Friday, March 09, 2007

Carry Him Away for the Last Time...

Some sad news for classic rock fans - Brad Delp, lead singer of Boston, died this afternoon at the age of 55. According to the police report, there was no evidence of foul play, but his passing is being categorized as "untimely." Delp was alone in his home at the time of death, and no cause has been determined as of yet.

I never realized until today that Boston released a new record in 2002, Corporate America, but now I feel compelled to check it out. I just hope that it's their last. I hope that the surviving members don't try to replace Delp. His shoes were much too big to fill. His was truly one of the great voices in rock history, and he'll be missed.

Boston was one of the most popular bands in the late '70s and early '80s, known for consistently turning out ol' fashioned, feel-good party rock. They have, unfortunately, become somewhat maligned over the years, much like other classic rock faves Styx or Kansas. Indie snobs would like to dismiss Boston's catalog of work as nothing more than soundalike, drunken frat boy music. They're wrong.

Regarding the "soundalike" part of that description - yes, it is true that a Boston song is pretty easy to identify. They have a signature sound that hinges on Tom Scholz's fuzzy guitar (achieved through much experimentation with amps and mics) and Delp's amazing vocals. However, their songs aren't so alike that you can't distinguish one from the other. They just all fit a certain mold.

As for the "drunken frat boy music" title - well, what's wrong with party music? I'll tell you - not a damn thing! But, that's not all Boston is about. Sure, the songs are great for blasting out the neighbors, tokin' and forgetting about your troubles, but they are also musically well-composed with simple yet vivid, memorable lyrics. And, personally, I love a dash of musical drama now and then, which Boston was pretty good at serving.

I would do a Boston shuffle on my iPod as a tribute, but I am the only person in America without an iPod. So, do me a favor, everyone. Here are my ten favorite Boston songs. Put 'em on your pod. Shuffle. Think of me. Think of Brad. Thank God for rock 'n roll. Then, punch an indie snob. You'll feel good, I promise.

Top 10 Boston Tunes:

1. Amanda - I can't stress enough how wonderfully dramatic this song is. Who didn't want to be Amanda when this came out? Who still doesn't? One of the best love songs EVER.
2. A Man I'll Never Be - More drama. Just a wonderful, gut-wrenchingly emotional song.
3. Something About You - Whatever it is, he's got-ta got-ta have you.
4. Feelin' Satisfied - "You gotta have a little rock 'n' roll music to get you through the stormy weather." That's what I've been trying to tell you people!
5. Longtime - "You'll forget about me after I've been gone." No we won't, Brad.
6. Rock and Roll Band - For some reason, everytime I hear this song now, the last verse always makes me think of the end of "Wayne's World." And it's still so fun to sing that part way up high: "Sign a record company contract..."
7. Peace of Mind - If anyone understands about indecision, it's me.
8. Hitch A Ride - Pretty lyrics and an even prettier guitar solo/outro.
9. More Than A Feeling - "When I'm tired and thinking cold, I hide in my music, forget the day." How I love odes to odes.
10. Let Me Take You Home Tonight - Taking us back to a simpler time when it was actually cool for a man to call a woman "mama."


JR's Thumbprints said...

Sad bit of news I heard today on your blog. Boston definitely had an orginal sound. Didn't one of the members develop some type of product that actually earned him more money than the Boston music. Someone had told me this, I just haven't been able to substantiate it.

Les Becker said...

It has been a shitty week for rock and roll. Just shitty. I don't have an iPod, either (guess I'm The One in Canada without one), so I'll shuffle my playlist instead. I wish I still had that old turntable...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I didn't even realize that Boston were still together, actually. I never did own any of their music, but never needed to, as everybody in our dorm has their albums. They really were the soundtrack to our lives back then.

I'm hoping my comment will allow me to escape being punched for now being an indie snob!

Writeprocrastinator said...

Shit, that sucks.

The local semi-classic rock station is down to "Rock & Roll Band," "Peace of Mind," "Taking My Time," and my fave, "More Than a Feeling."

One of the DJs mentioned that they were in the process of writing new material, it would be a shame for them to record it with an inferior singer.

Anonymous said...

The item Thumbprints means is the Rock Man, guitar training tool... sad news indeed. At one time Boston was going to replace Delp with a woman singer

Arlen said...

Delp was a great singer and will be missed by all who enjoyed Boston. The way he hooked you into More Than A Feeling, with its "Louie Louie" rhythms was very original.

Layla said...

Great post, Beck. Very sad loss.

Travis said...

I read this earlier today. I agree - Brad truly had a distinctive rock voice. You knew you were hearing Boston has soon as he sang the first note.

As for Indie snobs, they be the reason a lot of what we hear on the radio these days if self-indulgent crap. They don't seem to realize that there is room in the world for bands whose purpose is to entertain with rollicking beats.

But that's just one man's opinion.

BTW - wonderful characterization of Boston's music as dramatic. That's a great word for it.

Johnny Yen said...

I enjoyed that first album a lot-- still love "Something About You" and "Long Time." Boston produced wonderful, unpretentious rock music.

Mr. Althouse said...

I posted on this at my main blog. I don't want to rehash what I said there, but basically Brad's death has thrown me for a loop. I graduated high school in 1981 - Boston and other bands of the time were a HUGE influence on me. It's almost as though part of me died with him.


nettiemac said...

Absolutely damn straight. Love your top ten list on this one.

RIP Brad!


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