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Delp performing in 1976
|Birth name||Bradley Edward Delp|
June 12, 1951|
Peabody, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Origin||Danvers, Massachusetts, U.S.|
March 9, 2007 (aged 55)|
Atkinson, New Hampshire, U.S.
|Genres||Hard rock, rock|
|Labels||Epic, MCA, Artemis|
In 1969, guitarist Barry Goudreau introduced Delp to Tom Scholz, who was looking for a singer to complete some demo recordings. Eventually Scholz formed the short-lived band Mother's Milk (1973–74), including Delp and Goudreau. After producing a demo, Epic Records eventually signed the act. Mother's Milk was renamed Boston, and the self-titled debut album (recorded in 1975, although many tracks had been written years before) was released in August 1976. Delp performed all of the lead and all backing harmony vocals, including all layered vocal overdubs.
Boston's debut album has sold more than 20 million copies, and produced rock standards such as "More Than a Feeling", "Foreplay/Long Time" and "Peace of Mind". Delp co-wrote "Smokin'" along with Scholz, and wrote the album's closing track, "Let Me Take You Home Tonight". Their next album, Don't Look Back, was released two years later in August 1978. Its release spawned new hits such as the title track, "Party", and the poignant ballad "A Man I'll Never Be". As they did with "Smokin'", Delp and Scholz again collaborated on "Party", and Delp penned "Used to Bad News".
After the first two Boston albums, Delp sang vocals on Barry Goudreau's self-titled solo album, released in 1980. Scholz's legendary perfectionism and a legal battle with their record company stalled any further Boston albums until 1986, when the band released the appropriately titled Third Stage. Delp co-wrote the songs "Cool the Engines" and "Can'tcha Say (You Believe in Me)/Still in Love" for the album, and both songs got significant airplay.
Though well known for his "golden" voice with soaring vocals and range and singing all harmony parts on every song, Delp was also a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, harmonica and keyboards. He wrote or co-wrote songs for Boston, RTZ, Orion the Hunter, Lisa Guyer, and other artists.
In 1991 Delp and Goudreau formed a new band called RTZ. After Boston released the album Walk On in 1994 with Fran Cosmo on vocals, Delp and Boston eventually reunited later that year for another major tour and Delp continued to record vocals on several albums and projects, including new tracks for Boston's 1997 Greatest Hits compilation and their 2002 release, Corporate America.
From the mid-1990s until his death in 2007, Delp also played in a side project when he had time off from Boston – a Beatles tribute band called Beatlejuice. The Beatles had always been a personal favorite of Delp, and he revered them for their songwriting.
During this time Delp also co-wrote and recorded with former Boston bandmate Barry Goudreau and in 2003 released the CD Delp and Goudreau.
Delp was married and divorced twice, and had two children by his second wife, Micki Delp. He was a vegetarian for over 30 years, and contributed to a number of charitable causes.
Sometime between 11:00 pm on March 8 and 1:20 pm on March 9, 2007, Delp committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning at his home in Atkinson, New Hampshire on Academy Avenue. The Atkinson police discovered his body on the floor of his master bathroom after Pamela Sullivan saw a dryer vent tube connected to the exhaust pipe of Delp's car. Two charcoal grills were found to have been lit inside the bathtub causing the room to fill with smoke. A suicide note was paper-clipped to the neck of his T-shirt, which read: "Mr. Brad Delp. 'J'ai une âme solitaire'. I am a lonely soul." Delp left four sealed envelopes in his office addressed to his children, his former wife Micki, his fiancée, and another unnamed couple. He was 55 years old. The following day, Boston's website was temporarily shut down, the webmaster having replaced their home page with a simple black background and white text message: "We've just lost the nicest guy in rock and roll."
Delp's cause of death was ruled a suicide. The reason for Delp's suicide has been the subject of contradictory news reports and lawsuits. A series of interviews conducted by the Boston Herald alleged that lingering hard feelings from Boston's breakup in the 1980s and personal tension between Delp and bandleader Scholz drove the singer to commit suicide. Scholz denied these claims but lost the defamation suits he waged in defense of his character. Court documents from the trials show Scholz claimed that personal problems plagued Delp. Boston Herald attorneys point to voluminous testimony from former Boston members, other local musicians, Delp’s doctor, and Delp’s friends, including Meg Sullivan (his fiancée's sister), many of whom say the singer didn’t like Scholz, desperately wanted to quit the band, and felt tormented by his role as middle man in an ugly conflict between Boston’s founder and former band members. All of this was summarized in a 140-page statement filed by the Herald in April.
On October 16, 2007, Barry Goudreau released one final song with Delp on vocals titled "Rockin Away". Written and recorded in the summer of 2006, co-written with Goudreau, it is an autobiography of Delp's musical career. According to "America's Music Charts", the song reached #20 on the rock charts in January 2008.
On what would have been Delp's 61st birthday, June 12, 2012, Jenna Delp, Delp's daughter and President of the Brad Delp Foundation, released an MP3 on the foundation website of a "never before released" song which was written and recorded by Delp in 1973. It was also announced that the Foundation intended to release a complete album of Delp's solo work at some point in the future, which would encompass a span of thirty years of previously unreleased material written and recorded by Delp and his closest friends.
On November 25, 2015, The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts found in favor of the Boston Herald and Micki Delp in a defamation lawsuit brought by Tom Scholz, producer, primary songwriter and lead musician for Boston. In its ruling, the court said statements attributing Delp’s suicide to Scholz were “statements of opinion and not verifiable fact, and therefore could not form the basis of a claim of defamation.” On February 23, 2016, Scholz filed a petition for certiorari asking the Supreme Court of the United States to allow his defamation lawsuit to go ahead. On June 6, 2016, the Supreme Court declined to revive the case.
- Boston (1976)
- Don't Look Back (1978)
- Third Stage (1986)
- Corporate America (2002)
- Life, Love & Hope (2013)
with Barry Goudreau
- Barry Goudreau (1980)
with Orion the Hunter
- Orion the Hunter (1984)
with Delp and Goudreau
- Delp and Goudreau (2003)
with Mark "Guitar" Miller
- Whatcha Gonna Do! (2008)
- Bruce Arnold - Orpheus Again (2010)
- Pareles, Jon (March 10, 2007). Brad Delp, 55, Lead Singer for Boston, Dies. The New York Times
- [permanent dead link]
- "The Band Boston Fan Site – Lead singer of band Boston dies". Gonnahitcharide.com. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
- "Brad Delp: Details Emerge About His Tragic Suicide". Guitar World. April 27, 2007. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
- "'I am a lonely soul,' Delp suicide note says". MSNBC. March 15, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
- "Brad Delp's fiancee releases statement on his death". therockradio.com. March 28, 2007. Archived from the original on April 27, 2007.
- "Police Report on Delp's Death Reveals His Final Message". WMUR. March 16, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
- "Family: Rocker Brad Delp's death was suicide". Boston.com. Associated Press. March 14, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved 2016-09-02.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved 2016-09-02.
- "Boston Herald Beats Libel Suit Over Boston Singer's Suicide". Law360.com. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
- "Sad revelations behind the suicide of former Boston singer Brad Delp". Marshall Of Rock. Retrieved 2016-12-14.
- Lentz III, Harris M. (2008). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2007. Jefferson, North carolina: McFarland & Company, inc. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-7864-3481-7. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
- "'Rockin Away' on Radio Charts". thirdstage.ca. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
- "Press Releases". Brad Delp Foundation. Retrieved 2017-04-29.
- "Court rules against Tom Scholz in Boston Herald defamation case". Bostonglobe.com. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 22, 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
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