Top 10 Boston Songs

Boston Songs

Photo: By Carl Lender from Hollywood, FL, USA (flickr.com) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The first time I heard the band Boston was in late 1976 when the band released their first album and instantly began garnishing radio play with the single “More Than a Feeling.” The 1970s was a time period in which bands were breaking ground all the time with unique sounds that fans had never heard of before. Some of those unique sounds were based on developing new audio devices and recording techniques. The Beatles broke ground with recording techniques with bouncing tracks to create more tape space for additional tracks. That concept gave artists more creative freedom in arrangments and production. Close to eight years after The Beatles revolutionized methods in recording techniques, Tom Scholz ignited the rock and roll world with the development of a device entitled the Rockman that dramatically changed the sound of the guitar.

Tom Scholz’s guitar sound, along with the incredible vocal range and powerhouse vocals of Brad Delp, delivered a sound that blew anyone away the first time they heard it. There have been debut albums in rock history that lit the world on fire, but Boston’s debut album stands at least in the top 10. Just about every song on their debut album is spectacular. Sadly, with the exception of just a few songs, the band has never released anything that has come close to the material on the first record.

It took us a long time to put a Top 10 Boston songs list into motion because almost all of their best material is from the first album. The band did not release many records after their debut album. Boston has, for the most part, been a product of just Tom Scholz. Nonetheless, the impact that the first album had on rock and roll history and the joy that so many of those great songs brought us, motivates classicrockhistoy.com to celebrate their music. We just wish they had released more of it.

# 10 – Cool The Engines

We start our Top 10 Boston Songs list with an excellent track from the band’s third album, Third Stage. “Cool The Engines” was easily the standout rocking track on the record and, in our opinion, the last great original rock and roll Boston song. The album Third Stage was released in 1986, eight years after the release of their second album. Legal issues between Tom Scholz and CBS Records had prevented the band Boston from releasing new material for a long time. Third Stage was eagerly anticipated by Boston fans.

# 9 – Feelin’ Satisfied

The Boston song “Feelin’ Satisfied” was released on the band’s sophomore album entitled Don’t Look Back. The album was released in August 1978. This great track sounded like it would have fit well on the band’s debut album. “Feelin’ Satisfied” was the third single from the album. It failed to break into the Billboard Top 40, stalling at number forty-six.

# 8 – Hitch A Ride

It did not take long to get to the band’s debut album on this Top 10 Boston Songs list. Every one of the eight Boston songs released on their first album should have made this list. We narrowed it to six to make room for some of their other records. The song “Hitch a Ride” appeared on side two of the record and was placed in the third spot. We love the opening acoustic guitar part surrounding Brad Delp’s tender vocals. However, you knew the song wouldn’t stay in that acoustic vein for too long as it built up with every passing measure, eventually lighting it up with a resounding organ solo that led to some killer guitar work. This was a really dynamic song that was needed on an album where the action seemed never to stop.

# 7 – Amanda

In the summer of 2017, I saw Boston in a double bill with Joan Jett. When Tom Scholz introduced the song “Amanda,” Tom Scholz told the audience that the song was responsible for millions of girls being named “Amanda.” Well, it was a big hit for the band, but we are not so sure about Tom Scholz’s claim. Actually, we never really like this song all that much, but we have included it here for historical purposes in honor of the song’s commercial success.

# 6 – Rock and Roll Band

The great Boston song “Rock and Roll Band” was the opening track on side two of the band’s debut album Boston. Now that’s how you open up an album’s second side. “Rock and Roll Band” would not only stand as an album side opener, it would also serve the band well for years as the opening song of many of their concerts. It’s just one of those songs that get the blood pumping instantly from the opening riffs of Tom Scholz’s legendary guitar playing.

# 5 – Don’t Look Back

Boston’s second album, Don’t Look Back, was one of the most eagerly anticipated follow-up albums in rock and roll history. It took two years between their debut album and their sophomore release. In modern times, that may not be too big a deal since most artists release albums in the current period every two to four years. However, in the 1970s most record contracts had bands releasing records every six months to a year. Elton John released incredible albums every six months and singles in between.

When Don’t Look Back was finally released, most fans were happy with the album’s title track and lead single. However, the rest of the album was not as strong as their debut, although it was still an excellent rock record. Sadly, it would be the last great Boston album.

# 4 – Smokin’

“Smokin’ was released on the band’s debut album. The song contains one of our favorite rock and roll organ solos of all time. This one would become one of the most-played album tracks on FM radio in the 1970s. This was such a killer song on an album filled with killer songs. The metal band Anthrax released a cover version of the song that sounded very close to the original, right down to the organ solo, guitar lick, and vocals, although they do add a little bit of their own Anthrax style grooves to the song. It’s a cool one to check out.

# 3 – Foreplay/Long Time

The final three songs on our Top 10 Boston songs list form the entire opening side of the band’s debut album. In essence, side one of Boston’s debut album could easily be argued to be one of the greatest album sides in classic rock history. The “Foreplay/ Long Time” musical recording is a masterpiece and one of the defining moments in classic rock history.

# 2 – Piece of Mind

We flipped back and forth between the top two songs on this Boston Songs list. “Piece of Mind” was the second track on the Boston record, and if it were not for the sentimentality of the impact that “More Than A Feeling” had on generation, “Piece of Mind” would have been number one. “Piece of Mind” was released as the tried single from the album behind “More Than A Feeling” and “Long Time.”

 # 1 – More Than A Feeling

“More Than A Feeling” was the song that made Boston a household name. It was a song that merged the art of musicianship, production, and songwriting to another level. The song was so brilliant it had fans thinking that Boston would be a band that would release incredible music for years to come. So much promise, so much potential. We could not wait to hear what they would do next.

“More Than A Feeling” turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime song for the band and a generation of rock fans. Interpret that any way you wish. Ultimately, we are grateful to the band for releasing such an incredible piece of music.

Professional Sources, research, experience, and citations

Charting information used in the analysis and research of the commercial success of these songs comes from Billboard Magazine Charts

https://www.billboard.com/charts/

The Story Of Classic Rock

Other sources for important factual information include the band’s website

bandboston.com

Further analysis and original thoughts are provided by the writer Brian Kachejian’s experience as a professional musician and music collector for over 50 years and his experience as a New York State certified music and history educator and professional music journalist with the New York Press.

These articles are updated regularly.

Top 10 Boston Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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