Ironic, in a way, isn’t it? Tom Sholz wrote those lines about six years ago now, and after all that time, it only took five months for ‘Long Time’ and the seven other songs that comprise Boston’s first album to saturate the airwaves and achieve double-platinum status, a rare accomplishment indeed. It would seem as if Boston is now moving faster than time, compressing years of touring and recording into one explosive year.
It began as a whisper early in 1976, with tales of how this extremely talented band with the name “Boston” was going to take the record industry by the collar of its Levi’s Leisure Suit and s-h-a-k-e it ever so roughly. Sure, sure, everybody said: every band claims to be Rock’s current Messiah, and as for the name, well, 1976 was the You Know-What Year, after all, and Boston (the city) was attracting lots of national media coverage as one of America’s Historic Birthplaces. It would have been easy for people to gloss over, then dismiss, Boston (the band) simply because of the seeming “cash-in” quality of their name. Silly, right? Well, it happened to some extent when Queen first appeared, for example; a band’s name often creates an unwanted backlash.
However, there was one little thing Boston had going for them—their talent, a.k.a. “the goods”. While all the prerelease stories were circulating on one level, tapes that had been recorded in Tom Scholz’s famous basement were making the rounds of record companies and then radio stations on another level.
This was the single most significant time for Boston; here they were, a new band having no stage experience, no closet deviants among its members, no nothing to stand on, other than their music. Yet they were not only not forgotten, they were being awaited with gnashing teeth by program direc-
tors all over the country. Tom remembers, with some surprise, that “. . .we would go to radio stations now an’ again, and a DJ would say, ‘I really like the album, and I liked it as a demo just as well. . .’. That doesn’t normally happen.”
“Im surprised that anyone even bought the album, to tell you the truth.”
Everyone was turned on musically by the Boston tapes, but since they were circulated so far ahead of any other information about the band, the tapes actually became the band for a time. It was probably here, when the tapes were being played over and over, that people first started uttering the dread phrase, “Hey, they sound just like etc.
etc. . .”. It was funny in a way, and again demonstrates the different time framework that Boston works in; here were seasoned radio people claiming close alliance between Boston and Queen on songs like “More Than A Feeling” (how long did you think it would be before I got to That Song?), when in fact it had been written six years ago.
From there, comparisons became more numerous, and ridiculous. “Yeah, we have a list of between twenty-five and thirty top bands who we sound just like. . .everybody from the obvious ones like Queen and Led Zeppelin, down to The Allman Bros., Credence Clearwater. . .Emerson Lake & Palmer. . .there’s some pretty bizzare ones,” Tom stated with a grin. “We’ve been compared to practically