Boston - Third Stage
And this time we start with the question.
How many albums do you know whose opening song is a rock ballad?
The album "Third Stage" - the third by "Boston" which was released on September 23, 1986, is one such.
This album came out 8 years after the band's second album "Don't Look Back" released in 1978.
The band started working on the album in 1980 and in fact, most of the album was ready for release by 1982. But then came the disagreements with the record company "Epic Records", and later also a lawsuit that delayed its release, when in the middle of everything the original band that accompanied the first two albums crumbled and the whole project was Archived.
Schultz became obsessed during this period and similar to what happened with the band's debut album "Boston", here too he sat in the studio for hours trying to reach the ultimate sound. For coverage of the creation process of the band's debut album, read here:
In fact, at this point, all that was left of the original lineup were Tom Scholz himself and singer Brad Delp. Schultz claimed that during those years he pressed the record button over a million times and that he managed to fill over 100 recording reels during the recording of the album.
In 1984, after the lawsuit against the record company ended, Tom Scholz signed with "MCA" and began working on the last mixes before releasing the album. But just then an amazing thing happened, someone leaked the opening song and rock ballad "Amanda" to small radio stations across the US. It should be understood, these were not Internet and YouTube days, so the leak was supposed to be done with a hard copy that was physically given to the radio stations. The broadcasters, even at those little radio stations, who realized they had a golden egg in hand, did not want to share it with others so they would talk during the beginning and end of the song so that other radio stations could not copy it and broadcast the song themselves.
Nevertheless, this song managed to reach number one even when it was officially released two years after it was leaked, in September 1986. The Success was even more overwhelming due to the fact the song did not have a video clip promoting it as was customary at the time.
The band's sound from the first two albums is more or less preserved here, with the addition of the Rockman effect/guitar amplifier invented by the well-known MIT graduate Schultz himself.
To this day we are not certain of why Schultz chose to open the album with the ballad "Amanda", when in our opinion it would have been more appropriate to open with the song "The Launch" divided into three parts and with "Cool the Engines" that connects to it, or alternatively with the excellent "We're Ready".
Either way, this is a good album that most of its first side is arranged like a concept album with songs that connect and with the closing track "My Destination" which has the same melody as the opening song "Amanda".