and Lynyrd Skynyrd. We stuck around for the headliners, but we were northerners – it was Foreigner we were there for.

Jeff Calvin
Camp Hill PA


Corporate rock. Does Boston qualify?

I’d say yes to that question. I also have to say that Corporate rock is among my least favorite genres of music ever … lumped in with 80’s hair metal bands. I never cared for much of any of either of those genres. Boston was always one of my least favorite bands, and still are. Boston, Styx, Kansas, etc., etc. They have more recently been elevated a slight notch above the bottom of the pile for me by Florida-Georgia line, and some of the other of what passes for country on mainstream country radio these days. I guess you’d lump it all into bro-country. Still Boston, et. al., don’t reside very far above that still to my ears and soul. Nothing against any of the players personally or their musicianship, I just can’t really stand to listen to any of it. It all sounds kinda corporately manufactured to me.

Al Moss


No lengthy rebuttal but Boston sucked then and it sucks now. Plastic music. The music equivalent of USA Today. Soulless.

Harold Love


Beautifully written – and I could not agree more – you have reflected my feelings exactly. This first Boston album continues to be one of my top 5 or 10 albums of all time.
And there is an emotional uplift to is that is always there. Hitch A Ride is probably my favorite song on the album and I’m glad you mentioned it. I might add that the 1st Foreigner album was also magical in its own way as you mentioned.

You have redeemed yourself for elevating Depeche Mode – which I continue to maintain is pure shit!

Derek Morris


You nailed it Bob! Just when I think you’ve gone ‘too far’ with certain topics and I’m gonna ‘unsubscribe’ from your emails… you pull me back in with a piece like this. JUST LIKE ROCK N ROLL!

Thanks Bob!

Kevnn Robinson


I’ll bet you get filleted for this one. But that debut is one of the best ever, period. I always loved “Hitch a Ride,” but I’m a guitar player. That record is brilliant, and I’m not sure if it’s nostalgia, I was 8, and I actively played it recently, after avoiding it for years. I know every word, on every track. 44 years later. Not a ton of new records I can say that about.
dp aka
David Cameron


My first experience with Boston was as a “dorm dad” at UMass in Amherst from 1976 to 1979 where my ex-wife was head of residence of one of the dorms in the Northeast Campus. Students would put their stereo speakers in the windows of their dorm rooms, all tuned to the station that was playing entire Boston album sides, likely WMUA, and party outside in the quad. Given there were 11 dorms, with a central grassy area, this was quite a social and sonic experience.

Though I was more interested in Weather Report, Bob Marley, Elvis Costello or Archie Shepp in those days, I learned to appreciate the booming sounds of Boston as appreciated proudly by the native settlers by sheer repeated exposure alone. Those minutemen were responsible for more than a few items of furniture hurled out the window after a beer too many! We knew when the music started what was going to happen. (FWIW my daughter commemorated the dorm in these moments with a hand drawing featured across 2 pages in the UMass yearbook!)

One thing is for sure. There was never any other band that satisfied these students the way Boston did.

Ken Shain


Nice work Bob.

I remember the fall of ‘76 and that period well. 7th grade/jr high for me, just turning 12. All anyone could talk about was Foreigner & Boston. Before, during and after class. Man, what we wouldn’t give to have that music back again eh!
You mentioned the 1st album vs the rest. You’re pretty much spot-on. They’re not alone in that regard. Isn’t it interesting how most bands can rarely replicate their best work, usually on their debut album? Not always, but frequently.
I wonder if it’s just our perception? Or is it just too hard to have that many great ideas? At a minimum, as time goes by it becomes harder and harder to “capture lightning in a bottle” again. ( Fleetwood Mac – Rumours would be the best example I can think of)

I will say, we saw Tom, Brad & Co do the entire Third Stage album live on the ‘86 tour and it was off the charts. Very good. We all miss Brad, as they were a great band. They’re still worth paying to see howler. Every time I see them live, even to this day, I love to watch Tom. He’s so fully invested in his craft and the fine technical details.

Thanks for all your work & thoughts each week Bob.

