Sunday, September 1, 2019

"Amanda" by Boston

#1 Alert!
Song#:  2878
Date:  09/27/1986
Debut:  51
Peak:  1 (2 weeks)
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Formed by multi-instrumentalist Tom Scholz, this arena rock band burst onto the charts in 1976 with their #5 hit "More Than a Feeling." Their self-titled debut album would hit #3 and would be a consistent seller for years after eventually selling over 17 million copies making it one of the biggest albums of all-time. It would also earn them a Grammy nod for Best New Artist. They followed up their debut with the 7 million selling Don't Look Back in 1978, which featured the #4 title track. They were one of the biggest acts in music, but on their way to record a third album, problems arose. Issues and a lawsuit with their label Epic (CBS) combined with Scholz's non-hurried, perfectionist style in the studio kept the band on the sidelines for several years. Yet Scholz continued to record over a six-year period and after the lawsuit was settled, the band finally issued out their third album, Third Stage, for MCA Records. Of course one of the biggest questions about their return was if anyone cared. Nine years is a long time between recordings and with a new generation of kids buying records and new styles of music on the charts, would anyone want to tune into Boston's old school arena rock. With the results of this first single, the answer was an overwhelming "yes." The tune nearly debuted in the top half of the Pop chart and then steadily climbed until it reached the apex. The song would easily top the Rock chart while also getting to #13 at AC. The album then quickly shot to #1 and stayed there for four weeks. It would eventually sell over 4 million copies. Boston's return was a surprising success.

ReduxReview:  This song was a good one to re-introduce Boston. Power ballads were becoming more in-style at the time and the nostalgia factor of the band's return certainly helped. The tune was written and initially recorded in 1980 and it does have that late-70s arena rock band feel to it. I'd venture to say that if released in 1980 or '81, it might have been an even bigger hit riding the chart alongside similar acts peaking at the time like Journey and REO Speedwagon. Still, a couple weeks at #1  in '86 was quite the accomplishment. I wasn't a big Boston fan save for "More Than a Feeling," but I did appreciate this tune. It was expertly crafted by Scholz. It took six years to get out, but the song had a timeless feel that allowed it to still be a hit. Oh - and it hit #1 without the aid of an MTV video.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Back in the 60s and 70s, artists typically would release a new album a year with concert and compilations pushed out in between. For example, The Rolling Stones released fourteen studio albums in a ten-year period ('64-'74). That doesn't include two concert albums and at least five compilations. So when Boston signed their contact it called for ten albums over a six year period. Well, that's just not how Tom Scholz worked. It took two years for him to record Don't Look Back, which was a lengthy gap back then. And Scholz felt it was a rush job at that pace. When it looked like the third album was going to take even longer, CBS balked and filed a breach of contract lawsuit for failing to deliver product on time. Scholz then filed a counter-suit. The lawsuits took up the first half of the 80s and by 1985 Scholz's lawyers finally got him out from under CBS, which allowed him to move to MCA and release Third Stage. Yet the lawsuits weren't fully over and continued through to 1990 when Scholz proved victorious. These days, it's not unusual for an artist to take their time between albums. It took Adele four years to follow-up her mega-hit LP 21. Pink had a five year gap between a couple of her albums while it took ten years for Gwen Stefani to put out her third solo disc. The average gap between albums these days seems to be about two-to-three years. Still, that would be too short for Scholz. It would take eight years before Boston would put out their fourth album.


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