Boston: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Facts
Eligible Since: 2002
Grammy Awards/Nominations: 0/1
Career Top 40 Hits: 8
Essential Tracks: More Than a Feeling (1976), Foreplay / Long Time (1976), Smokin’ (1976), Peace of Mind (1976), Don’t Look Back (1978), Amanda (1986)
Essential Albums: Boston (1976), Don’t Look Back (1978), Third Stage (1986)
The rock band Boston started off its career with a bang, with a self-titled 1976 album that stayed on the charts for nearly three years and went an astounding 17x Platinum, thanks to hits like the iconic “More Than a Feeling.”
Formed by guitarist and songwriter Tom Scholz, Boston blended elements of hard rock, progressive rock, and pop into an appealing mainstream sound.
Will Boston ever be considered by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Let’s look at their credentials and see if they have a case.
Boston’s Rock Hall Credentials
As noted, Boston’s debut album has to be the starting point for any discussion of their achievements. “More Than a Feeling” remains a classic, thanks to its infectious riffs and the soaring vocals of Brad Delp. It’s in the conversation for the greatest classic rock songs ever recorded.
That song reached #5 on the singles chart and was followed by hits “Long Time” and “Peace of Mind.” After opening for a number of superstar bands, Boston quickly shot to headliner status, selling out arenas and playing Madison Square Garden within months.
The debut album showcased their signature harmonized guitar riffs, layered vocals, and clean production. While “More Than a Feeling” and “Peace of Mind” have stood the test of time, Boston would go on to release only two more albums in the next 17 years, and fell out of the spotlight.
The second album Don’t Look Back produced three more hits, including the #4 title track. Their songs blended hard rock and pop influences in a manner that served as a model for other rock bands of the era.
Unfortunately, after the second album, the band got bogged down in legal matters. The group’s former manager claimed he should be entitled to songwriting royalties on future recordings, which cause the band to take a break from recording, which caused them to get sued by their label, CBS, for not recording new music.
They finally regrouped in 1986 and enjoyed one last chart run, capped by the biggest pop hit of their careers. The power ballad “Amanda” shot to #1, a full decade after “More Than a Feeling.” They followed that up with two more hits, “We’re Ready” and “Can’tcha Say,” which reached #9 and #20, respectively, although both have been mostly forgotten by now.
Boston notched four Platinum albums in their careers, including three that earned at least 4x Platinum. Delp had one of the great voices in rock music, and Scholz was a talented writer.
The group’s main argument for Rock Hall induction, then, is a solid level of commercial success, a decade-long span of charting hits, and one of the great rock songs of all-time in “More Than a Feeling.”
The Case Against Boston
Boston’s peak was short-lived, and while their sound certainly influenced other rock bands, only a couple of Boston’s songs still earn significant airplay today.
It’s possible to get inducted into the Rock Hall with a limited discography, as bands like the Velvet Underground and the Sex Pistols prove. But those acts were visionary and groundbreaking, and influenced entire generations of bands who came later. It’s hard to argue that Boston changed the course of rock history to the same degree as those acts.
They never scored as many hits as bands like Foreigner, Styx, and Toto, so those arguing for Boston’s induction have to make a case based more on the artistic merits of their music.
Some critics agree that the signature sound created by Scholz and Delp should be recognized, but others question whether the group did enough to break away from the sound that we now consider generic classic rock.
After 1986’s Third Stage, the group again waited eight years to release another album, but by that time, their commercial relevance was over. Boston have had no cultural impact since their Walk On album in 1994. I’m willing to bet that a large number of music fans under age 30 have never even heard of a band called Boston.
The Verdict: Will Boston Ever Get Inducted Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
It’s going to be very difficult for Boston to get into the Rock Hall. The Hall has been moving on to ’90s artists lately, and giving less attention to ’70s classic rock acts. The window for them to be considered may have closed.
And even if the Hall does consider ’70s rock acts, there are a number of other bands who would figure to be ahead of Boston in the pecking order, including Styx, Foreigner, Jethro Tull, and possibly Kansas, REO Speedwagon, Meat Loaf, and Jimmy Buffett. So it’s hard to envision a scenario where Boston gets inducted anytime soon.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Boston
Odds of Getting Inducted Next Year: 1%
Odds of Getting Inducted in the Next Five Years: 7%
Odds of Getting Inducted Eventually: 20%
Do you think Boston will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame someday? Leave a comment and let us know!
Last Updated on February 6, 2024