"Foreplay/Long Time" is a song written by Tom Scholz and first performed by the rock bandBoston on the band's eponymous debut album, and as their second single, on Epic Records in 1976. It combines an instrumental introduction, "Foreplay", to the main song "Long Time", generally played as one on the radio and listed as one track on the album. "Long Time" peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week ending March 5, 1977. The standalone "Foreplay" was released as the B-side of Boston's next single "Peace of Mind", which was released in April.
In an interview for the Best of Boston CD, Scholz said that "Foreplay" was the first song he ever recorded, and he did this on a two-track machine in his basement.
"Foreplay" is also a relatively early song, written about six years prior to the release of the Boston album.
An alternate mix of the song is available on the Epic Records Promo LP It's a Knockout. It was a sampler LP of artists that had releases coming up in 1976. This version has various differences in the mix and effects and also includes extra lyrics towards the end of the song. This version has never been available officially anywhere else.
"Foreplay" is a progressive instrumental prelude, primarily consisting of rapid triplet arpeggios on Hammond M3 organ (contrary to popular belief, the song was not recorded on a B3, as Tom Scholz had a limited budget at the time and was unable to afford one) with a bass part doubled by a clavinet, and drums, with lead guitar joining at the end. According to Scholz, leader and producer of Boston, the synthesizer-like swoops were not produced with synthesizers, but rather by scraping a pick across the strings of an electric guitar in conjunction with distortion and delay.
The three guitar solos on "Long Time" are played by Barry Goudreau, rather than Scholz, who played most of the guitar parts on Boston. Goudreau also plays the solo in "Let Me Take You Home Tonight". Scholz played the solos in "More Than a Feeling", "Peace of Mind", "Rock & Roll Band" and "Something About You".
Rolling Stone described "Foreplay/Long Time" as "a perfect marriage of Led Zeppelin and Yes that plays musical chairs with electric and acoustic sounds."
In 2004, "Long Time" was used as the background music for a series of television commercials, titled "Timeless", for NASCAR, featuring a hypothetical race between drivers and cars of all eras of NASCAR competition. It was featured on YouTube on a Best of NASCAR 2013 video.
"Foreplay/Long Time" is featured as a playable track in the video game Rock Band. It is the final song in the Vocal Solo Tour. The track was played during Part 1 of the Season 2 finale of the television show Supernatural.
Rascal Flatts played a cover version of "Foreplay/Long Time" in concert, which was released on the album Rascal Flatts LIVE.
Phish celebrated their first concert at Great Woods in Mansfield, Massachusetts by opening with "Foreplay/Long Time". They had covered a bluegrass arrangement earlier in their careers, but this was the first time they played the full electric version that is heard on the album.