Brad Delp

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Brad Delp
Delp performing c. 1976
Delp performing c. 1976
Background information
Birth nameBradley Edward Delp
Born(1951-06-12)June 12, 1951
Peabody, Massachusetts, U.S.
OriginDanvers, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedMarch 9, 2007(2007-03-09) (aged 55)
Atkinson, New Hampshire, U.S.
GenresHard rock, rock
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
Instrument(s)
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboards
  • harmonica
Years active1969–2007
LabelsEpic, MCA, Artemis
Websitebraddelpfoundation.org

Bradley Edward Delp (June 12, 1951 – March 9, 2007) was an American musician, best known as the original lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the rock band Boston. He joined Boston in 1970, in which he played and sang on the band's first three albums.

Early life[edit]

Delp was born in Peabody, Massachusetts, on June 12, 1951, his parents were French-Canadian immigrants. He was raised in Danvers, Massachusetts.[1]

Musical career[edit]

Delp while playing for his band Beatlejuice

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), which included 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.[citation needed]

Boston's debut album has sold more than 17 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 ballad "A Man I'll Never Be". As they did with "Smokin'", Delp and Scholz collaborated on "Party", and Delp penned "Used to Bad News".[citation needed]

After the first two Boston albums, Delp sang vocals on Barry Goudreau's self-titled solo album, released in 1980. Scholz's perfectionism and a legal battle with their record company stalled any further Boston albums until 1986 when the band released 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.[citation needed]

Though probably best known for the soaring vocals and range of his "golden" voice and for 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 band called RTZ. After Boston released the album Walk On in 1994 with Fran Cosmo on vocals, Delp and Boston reunited later that year for another major tour. 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.[citation needed]

From the mid-1990s until his death in 2007, Delp played in a side project when he had time off from Boston – a Beatles tribute band called Beatlejuice. During this time, Delp also co-wrote and recorded with former Boston bandmate Barry Goudreau, and in 2003 released the CD Delp and Goudreau.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Delp was married and divorced twice, and had two children by his second wife, Micki Boone, who had been a flight attendant on tour with Boston. Boone’s sister, Connie, subsequently married band member Goudreau. Brad and Micki married in 1980 and divorced in 1996. He was a vegetarian for over 30 years, and contributed to a number of charitable causes.[3]

Suicide and aftermath[edit]

Sometime between 11:00 pm on March 8 and 1:20 am on March 9, 2007, Delp committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in his home on 55 Academy Avenue, in Atkinson, New Hampshire.[4] He left various notes scattered from his car to the interior of his home. The Atkinson police discovered his body on the floor of his master bathroom after his fiancée, Pamela Sullivan saw a dryer vent tube connected to the exhaust pipe of Delp's car. Two charcoal grills were found to have been placed in the bathtub and lit, causing the room to fill with smoke.[5] A suicide note was paperclipped to the neck of his T-shirt, which read the same as a character's note from Twin Peaks: "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 a couple who were not named by the media.[6][7][8] He was 55 years old. The following day, Boston's website was replaced with a simple black background and white text message: "We've just lost the nicest guy in rock and roll."[9]

Delp's cause of death was ruled a suicide.[10] The reason for Delp's suicide has been the subject of contradictory news reports and various lawsuits. A series[11] of interviews conducted by the Boston Herald alleged that lingering hard feelings from Boston's disbandment 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 filed in response.[12] Court documents from the trials detail Scholz stating that Delp was plagued by personal problems.[13] Boston Herald attorneys pointed to 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 disliked Scholz, desperately wanted to quit the band, and was tormented by his role as middleman in an ugly conflict between Scholz and former band members. All of this was summarized in a 140-page statement filed by the Herald in April 2012.[14]

