Oct 152020


Previously, we discussed which band reduced rock ‘n’ roll to its cliched essence. Now, I ask you to confirm to me that the above song represents “classic rock” at its most depressingly pro forma. It starts out sorta “mellow” and reflective before transitioning to a “rockin'” outro. (A reverse-“Layla”?) A perfect simulacrum of passion, good times, summer vibes, etc. with as little thought given to the lyrics as humanly possible. But then I think of some hesher tooling around in his Trans Am rocking out to this, and I can’t help but smile. Even if I’m fairly sure that scenario simply never happens anymore

I look forward to your responses.


  12 Responses to “Is This the Quintessential Classic Rock Song?”

  1. mockcarr

    Is smarminess a deciding factor?

  2. mockcarr

    In other words, while I hate discussing the Eagles, isn’t this their purview?

  3. 2000 Man

    Man, I have really hated Boston since I was 14. I have a friend who decided one time that I needed to hear the “greatest intro to a rock song ever.” It turned out to be Boston’s Foreplay. He was beside himself with happiness while he cranked up his CD down in his basement. I don’t know how I kept my “this sucks” face from showing and I don’t remember what I said but another friend that knows me better laughed at me when he had a chance and asked how much I loved cranking some Boston. I think I just told him to shut up because I was trying to behave.

    I’m sure it’s a lot longer ago than I actually think, but years ago the Classic Rock station kind of started skewing to whatever was thought of as the national playlist. All of a sudden, we started getting this song that seemed so generic that it sort of seemed like The Cars and sort of seemed like weak Southern Rock at the same time and it was Head East’s Never Been Any Reason. I had never heard it and I was a radio kid and grew up with it constantly playing. None of my co-workers that talked music with me had ever heard it, but we started getting it rammed down our throats constantly, like it was a Cleveland staple like Alex Harvey or Artful Dodger. Anyway, I think it would give Let Me Take You Home Tonight a very average run for its money. https://youtu.be/hI8Vg53nuF4

  4. What I’m wondering is if you consider the term “Classic Rock” to be pejorative? I appreciate the term because it generally means music of the late 60s and early 70s in the rock genre, right? I like that music! I can’t pick this as the quintessential classic rock song because classic rock is good, and this song sucks. It certainly is a great example of crappy MOR classic rock.

    Boston falls into a category for me that includes singers from classic rock who seem to have no discernable personality. Boston, Toto, Foreigner; all faceless guys that I know nothing about, and care not to learn about.

  5. I consider “classic rock” a pejorative and a radio format, not a genre of music. Great artists that get played a lot on classic rock radio — Beatles, Stones, Bowie, Springsteen — are not in and of themselves classic rock (according to me) because they have transcended that ’60s-’70s era. To me, true classic rock is the faceless shit like those bands you mentioned.

    Smarminess is not a factor for classic rock for me. I honestly don’t know where The Eagles fit in my equation. They transcend the era, and at the same time, they suck. Impressive.

    I’m probably not explaining this as well as I could. It’s a personal thing for me, because that music sums up my high school experience, even if that was in the early-to-mid ’90s, and we were all also listening to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, etc.

    A perhaps illustrative story: during high school pep rallys (had to attend, I was in the marching band) the wrestling team always came on stage with “Bad Company” by Bad Company (from the album BAD COMPANY) playing over the PA. Hilarious to me in retrospect. *That* was the most bad-ass, sinister-sounding thing they could come up with? No one on the team listened to Metallica or even Sabbath?

  6. There was a time when I thought the Eagles sucked although I could not have explained why in any way that made sense. I think in the end I was just being a snob.

    When I hear them now, I hear a band that was really good at most everything. They were great craftsmen. That isn’t a pejorative to me. I think the Beatles, Dylan, the Great American Songbook songwriters, Bacharach-David, the Motown assembly line, and a zillion others were great craftsmen.

    Recognize I’m not saying the Eagles came anywhere near any of those artists. They aren’t at the top of the list of craftsmen. You can exhibit craftsmanship and still have an edge; they don’t. It’s just that I don’t need to turn the dial when they come on, I can enjoy them for what they are.

    Boston, on the other hand… Tom Scholz was surely a craftsman but a sphere has more edges than Boston. I can change the dial on them.

