Epic 35050

Producer: Tom Scholz

Track listing: Don’t Look Back / The Journey / It’s Easy / A Man I’ll Never Be / Feelin’ Satisfied / Party / Used to Bad News / Don’t Be Afraid

September 16, 1978
2 weeks (nonconsecutive)

Don’t Look Back was the album that Boston never really quite finished. “We really rushed to complete that one,” says Tom Scholz, the band’s founder and creator of its trademark guitar sound. “The second side is only 15 minutes long. I would have liked to have another six months to work on a fifth song on that side.”

Boston was launched into orbit following the release of its 1976 self-titled debut. Buoyed by the track “More Than a Feeling,” which became an album-rock staple, the album climbed to number three by December of that year. In support of Boston, the band toured extensively. Upon its return, Scholz went to work on his home studio, dubbed Hideaway, to record a follow up album. Don’t Look Back was a approximately 18 months in the making, including a few months for construction of Scholz’s studio, which he describes as “the size of a lavatory.” The entire album was recorded at Hideaway, save for the piano on the power ballad “A Man I’ll Never Be.” Says Scholz, “The studio was so small, it was impossible to get the piano in there.”

Just as the album’s guitar-as-spaceship cover art was a variation o the graphic that graced the band’s debut effort, the music on Don’t Look Back was strikingly similar to that on Boston. “That is rock ‘n’ roll the way I like it, so it’s always going to sound that way,” says Scholz.

On Boston and Don’t Look Back, Scholz and company used no synthesizers or computers, something Scholz felt he had to point out in the liner notes of the latter album. “There was a rumor that I wrote the entire first album with a computer program,” he says. “There was even an article in Newsweek that had me denying it.”

The rumors were generated by Scholz’s background. “Someone at CBS glanced at my bio and discovered I was a graduate of MIT, so they tried to market us as modern-day robots,” he says. “For a while they even ran radio spots that said, ‘Boston, better music through science.’ “

While Boston did have an unusual high-tech guitar sound, the songs on Don’t Look Back came together organically. ” ‘Don’t Look Back’ was the last song I wrote and recorded for the album,” says Scholz. “It was just one of those things where everything clicked. I didn’t even record a demo for that song. I came up with chord changes, melody, and the arrangement and put it right on the master tape.”

Another of Scholz’s favorites is “The Journey,” a spacey instrumental that follows the title track. “I always wanted to edit that and loop it and make it last for about an hour and put it on when I wanted to go to sleep or relax,” says Scholz.

Even without that fifth track on side two, Don’t Look Back rocketed up the Top LP’s & Tape chart. In its third week on the chart, Don’t Look Back hit the top spot.

Week of September 16, 1978

1. Don’t Look Back, Boston
2. Some Girls, The Rolling Stones
3. Double Vision, Foreigner
4. Grease, Soundtrack
5. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Soundtrack

Here’s Boston performing the title track of Don’t Look Back.