Additional sworn testimony by Meg Sullivan revealed an additional explanation for Delp’s suicide: Delp was housemates with Meg, fiancée Pamela's sister, for two and a half years before his death. On February 28, 2007, Meg discovered a hidden camera planted in her room.[15] After Meg confronted him, Delp admitted to planting the camera and later wrote a series of emails pleading for forgiveness. Todd Winmill, Meg's boyfriend, implored Delp to admit his wrongdoings to Pamela on March 3. After promising to tell her in a few days, Delp purchased the grills and tubing he later used to commit suicide. Pamela found his body on March 9 in the room where several notes were written by Delp, one of which read: "I have had bouts of depression and thoughts of suicide since I was a teenager … [Pamela] was my 'ray of sunshine', but sometimes even a ray of sunshine is no substitute for a good psychiatrist."[16]

On October 16, 2007, Barry Goudreau released one final song with Delp on vocals, titled "Rockin Away". Written and recorded in mid 2006, co-written with Goudreau, it is an autobiography of Delp's musical career.[17] According to "America's Music Charts", the song reached #20 on the rock charts in January 2008.[18]

On what would have been Delp's 61st birthday, June 12, 2012, Jenna Delp, his daughter and president of the Brad Delp Foundation, released an MP3 on the foundation website of a "never before released" song that was written and recorded by Delp in 1973. It was announced 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 30 years of previously unreleased material written and recorded by Delp and his closest friends.[19]

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 Scholz. In its ruling, the court said that 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".[20][21] On February 23, 2016, Scholz filed a petition for certiorari asking the Supreme Court of the United States to allow his defamation lawsuit to proceed. On June 6, 2016, the Supreme Court declined to review the case.[22]

Discography[edit]

with Boston[edit]

with Barry Goudreau[edit]

with Orion the Hunter[edit]

with RTZ[edit]

with Delp and Goudreau[edit]

with Mark "Guitar" Miller[edit]

  • Whatcha Gonna Do! (2008)

Other appearances[edit]

  • Keith Emerson - Best Revenge - Playing For Keeps (1982)
  • Bruce Arnold - Orpheus Again (2010)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pareles, Jon (March 10, 2007). Brad Delp, 55, Lead Singer for Boston, Dies. The New York Times
  2. ^ "Barry Goudreau. The official website for former Boston guitarist, Barry Goudreau. Mother's Milk, Boston, Orion the Hunter, RTZ, Lisa Guyer Band, Ernie and the Automatics".
  3. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "The Band Boston Fan Site – Lead singer of band Boston dies". Gonnahitcharide.com. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "'I am a lonely soul,' Delp suicide note says". Today.com. March 15, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  7. ^ "Brad Delp's fiancee releases statement on his death". therockradio.com. March 28, 2007. Archived from the original on April 27, 2007.
  8. ^ "Police Report on Delp's Death Reveals His Final Message". WMUR. March 16, 2007. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  9. ^ "Brad Delp, 55, lead singer for bestselling '70s band Boston". Boston.com. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  10. ^ "Family: Rocker Brad Delp's death was suicide". Boston.com. Associated Press. March 14, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  11. ^ "Defamation Suit Over Boston Singer's Suicide Tossed". Law360.com. Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  12. ^ "Tom Scholz loses suit against Boston Herald". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  13. ^ "Boston Herald Beats Libel Suit Over Boston Singer's Suicide". Law360.com. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  14. ^ "Sad revelations behind the suicide of former Boston singer Brad Delp". Marshall Of Rock. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  15. ^ Edgers, Geoff (May 27, 2012). "Singer's last days detailed in court papers". Boston.com. Archived from the original on March 21, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  16. ^ "Court Documents Recount 'Embarrassing Incident' That Preceded Boston Singer's Suicide". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  17. ^ 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 January 10, 2018.
  18. ^ "'Rockin Away' on Radio Charts". thirdstage.ca. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  19. ^ "Press Releases". Brad Delp Foundation. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  20. ^ "Court rules against Tom Scholz in Boston Herald defamation case". Bostonglobe.com. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  21. ^ "Scholz v. Delp". scotusblog.com. Archived from the original on May 22, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  22. ^ "Justices Reject Defamation Suit by Rock Group Boston Founder". ABC News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on June 16, 2016.

External links[edit]