“Boston was essentially the vehicle of studio wizard Tom Scholz” (Ankeny), but its first two albums also relied heavily on the vocal talents of Brad Delp and guitar work of Barry Goudreau. Consequently, this history and the discography at the left not only focus on the five studio albums released by Boston and helmed by Scholz, but the work of Delp & Goudreau as well. Delp sang on all the Boston albums but one (Walk On) while Goudreau only appeared on the first two Boston albums. However, the pair worked together on every Boston offshoot project covered in this history and the discography. Incidentially, singer Fran Cosmo figured in prominently as well – first on Barry Goudreau’s solo outing and the group Orion the Hunter, and later as the replacement singer for Delp on Walk On! Since that album, Delp and Cosmo have been involved in Boston, both on album and stage.
In his childhood, Scholz “was constantly on a mission to invent something that worked a little better than what he already had, or simply, build something out of nothing…This trait would prove to be a common thread throughout the course of his life …Upon graduating high school, Tom…headed…to Cambridge at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, …graduating 5 years later with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering” (bandboston.com TS). “He wrote his first piece of music, Foreplay, in 1969” (bandboston.com TS) while at MIT.
“Tom took a job with Polaroid as a senior product design engineer… [but] his real passion started when he got home from work at night” (bandboston.com TS). He “joined a local band led by guitarist Barry Goudreau” (Ankeny). “Playing since he was 11, Barry Goudreau was an accomplished guitarist by the time he entered Boston University to study Geology. In the early ‘70s, he was playing in a band that practiced in an MIT fraternity house” (bandboston.com BG).
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” (Ankeny). “Ironically, Tom never picked up a guitar until he was 21, but when he did, he was self-taught, was a very quick study, and mastered his craft by listening to his idols, Jeff Beck, Joe Walsh, Jimmy Page and Ray Davies. Todd Rundgren was the first musician that Tom heard that utilized lead guitars in harmony, and was the spark that compelled Scholz to create his trademark harmony guitar solos” (bandboston.com TS).
Also coming on board was drummer Jim Masdea. “Self taught and immersed in Rock and Roll music at an early age, Jim was happy playing drums in capable local rock bands by the time he started high school. When Jim serendipitously answered an ad for a band that Barry Goudreau and Tom Scholz were playing in, the stage was set for a relationship that would eventually change all of their lives” (bandboston.com JM).
Goudreau brought singer Brad Delp “to the attention of Tom Scholz while he was recording demo tapes in his basement studio” (bandboston.com BD). At the time, Brad Delp was, in his own words, “‘in a cover band (with Fran Sheehan playing bass) that never got to the point of actually playing a gig…I heard there was a band, writing original material, who was looking for a lead singer…I auditioned for them…in Jim Masdea’s basement, where they rehearsed and, happily, got the gig’” (bandboston.com BD). “Scholz had auditioned countless singers, but just knew that Delp was the man for the job as soon as he started to sing” (bandboston.com BD).
Delp had “been playing music ever since childhood, buying his first guitar at 13 after seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show…Shortly thereafter, he joined his first band, The Iguanas” (bandboston.com BD). He “honed his unique singing style by performing in various clubs regularly in the early ‘70s, a welcome respite from his day job, working in a factory making heating coils” (bandboston.com BD).
Delp sang “lead and all the harmony tracks…on the first 3 Boston albums” (bandboston.com BD) and “wrote or co-wrote with Tom several songs on the first two Boston albums, as well as Walk On…Brad Delp also plays guitar, keyboards, and harp” (bandboston.com BD). “After a hiatus from the band in the early ‘90s, Brad returned to…lay some tracks for Corporate America” (bandboston.com BD).
