More Than a Feeling

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"More Than a Feeling"
Single by Boston
from the album Boston
ReleasedSeptember 1976
RecordedOctober 1975 – April 1976
StudioFoxglove (Watertown, Massachusetts)
GenreHard rock[1]
  • 3:25 (single edit/video version)
  • 4:45 (album version)
  • 5:03 (full version)
Songwriter(s)Tom Scholz
Boston singles chronology
"More Than a Feeling"
"Long Time"
Music video
"More Than a Feeling" on YouTube

"More Than a Feeling" is a song by the American rock band Boston. Written by Tom Scholz, it was released as the lead single from their eponymous 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 2008, it was named the 39th best hard rock song of all time by VH1.[1] 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.[2][3]

Background and writing[edit]

The song was based on a fantasy rather than fact[4] and took Tom Scholz five years to complete.[5][6] It is one of six songs (five of which eventually appeared on the Boston album[7]) that he worked on in his basement in 1974 and 1975, before Boston got its record contract.[6] The drum parts were originally developed by Jim Masdea, although Sib Hashian played the drums on the official release.[7] The verses are in the key of D major while the chorus is in G major. The song is in compound AABA form.[8]


The Book of Rock Lists suggests that the chorus riff may itself be a subtle homage to the Kingsmen's classic, "Louie Louie." Scholz has stated in multiple interviews his fondness for The James Gang, and in particular that band's 1970s album, "Rides Again,".[9][10][11][12] Accordingly, the signature riff for "More than a Feeling" bears a striking resemblance to that composed by Joe Walsh for the "Rides Again" track, "The Ashes, the Rain and I." Scholz credits "Walk Away Renee" by The Left Banke as the song's main inspiration.[13][14]

Boston's website says the song is about "the power an old song can have in your life,"[15] with Scholz elaborating that "it was sort of a bittersweet ballad."[16] Ultimate Classic Rock critic Michael Gallucci points out that this is a common theme in Boston songs.[17]

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).[18] 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."[6] 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."[6] 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.[6]


Billboard Magazine described "More Than a Feeling" as an "electric guitar-dominated rocker is made commercial with an accessible beat and hand-clap backup and smooth, soaring vocals."[19]

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."[20] Rolling Stone Album Guide critic Paul Evans states that "as slick as it sounds, 'More Than a Feeling' strikes an uncommonly resonant emotional note."[21] Gallucci rated it Boston's greatest song.[17] Ultimate Classic Rock critic Dave Swanson rated it the #28 all-time classic rock song.[22]


Chart performance[edit]

Covers and use in politics[edit]

The song was covered by Yes members Alan White, Tony Kaye and Billy Sherwood in 2007 for the Sherwood-produced all-star album Rock Infinity.

In 1992, when Nirvana performed their breakthrough single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit", at the Reading Festival, they incorporated part of "More Than a Feeling" at the beginning, a reference to the similarities between the two songs' main guitar riffs.[39]

In 2005, American rock band Ingram Hill covered "More Than a Feeling". It was never included on one of their albums, but instead appeared on the soundtrack of the Lindsay Lohan movie spectacular, Herbie: Fully Loaded.

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."[40] Huckabee complied with Scholz's request, and videos featuring Barry Goudreau and the song were subsequently removed by the Huckabee campaign.

In 2014, Darren Criss and Jenna Ushkowitz covered this in an episode of Glee.

Downloadable content for music games[edit]

The song was covered by WaveGroup Sound as part of the soundtrack for the original Guitar Hero released in 2005,[41] and later released as a master recording on Guitar Hero Smash Hits and Guitar Hero Live's GHTV.

