Saturday, August 10, 2013
Boston - Don't Look Back
This month marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of Don't Look Back, the second studio album from Boston. Following on the heels of their smash self-titled debut (click here for that review) from 1976, this 1978 album charted at number 17 in New Zealand, number 13 in France, number 9 in Norway and the UK, number 8 in Sweden, number 6 in Switzerland, and number 1 in Canada and on the US Billboard Hot 200.
The line-up for the band included Brad Delp (lead and harmony vocals), Sib Hashian (drums and percussion), Barry Gourdreau (lead guitar, slide guitar and rhythm guitar), Tom Scholz (lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass, organs, piano and percussion) and Fran Sheehan (bass and percussion). Scholz wrote six of the eight tracks, Delp wrote one, and the two co-wrote one together.
Side one begins with blazing guitar riffs of the title track. "Don't Look Back", released as the first single, charted at number 51 in Australia, number 43 in the UK, number 14 in the Netherlands, number 6 in Canada and number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The lyrics, sung with the band’s trademark vocal harmonies, focus on the road ahead and a better, brighter future.
Next up is an instrumental interlude entitled "The Journey". The minute and three quarters piece, with lofty organ and sweeping guitar, was the B-side of the first single. On the album, it bridges the first and third tracks seamlessly.
"It's Easy" picks up the pace with a message about diving into something unfamiliar and taking it day by day.
The second single "A Man I'll Never Be" peaked at number 31 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 27 in Canada. This introspective, sensitive ballad has a strong piano foundation at the start before moving into the bigger, bolder sound that the band was known for.
Side two starts with the high energy rocking "Feelin' Satisfied". As the third and final single, this celebratory party song went to number 84 in Canada and number 46 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
"Party" was the track Scholz and Delp wrote together. Don’t let the slower opening fool you as this one rocks as well.
The B-side to the third single was the Delp penned "Used to Bad News". This one has resigned to accept life from a pessimistic view-point.
The closing track "Don't Be Afraid" was released also as the B-side to the second single.
Some speculate that the artist for the Atari 2600 Space Invaders video game packaging from 1980 took inspiration from this album’s cover art. Google it and form your own opinion. Me personally, as a huge gamer geek who owned that one, I can see a lot of similarities.
My earliest exposure to Don't Look Back was during those final years of the 70's - from both my older brother (who owned it on vinyl) and the album-oriented rock station we listened to out of Buffalo, NY. The tracks that stuck with me over the years were the singles mostly. I added a copy of the complete album to my digital music library about four years ago; I think it is a decent follow-up to the mega-hit Boston debut.