It's been long understood since the beginning that guitarist/songwriter/studio wiz Tom Scholz is Boston
's undisputed leader. But frontman Brad Delp
's instantly recognizable vocal histrionics played an integral part in the group's sound as well. Born on June 12, 1951, in Boston, MA, Delp
developed his vocal style by singing regularly at various Boston-area clubs during the early '70s (while working at a factory during the day, making heating coils for Mr. Coffee machines). It was through a mutual friend, guitarist Barry Goudreau
, that Delp
came to the attention of Scholz, who needed a singer to complete some home demo tapes he was working on at the time. These were the same demos that would land Scholz a recording contract with Epic by the middle of the decade, and when he had to put a "real" band together, Delp
was invited to be the group's singer (joining Scholz and Delp
were also Goudreau
, bassist Fran Sheehan
, and drummer Sib Hashian). Boston
scored one of rock's all-time best sellers right off the bat with their 1976 self-titled debut, as nearly every single track on the album has subsequently become a rock radio standard ("More Than a Feeling," "Peace of Mind," "Long Time," etc.). A sophomore album, Don't Look Back
, was issued two years later, but after its ensuing supporting tour wrapped up, Boston
went on hiatus due to a battle with their record company.
Instead of just sitting around, Delp appeared on a pair of projects led by Goudreau during the early '80s, including the guitarist's 1980 self-titled solo debut and Orion the Hunter's 1984 self-titled debut. 1986 saw Delp guest on Keith Emerson's solo outing Best Revenge, but more importantly, it also signaled Boston's return. With all the record company red tape sorted out, Boston was ready to issue their long-awaited third album, Third Stage (despite the fact that Delp and Scholz were the only members left in attendance from the '70s). The long wait didn't affect the album's chart performance, as Third Stage became another sizeable hit. But when another lengthy break between albums occurred, it was Delp's turn to jump ship, and he left Boston in 1990. A year later, Delp united once more with Goudreau, this time in a new band called RTZ, which issued the album Return to Zero the same year. With Boston finally readying a new release, Walk On, in 1994, Delp surprisingly rejoined the band for its ensuing tour, sharing vocal duties with newcomer Fran Cosmo.
With Boston on hiatus once more afterward, a second RTZ album, 1998's Lost, was issued, and it turned out to be a collection of leftover songs from the sessions for their debut seven years earlier rather than set of freshly recorded tracks. During the late '90s, Delp guested on the Lisa Guyer Band's Gypsy Girl, in addition to singing on a few new Boston tracks for inclusion on their 1997 Greatest Hits set (Delp also formed a Boston-area Beatles tribute band, jokingly named Beatle Juice). The early 21st century saw Delp return to the Boston fold, as Scholz was ready to assemble Boston's fifth studio album over a 27-year span. Sadly, the singer was found dead in his home in Atkinson, NH, on March 9, 2007, from what was later determined suicide. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi