Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fossils: Boston's Don’t Look Back (1978)

Boston's Don't Look Back
(click to embiggen)
Boston – Don't Look Back 

Boston’s self-titled 1976 debut was a left-field success, taking the charts back for honest to god rock music from the growing ranks of prog-pop knob-diddlers and self-flagellating avocado mafia singer/songwriters. The album’s first single, “More Than A Feeling,” hit #5 on the chart, the album hitting #3 in the first of three times that it has charted on the Billboard 200 since its initial release.

It took Boston two years to come up with a suitable follow-up to their debut, a lifetime in those heady, mega-creative days of the 1970s (although barely a heartbeat compared to today’s artists, who take two years just to figure out what clothes they’re going to wear to the next awards show). Don’t Look Back was nearly a carbon  copy of Boston’s debut, Tom Scholz’s electronically-enhanced fretwork fastidiously laid on tape by the notoriously obsessive artisan, singer Brad Delp’s vocal phrasings and approach so similar as to think that these songs were recorded at the same time as the debut. The only visible difference can be found in the more retrospective nature of the lyrics, which show a band clearly burdened by its enormous success.

The advertising for Don’t Look Back that was whipped up by the obviously uninspired Epic Records art department didn’t really have to do much more than announce the album’s impending release. Featuring a different illustration of the uber-cool spaceship featured on the album’s cover (itself reminiscent of a different rocket displayed on the debut LP), the ad screams “it’s here!” to the band’s legion of fans. We subsequently showed up at our local record stores en masse, rolls of pennies in hand, to buy Don’t Look Back, driving the album to numero uno on the chart, the band scoring another pair of hit singles.

Sadly, the great rock ‘n’ roll hope of the 1970s wouldn’t release its third album for eight damn years, Boston’s Third Stage the result of much blood, sweat, and tears on the part of Messrs. Scholz and Delp (the only two remaining original members at the time). Some things just don’t change, though, and Third Stage quickly (and easily) joined its fellow Boston albums in the ranks of the multi-platinum.

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