The song was made available to download on March 1, 2011, for use in the Rock Band music video game series.[42]

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."[43]


  1. ^ a b "Vh1 Top 100 Hard Rock Songs". January 1, 2009. Archived from the original on February 12, 2009. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  2. ^ "Rolling Stone : The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". November 9, 2006. Archived from the original on November 9, 2006. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  3. ^ "500 Songs That Shaped Rock". InfoPlease. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "More than a Feeling" profile, Rolling Stone, 2004.
  6. ^ a b c d e Aledort, Andy (September 1997). "The Rock Man". Maximum Guitar. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Wright, J. "Feelin' Satisfied: An Interview with Tom Scholz of Boston". Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  8. ^ Covach, John (2005), "Form in Rock Music: A Primer", in Stein, Deborah, Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis, New York: Oxford University Press, p.74-75, ISBN 0-19-517010-5 .
  9. ^ Rides Again - James Gang | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic, retrieved October 13, 2020
  10. ^ "Tom Scholz Quotes". BrainyQuote. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  11. ^ "A decade in his basement gave Tom Scholz a brand-new Boston album". Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  12. ^ "Tom Scholz of Boston on music & more". San Diego Union-Tribune. July 20, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  13. ^ "The Band Boston Fan Site - Sound & Vision Review of Tom Scholz' Remasters". Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  14. ^ "More Than a Feeling by Boston, Song Stories". Rolling Stone Music.
  15. ^ "Boston". Boston. Archived from the original on June 8, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  16. ^ Boston / Tom Scholz exclusive interview / More Than A Feeling. October 10, 2015 – via YouTube.
  17. ^ a b Gallucci, Michael. "Top 10 Boston songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  18. ^ Boston / Tom Scholz exclusive interview / More Than A Feeling. October 10, 2015 – via YouTube.
  19. ^ "Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard Magazine. August 28, 1976. p. 84. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  20. ^ "Boston: Feelin' Satisfied". Guitar World. October 2006. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  21. ^ Evans, P. (2004). Brackett, N.; Hoard, C. (eds.). The Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 96. ISBN 0743201698.
  22. ^ Swanson, Dave. "No. 28: Boston, 'More Than a Feeling' – Top 100 Classic Rock Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  23. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992: 23 years of hit singles & albums from the top 100 charts. St Ives, N.S.W, Australia: Australian Chart Book. p. 43. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  24. ^ "Radio2 top 30: 8 oktober 2016 | Radio2". Archived from the original on April 9, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  25. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5142a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  26. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Boston" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  27. ^ " – Boston – More than a Feeling" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  28. ^ " – Boston – More than a Feeling". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  29. ^ " – Boston – More than a Feeling". Singles Top 100. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  30. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  31. ^ "Boston Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  32. ^ "Top 100 1976-12-04". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  33. ^ "Kent Music Report No 183 – 26 December 1977 > National Top 100 Singles for 1977". Kent Music Report. Retrieved January 14, 2020 – via
  34. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on March 25, 2014. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  35. ^ "INFINITY CHARTS: German Top 20". January 14, 2000. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  36. ^ "Cash Box Magazine". January 18, 2013. Archived from the original on January 18, 2013.
  37. ^ "British single certifications – Boston – More Than a Feeling". British Phonographic Industry. April 3, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type More Than a Feeling in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  38. ^ "American single certifications – Boston – More Than a Feeling". Recording Industry Association of America. April 8, 2020. Retrieved April 8, 2020. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  39. ^ Greene, Andy. "Flashback: Nirvana Play a Bit of Boston's 'More Than a Feeling'". Rolling Stone (29 January 2015). Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  40. ^ "'More than a Feeling'" Writer Says Mike Huckabee Has Caused Him 'Damage'", Rolling Stone website, February 14, 2008.
  41. ^ "Guitar Hero Songs List".
  42. ^ Gaddo, Kyle (February 25, 2011). "Eleven Legacy Rock Band Tracks Getting PRO Upgrades On March 1st". The Gaming Vault. Archived from the original on May 25, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  43. ^ "Rocksmith™ DLC Official US Site Ubisoft®". Retrieved April 11, 2013.

External links[edit]