Boston leader and guitarist Tom Scholz got a masters degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked as a researcher and product designer for Polaroid before applying his brain-power to feel-good soft rock.
He interested Epic in a demo his band had recorded in his 12-track basement studio and there endeth his day job. Boston (1976) still holds the record for biggest selling debut album.
By March 1978 the album – which had debuted at #46 and spent 72 weeks in the charts while selling more than six million copies – was still selling 50,000 copies a week, primarily on the back of their killer single More Than A Feeling. The album clocked up its 17 millionth sale in 2003.
Don’t Look Back followed in 1978, but Scholz’s perfectionism soured relations with Epic who unsuccessfully sued him for taking too long in the studio (two years in the making, the album sounded for all the world like cover versions of songs from the first LP).
When the legal gymnastics finally ended, only Scholz and Delp remained for Third Stage (1986), a concept album about the onset of middle age which sold a phenomenal 3 million copies in its first month of release.
The vocalist didn’t stick around for Walk On (1994), which Scholz finished more or less single-handedly, and longtime fans greeted coolly.
Delp’s return to duty on Corporate America (2002) jump-started far greater enthusiasm, as did reports of a “classic” Boston reunion album. Those plans crumbled when Brad Delp took his own life – by carbon monoxide poisoning – in March 2007 after leaving a series of notes.
Scholz has a sideline inventing hi-tech music kit. Profits from his popular ‘Rockman’ guitar amp have only added to his wealth.
Guitar, vocals, keyboards