Boston is the debut studio album by American rock band Boston. Produced by Tom Scholz and John Boylan, it was released on August 25, 1976, by Epic Records. Scholz studied classical piano in his childhood and became involved in the Boston music scene in the late 1960s. He subsequently started to write and record demos in his apartment basement with singer Brad Delp; they had received numerous rejection letters from major record labels in the early 1970s. By 1975, the demo tape had fallen into the hands of CBS-owned Epic Records, who signed them.
Epic wanted the band to record in Los Angeles with a record producer, but Scholz was unwilling and wanted to record the album in his basement studio, so he hired Boylan to run interference with the label. In an elaborate ruse, Scholz tricked the label into thinking the band was recording on the West Coast, when in reality, the bulk was being tracked solely by Scholz at his Massachusetts home. The album’s contents are a complete recreation of the band’s demo tape, and contain songs written and composed many years prior. The album’s style, often referred to as the “Boston sound”, was developed through Scholz’s love of classical music, melodic hooks and guitar-heavy rock groups such as the Kinks and the Yardbirds, as well as a number of analogue electronic effects developed by Scholz in his home studio.
Besides Scholz, who played most of the instruments on nearly all of the tracks, and Delp, other musicians appear on the album. Drummer Jim Masdea worked extensively with Scholz during the writing, arranging, and demo process and plays drums on one song on the final album, “Rock & Roll Band”. Sib Hashian plays drums on the rest of the tracks. Guitarist Barry Goudreau and bassist Fran Sheehan, who joined the band after most of the tracks had been recorded, contribute some overdubs to “Foreplay/Long Time” and appear in the final track on the album, “Let Me Take You Home Tonight”, which was recorded separately from the rest of the album.
The album was released by Epic in August 1976 and broke sales records, becoming the best-selling debut LP in the US at the time, and winning the RIAA Century Award as best selling debut album. The album’s singles, most notably “More Than a Feeling” and “Long Time”, were both AM and FM hits, and nearly the entire album receives constant rotation on classic rock radio. The album has been referred to as a landmark in ’70s rock and has been included on many lists of essential albums. It has sold at least 17 million copies in the United States alone and at least 20 million worldwide making it one of the best selling debut albums of all time.
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