Building a Studio
“‘Foreplay’ was…Tom’s first try at demo recording made in Masdea’s old dirt floor basement” (bandboston.com TS). “In the early 70’s, [Tom] began attempting to play his songs live and” (bandboston.com TS) “in costly commercial studios which quickly drained Scholz’s budget” (bandboston.com TS). “Having learned the basics of tape recording technology at Polaroid, he sequestered himself in his apartment home basement and began building a crude studio” (bandboston.com TS) “in the basement of his apartment in Watertown, MA…spending everything he made over the course of 6 years” (bandboston.com TS).
“From 1973 to 1976, he recorded demos of songs written by himself and Brad Delp. He worked exclusively with Jim Masdea to arrange and record the drum tracks” (bandboston.com TS). “Together they developed the drum arrangements for most of the music heard on Boston’s debut album” (bandboston.com JM).
“Tom would overdub every instrument, experimenting and agonizing over each note, one track at a time, until the symphony he envisioned sprang to life. Brad then followed, similarly overdubbing every lead and harmony vocal, one track at a time” (bandboston.com TS).
A Recording Contract
“Tom continued to finance this hobby by working at Polaroid…After years of solid rejections and money running out, this formula finally paid off with a CBS recording contract offer for Tom and Brad in 1976” (bandboston.com TS).
“At the insistence of management, Masdea was eventually replaced” (bandboston.com JM). However, “the drum parts for many of the songs were reproduced note for note from the demo tracks that Jim played. At Scholz’s insistence, Jim played drums for Rock and Roll Band” (bandboston.com JM).
“The group – now dubbed Boston and including Goudreau, …Delp, bassist Fran Sheehan, and drummer John ‘Sib’ Hashian” (Ankeny) were expected to re-record the original demos. As Tom Scholz recalls, the label refused to “allow the original six song demo to be used as the actual album; the material had to be recorded over again in a ‘professional’ studio...In a gutsy move, Epic producer John Boylan made me an offer: I record the multitrack masters in my basement by myself, while he decoys the company recording a couple of Brad’s songs in LA with Barry, Sib, and Fran. Then I join him in LA for vocal overdubs and mixing” (Scholz).
“So after laying Sib and Jim’s drum tracks, I settled in for the lengthy ordeal of reproducing a band’s worth of bass, guitar, and organ performances on the new, nearly identical, recording. Barry joined me to play the excellent lead electric guitar on Longtime, and Fran to play the bass track for ‘Foreplay.’ In LA, Brad’s Let Me Take You Home was recorded in it’s entirety” (Scholz).
Scholz “left Polaroid when the radios began playing, More Than a Feeling” (bandboston.com TS).
The Boston Album
“This was the…album that turned the disco crazed music industry on its head and broke all the known rules for succeeding in the world of rock n’ roll” (Scholz). It became “one of the fastest-selling debut albums in history” (Ankeny), a title it held for ten years until “it was supplanted by Whitney Houston's first album in 1986” (Ankeny). “Its seemingly sudden and relentless success belied six years of abject failure, and quickly made it the model abducted, imitated and used by marketing executives to mass produce radio friendly ‘corporate rock’… An odd nombre for a few amateurs making freakish basement tapes” (Scholz).
Don’t Look Back
“Scholz spent over two years working on the follow-up…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” (Ankeny).
Barry Goudreau Moves On
“Barry Goudreau played guitar on the first two stratospherically successful Boston records” (Stone) which featured his “incredible leads…on ‘Longtime,’ Used to Bad News, Let Me Take You Home Tonight, and Don’t Look Back” (bandboston.com BG). It would be Goudreau’s last work with Boston.
“As Boston impatiently waited for mastermind Tom Scholz to complete the third” (Stone) album, Goudreau worked with other limbo members” (Stone) Brad Delp and Sib Hashian, the drummer on the first two Boston albums, to record his own solo album. Also added to the picture was singer Fran Cosmo, who would later sing for Boston! The subsequent effort was “a decent professional rock work…[that] yielded the radio piece Dreams” (Stone).