Brooke Smith
Salt Lake City, UT


1976 was the year I graduated high school, and that first Boston LP , you are spot on, there was nothing quite like it on the radio, and hearing More Than A Feeling for the first time on the radio, well it is hard to put into words how amazing it sounded and how unlike anything else out there sounded like at the time. I harken that radio moment to the first time I smoked actually got high smoking pot in the back seat of my childhood friend, Bob’s Ford Mustang. When he put on Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love and cranked with his 6×9 Jensen speakers installed in the back window, it felt like a religious experience with Page’s guitar and Plant’s vocals jumping from speaker to speaker. Also agreed with your assessment as to why more bands did not pick up on the whole acoustic guitar to electric guitar thing as Zep did so well back then . Tom sure got that right!

And perhaps there were some folks who did not know Lou Gramm and Mick Jones, well I did not know anything about Lou but the buzz was big in my Midwest town for that first Foreigner LP , because we all had been ardent Spooky Tooth fans so Mick’s guitar was a known commodity to us. I might point out that for me , the highlight for me on that album was At War With The World which kinda reminded me of Spooky and could easily have fit in as one of their songs. Also the ballad Fool For You Anyway, a fantastic song that I always played for any new girlfriend. Love your musical passion Bob, I share it as well as many of your loyal readers . Keep it up!

Chuck Steffen


In the early summer of 1976, late May or early June, my buddies, John Block, Lee Putnam and I we’re at the home of a friend, Ann Reilly, whose parents were rarely home. Ann’s father Bill, worked for RCA records, had a gold album of John Denver’s greatest hits and a gold Country Roads single framed in his music studio room, which also had a baby grand piano. The shelves of his music studio were lined with thousands of albums, most of which I had never seen, as I was only 15 years old, and mostly purchased only 45s.

We were thumbing through his collection and playing random albums on his turntable based specifically on the artwork alone. I happened upon the coolest cover art I had ever seen, the city of Boston encased in a bubble, on a guitar shaped spaceship! We marveled at the cover art of this promotional copy alone for a good five minutes before removing the record and placing it on the turntable. The intro was so soft that we turned it up loud enough to hear it come in, and as it built, the walls rattled. We played “More Than A Feeling” at least three times before we advanced to another song.

We sat through the entire album at least once and a few songs twice, Foreplay/Long Time and Hitch A Ride. The next day, those familiar but too unfamiliar songs still lingering and partially branded on my mind began to haunt. I made my way back over to Ann’s house only to see John walking up to her house coming from the opposite direction, we were hooked and wanted more. We sat on the floor reading the liner notes and listening to the album at least twice more. Neither of us had the know-how or cable savviness to make a wired copy this album over to cassette tape, but that didn’t stop us.

I loaded up my royal blue Panasonic “take n tape” cassette player/recorder with a Maxell high bias 90 minute tape, pressed Record and Play simultaneously, and dropped the needle on side one. We walked out into the backyard so we could get our wireless recording without our background noise. When side one ended I flipped the tape, rewound it and recorded side two. We made multiple copies and passed them around the neighborhood to friends who wanted and envied ours. By mid June I knew every lyric, keyboard stroke, guitar lick, bass lick, and drum roll on every song.

On the day “More Than A Feeling” made its debut appearance on the radio, I felt like my new friends had hit the big time. I still listen to this album frequently, own several copies of it on album, cassette, CD, and even once had an 8-track tape that included some instrumentals that were not on the album that filled the gaps to balance out the tracks.

Bruce Avera Hunter


Klaatu still listening to the lp on original vinyl

David Kessler


WOW! I didn’t think I’d ever see that name (Klaatu) in print again.

You gotta do a piece on them. PLEEEEEEEZE !!!



My ears perked up when I saw you mention Klaatu. Did they get the full page newspaper feature articles in the US like they did here? or I wonder if they were bigger here because it all started ( & ended). in Toronto?

Reminded my of a couple of entries in my old twitter scrapbook thread



Steve Cole


Maybe it’s my odd sense of humor but I always found it wonderfully ironic that Boston is considered the most egregious example of” corporate” rock even though the whole thing was recorded in some guy’s (Tom S obviously) basement.

Michael Eigen


Hello Bob… I take offense at your comment suggesting that Klaatu was phony. We were anything but. We made the music we wanted to hear on the radio and not all of it was Beatlesque! We certainly vied away from the cheesy ‘Arena Rock’ that defined “Boston”. Unique, ground breaking songs like this were what we were doing:


Cheers… Terry Draper. Klaatu member and co-author of “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft”.

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