    My shelves have room for the Eagles Greatest Hits but not enough for Boston.

  7. I finally got some time to get reacquainted with this Boston song, and before I try to make sense of why anyone would bring the Eagles into this discussion, I will say, Oats, YES! This is the kind of work that Boston pulled off line no one before or since. They were geniuses of stock mediocrity.

  8. You know how there are places online for downloading stock art for commercial use? Boston’s music was the equivalent of stock art. It should have been delivered with a watermark on the vinyl that would only go away and allow the music to be heard The Way Tom Scholz Intended it to Be Heard if you paid a licensing fee.

  9. diskojoe

    I don’t have any Boston in my collection, but I’m not that much of a hater of them. The lead singer, Brad Delp, came from the North Shore of Boston, like me, & had a 1960s garage rock band called the Monks. One of his side gigs was a Beatles tribute band called Beatlejuice which played all over the Boston area. Unfortunately, he took his own life in 2007 after suffering from depression, which allegedly included being in the middle between Tom Scholz & the other members of the band who were fighting w/each other. Boston may not be my cuppa tea, but that 1st album was extremely popular & certainly caught the spirit of its time.

  10. I think the Eagles suck because while they could be pretty amazing at writing and singing melodies and harmonies, their lyrics were mean-spirited and misogynistic, even by the standards of the day. And Henley and Frey are/were such pustulent assholes that it’s impossible not to think their lyrics were genuine expressions of their own repugnant souls.

    Admittedly, they had Joe Walsh, but they managed to largely tame him into vanilladom (and, admittedly, saved his life in the process), and Don Felder, who was and is truly kickass…and so naturally they booted him from the band. Don Henley, meanwhile, is one of the greatest white singers ever, and the most mediocre drummer of any major band ever.

    They managed to create quite a few incredibly catchy songs, a small handful of which were also of quality. But generally their records are sterile and their live show pointless outside their own rapaciousness. And stacking their catalog up against any other rock band who sold in their quantities makes obvious just what lightweights they were. All of which drove them insane, because they wanted to be — and, sadly, really thought they had the potential to be — the equals of the Rolling Stones and Who and Led Zeppelin. Instead, they were a far more successful America. Only snottily self-obsessed rather than casually insipid.

    Sure did write some catchy tunes, though.

  11. Happiness Stan

    I’ve kept out of this one since I doubt I could even name a Boston song with any confidence, and what little I have I’d far rather misplace elsewhere. The only connotation I have is with the intro to Jonathan Richman’s New England, which I’d prefer to listen on constant loop than anything played on our recently launched (someone during the last twenty years) Classic Rock Radio. The theory I formulated in my teens involving inverse relationships between hair and flying Vs and music I like holding reasonably firm.

    Possibly I’d take a punt on Since You’ve Been Gone being one of theirs, but it might equally be Toto or Europe. I may, of course, just be prejudiced against beautiful white blokes with immaculate hair down to their waists with no difficulty in attracting women, but mainly I think it’s because it all sounds like Barry Manilow with guitars that only play the top notes.

    I volunteered to usher at our theatre for an Illegal Eagles show a couple of years ago and had to beg to be relieved after getting people seated again for the second half. I do miss the theatre, I use it as an opportunity to get over myself and my prejudices against ballet, opera, professional after dinner speakers, youth productions etc. To date, I’ve only drawn the line at the Hairy Bikers, old blokes rambling on about cricket and UB40, but then who wouldn’t?

    I enjoyed your rant about the Eagles, Scott, which may or may not get somewhere close to explaining the psychology behind me inability to forgive them their entire musical output when I’ve allowed Rumours era Fleetwood Mac and almost everything else from that era the benefit of the doubt.

  12. Scott (the other one) edited to make my point: ” … the Eagles suck … could be pretty amazing at writing and singing melodies and harmonies…
    … they had Joe Walsh…and Don Felder, who was and is truly kickass… Don Henley, meanwhile, is one of the greatest white singers ever…
    They managed to create quite a few incredibly catchy songs, a small handful of which were also of quality…
    Sure did write some catchy tunes, though.”

    Which is why I said I don’t need to change the dial when they come on.

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