Orion the Hunter
“Amidst turmoil with the band’s managers and record company” (bandboston.com BG), “Goudreau then left Boston and formed Orion the Hunter” (Stone), working again with Cosmo, as well as “bass player Bruce Smith, and ex-Heart drummer Michael DeRosier” (Demalon). Also part of the project was “Brad Delp, who lent background vocals to the project as well as co-writing half the songs” (Demalon).
“Originally called simply Orion, the name was tweaked under legal pressure from Orion Pictures” (Demalon). “With Boston still a staple artist at rock radio (and in the absence of new material from them), Orion the Hunter generated enough interest for the lead track, So You Ran…to make the Top Ten at rock radio…The band broke up following a stint on the road with Aerosmith” (Demalon).
“Goudreau spent the ensuing years in legal proceedings with Scholz” (Stone), alleging “that Scholz had damaged his solo recording career (they settled out of court)” (Ankeny). Scholz also found himself fighting with his record company; eventually he “won a seven-year battle against Epic, which claimed Boston had reneged on its contract by taking so long between releases” (Ankeny).
The Rockman and Other Patents
Meanwhile, as Scholz spent eight long years making the third Boston albu, he “found success as an inventor and businessman” (Ankeny); he now has “nearly three dozen patents to his name” (bandboston.com TS). “In 1981, he formed Scholz Research & Design, Inc., a company founded to create high-tech music equipment” (Ankeny), most notably “the Rockman line of guitar amplifiers and effects boxes” (bandboston.com TS), which “proved phenomenally popular with other musicians, and the capital generated from its sales helped fund Scholz’s further musical ambitions” (Ankeny). “His innovations came from the need he had to capture the sound in his head, on tape, or on stage…He still swears by the analog method of recording, in this digital-everything day and age” (bandboston.com TS).
“The chart-topping Third Stage did not appear until 1986, at which time only Scholz and Delp remained from the original lineup” (Ankeny). However, “Tom invited [original Boston drummer Jim Masdea] back to record drums for much of Boston’s Third Stage, and the amazing 1987 stadium tours that followed” (bandboston.com JM).
Meanwhile, Goudreau “formed RTZ…, once again with Delp singing lead vocals” (bandboston.com BG). The result was “a pleasant but faceless affair” (Stone) consisting “of commercially accessible arena rock and power ballads. Issued in July of 1991, the album spawned a surprise Top 30 hit single with Until Your Love Comes Back Around” (Prato).
“Not much was heard from the band afterwards, as Delp eventually returned back to Boston in time for the tour in support of their 1994 release, Walk On, which led many to believe that RTZ was a one-off project. But this proved to not be the case, as…the release of RTZ's sophomore effort, Lost” (Prato) would prove, although it would be seven years later.
“When the band resurfaced again in 1994 with Walk On, Scholz was the lone remaining member” (Ankeny). However, Boston’s new lead singer had previously worked with Delp and Goudreau in Orion the Hunter. “In the early ‘90s when Tom Scholz was ready to lay down vocal tracks for Walk On, Brad Delp was not available for the project, so Fran Cosmo stepped up to the plate…[and] sang most of the vocals on that album” (bandboston.com FC).
“Fran…toured with the band in 1995, 1997, 2003 and 2004, trading off vocals with Brad. Cosmo also sang with Delp on Higher Power, off of 1997’s Greatest Hits, and several songs on Corporate America” (bandboston.com FC).
“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” (Ankeny).
“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. After releasing the record in the fall of that year, Boston embarked on a tour that took them into 2004” (Ankeny).
Delp & Goudreau
Delp & Goudreau worked together again “in 2003 [on] the self-titled Delp and Goudreau, a release that really showcases their talent” (bandboston.com BG).
Scholz, Delp, and Goudreau
“After Tom Scholz’s remastering of the first two Boston albums in March 2006, he and Barry reinstated contact after 25 years” (bandboston.com BG). “In 2006 it was announced that a new album was in the works with Scholz, Delp, and Goudreau all involved. This new project remained unreleased when Delp passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on March 9th, 2007” (Ankeny).