More Than a Feeling
|"More Than a Feeling"|
|Single by Boston|
|from the album Boston|
|Recorded||October 1975 – April 1976|
|Studio||Foxglove (Watertown, MA)|
|Boston singles chronology|
"More Than a Feeling" is a song by American rock band Boston. Written by Tom Scholz, it was released as the lead single from their self-titled debut album on Epic Records in September 1976, with "Smokin'" on the b-side. The single peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. The track is now a staple of classic rock and in 1999 it was named the 39th best hard rock song of all time by VH1. It was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll, and was also ranked at Number 500 on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, though it was dropped from the 2010 update.
Background and writing
The song took Tom Scholz five years to complete. It is one of six songs (five of which eventually appeared on the Boston album) that he worked on in his basement in 1974 and 1975, before Boston got its record contract. The drum parts were originally developed by Jim Masdea, although Sib Hashian played the drums on the official release. The verses are in the key of D major while the chorus is in G major. The song is in compound AABA form.
The Book of Rock Lists suggests that the chorus riff may itself be a subtle homage to the Kingsmen's classic, "Louie Louie." Scholz credits "Walk Away Renee" by The Left Banke as the song's main inspiration.
Boston's website says the song is about "the power an old song can have in your life," with Scholz elaborating that "it was sort of a bittersweet ballad." Ultimate Classic Rock critic Michael Gallucci points out that this is a common theme in Boston songs.
The lyrics express the author's discontent with the present and his yearning for a former love named Marianne, whose memory is strongly evoked by an old familiar song. In an interview Scholz was asked, "Who is Marianne?" He replied, "There actually is a Marianne. She wasn't my girlfriend." He explained that when he was 8 or 9 years old he had a much older cousin who he thought was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen and that he was "secretly in love" with her (laughs). But he has also stated that the lyrics were inspired by his emotions after a school love affair ended, and were influenced by the lyrics of the Left Banke song "Walk Away Renee." Maximum Guitar author Andy Aledort pointed out that the guitar chord progression of G-D/F#-Em7-D that follows the line "I see my Marianne walking away" also comes from "Walk Away Renee." Aledort also explains that the guitar solo is unusual in that it incorporates mordents and inverted mordents, which are more typically used in baroque music.
Guitar World states that when the radio plays "More Than a Feeling", "few can resist indulging in fits of fleet-fingered air guitar and a spirited falsetto sing-along." Rolling Stone Album Guide critic Paul Evans states that "as slick as it sounds, 'More Than a Feeling' strikes an uncommonly resonant emotional note." Gallucci rated it Boston's greatest song. Ultimate Classic Rock critic Dave Swanson rated it the #28 all-time classic rock song.
Epic released an edited version of the song for the single with the first chorus and second verse removed, clocking in at 3:30 versus the album track at 4:45. That single edit can be found on the Rock installment of Sony's Soundtrack for a Century box set from 1999.
Stafford Brothers cover
2008 U.S. presidential race
In 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee used the song "More Than a Feeling" to promote his campaign. Former Boston band member Barry Goudreau made appearances with Huckabee both live and on YouTube. In February 2008, Scholz wrote to Huckabee requesting that he stop using the song, stating:
While I'm flattered that you are fond of my song, I'm shocked that you would use it and the name Boston to promote yourself without my consent. Your campaign's use of "More Than a Feeling", coupled with the representation of one of your supporters as a member "of Boston" clearly implies that the band Boston, and specifically one of its members, has endorsed your candidacy, neither of which is true.
Huckabee complied with Scholz's request, and videos featuring Barry Goudreau and the song were subsequently removed by the Huckabee campaign.
In popular culture
"More Than a Feeling" has been extensively used in films and television:
- The song was used in the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
- The song was used at the end of the 2009 film The Men Who Stare at Goats.
- It was featured in the episode "My Half-Acre" of the comedy series Scrubs, in which it is performed by an air-band.
- The song was used in an episode of the crime drama web series Seven Seconds, in which the characters KJ and Fish sit on a car and comment on the song.
- The track "Carl's Theme", performed by Nine Pound Hammer, from the soundtrack to the 2007 animated film Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, states that "More Than a Feeling" is the world's greatest song, according to the titular Carl.
- In the 2008 animated DreamWorks film Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, the song plays as the penguins play an 8-track of the album after stealing a car from the humans.
- The song was featured in the end credits of the 2011 film Zookeeper, in which the animals perform a vocal rendition of the song.
- It was used in the 2010 film Burlesque.
- American sitcom The Goldbergs featured the song on the final episode of its fifth season.
- The song appeared in the 1988 film She's Having a Baby.
- It was used in the 1980 drama film Foxes.
- The Sopranos featured the song in the eleventh episode of its second season, "House Arrest".
- In the 2013 film The Heat, the song plays as one of the characters drives by in a mini van.
- The song appeared in the second trailer for the 2015 Disney-Pixar film Inside Out.
- The song plays on an episode of the CBS crime drama series Criminal Minds, as two criminals drive away after kidnapping a woman.
- In the comedy series Eastbound & Down, the song appears in the second episode of the first season.
- The song appeared in the second season finale of the NBC sitcom Superstore.
- It appears in the 2008 comedy-drama film Lymelife.
- It plays at the beginning of the first episode of season 3 of the romantic comedy series The Mindy Project, as Danny dances for Mindy to the song.
- The Walking Dead featured the song in the tenth episode of its sixth season, "The Next World".
- The song appears in the soundtrack to the 1978 film FM.
- UK motoring television series Top Gear briefly featured the song on episode 6 of its 22nd series.
- ABC sitcom The Middle featured the song on the sixth season episode "The Waiting Game", where one of the characters, Mike, is caught by his family singing along to the song in his car. "Boston" jokes become a recurring theme for the rest of the episode.
- The song made an appearance in an episode of the crime drama series The Wire.
- The song was covered by Darren Criss and Jenna Ushkowitz in the eleventh episode of the fifth season of the comedy-musical series Glee, "City of Angels".
- The song appeared in the opening scene of the first episode of Cold Case.
- Krippendorf's Tribe, the 1998 film adaptation of the novel of the same name, also makes use of the song.
- It was used in the fifth episode of the first season of the series What About Brian, "Sex, Lies & Videotape".
- Season 2 episode 4 of Mindhunter, the 1980s located Netflix series about the FBI, uses the song in the date scene at a bowling alley.
- Tom Scholz – acoustic and electric rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass
- Brad Delp – vocals
- Sib Hashian – drums
Downloadable content for music games
The song is also available as downloadable content (DLC) for the Rocksmith guitar learning game. The song is available individually or as part of the 'Rock Hits 70s' Song Pack along with "Jessica" by The Allman Brothers Band and Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water."
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