When Boston scored one of the bestselling debuts in rock history with their 16 million selling, Top Three self-titled debut in 1976, it seemed a good bet that the band would emerge as one of the Album Oriented Rock legends of the era. Instead, due to the intense perfectionism of leader and mastermind Tom Scholz, the group became notorious for its near-decade long stretches between releases.
Scholz's home demos impressed Epic Records, so he joined with friends and Boston natives Fran Sheehan (bass), Brad Delp (guitar, vocals), Barry Goudreau (guitar) and Sib Hashian (drums) to create an unexpected phenomenon. Their memorable hit single, "More Than A Feeling," was an instant classic.
Two years later, the band repeated the formula virtually note for note with Don't Look Back, which also topped the U.S. charts, despite Scholz's anger over the label's pressure to release a quick follow-up. His desire to take his time on a third release led to a long-running court battle against CBS Records and manager Paul Ahern over delays in fulfilling his contract.
Frustrated with Boston's lengthy sabbatical, Goudreau released a solo album before quitting the band to form Orion The Hunter with Fran Cosmo. Hashian and Sheehan had also left by the mid-80s, and the ex-Bostonians eventually sued Scholz over the rights to the band's name. Scholz and Delp hung in there and hit paydirt again in 1986 with Third Stage, which hit #1 on the album chart and included the #1 single "Amanda" and "We're Ready." The new album was done in the exact style as their 70s output, as if new wave, disco, punk and 80s rock had never happened. Boston's aggregate album sales now topped 50 million.
Scholz and Delp toured with the new line-up of guitarist Gary Phil, bassist David Sikes and drummers Doug Huffman and Jim Masdea. In 1990, a jury ruled in Scholz's favour against CBS in the court case. Some colorful musical incest followed, with Delp leaving to join Goudreau in his new band Return To Zero before Scholz began work on a new album, enlisting Goudreau's sparring partner Cosmo as vocalist.
Scholz was the only original Boston member on Walk On, which was a letdown to many hardcore fans despite reaching the Top Five on the U.S. charts. However, Scholz lost his long-running lawsuit with Ahern ,and was directed to pay over $1.5 million in court awards and damages, although the case went to appeal.
Delp returned to the band in 1994, but their next studio album was not forthcoming until the new millennium. Featuring new members Anthony Cosmo (guitar) and Kimberley Dahme (vocals/guitar), Corporate America was released in November 2002 by Artemis Records. Scholz sought advance interest by targeting the internet crowd first, releasing a single to MP3.com in the previous summer. The track became the site's #1 download, and word of their new album spread quickly.
In addition to his fame as a musician, Scholz had also found success as an inventor and businessman. In 1981, he formed Scholz Research & Design, Inc., a company founded to create high-tech music equipment. After first developing the Power Soak, a volume-control device, SR&D introduced the Rockman, an inexpensive, small guitar amplifier with headphones. The Rockman proved phenomenally popular with other musicians, and the capital generated from its sales helped fund Scholz's later musical ambitions.