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] · pop rock[2][3]
  • 3:25 (single edit/video version)
  • 4:45 (album version)
Songwriter(s)Tom Scholz
Boston singles chronology
"More Than a Feeling"
"Long Time"
Music video
"More Than a Feeling (Single edit)" on YouTube

"More Than a Feeling" is a song by the American rock band Boston, released as the lead single and the opening track from the band's 1976 debut album by Epic Records in September 1976, with "Smokin'" as the B-side. Tom Scholz wrote the whole song. The single entered the US Billboard Hot 100 on September 18 and peaked at number five.[4] The track is now a staple of classic rock radio, 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 list of the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll" and is ranked number 212 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time", updated from its previous position of number 500 on the 2004 version.[5]

Background and writing[edit]

"More than a Feeling" took Scholz five years to complete.[6][7] Scholz wrote the lyrics based on the idea of losing someone close, and on the way in which music can connect a person to memories of the past.[citation needed] Though not based on any specific event in Scholz's life, he did take the name Marianne from his cousin.[8] It is one of six songs (five of which eventually appeared on the Boston album[9]) that he worked on in his basement from 1968 to 1975, before Boston got its record contract.[10] The drum parts were originally developed by Jim Masdea, although Sib Hashian played the drums on the official release.[9] The song is in compound AABA form.[11]


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, James Gang Rides Again.[12][13][14][15] Accordingly, the signature riff for "More than a Feeling" bears a resemblance to that composed by Joe Walsh for the "Rides Again" track "Tend My Garden".[16] Scholz credits "Walk Away Renee" by The Left Banke as the song's main inspiration.[17][18]

Boston's website says the song is about "the power an old song can have in your life",[19] with Scholz elaborating that "it was sort of a bittersweet ballad."[20] Ultimate Classic Rock critic Michael Gallucci points out that this is a common theme in Boston songs.[21]

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 whom he thought was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen and that he was "secretly in love" with her (laughs),[22] 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".[10] 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."[10] 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.[10]


Billboard described "More Than a Feeling" as an "electric guitar-dominated rocker...made commercial with an accessible beat and hand-clap backup and smooth, soaring vocals."[23] Cash Box said "it’s a hard-rock offering, but has a sophisticated melody that makes good use of minor chords" and has "attractive" unison guitar work and powerful vocals.[24] Record World said that with the song Boston "shows it is adept at rocking with a heavy metal fury, yet at the same time builds a dynamic tension around the melody of the tune."[25] Classic Rock critic Paul Elliott rated it as "Boston's all-time greatest song".[26] Los Angeles Times critic Robert Hilburn called it a "marvelously appealing pop-rock single" and said that it ranks with Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" as one of the best singles of 1976.[2] Hilburn also said that the song combines "the graceful splendor and rousing melodic hooks of the Moody Blues, the strident guitar impact of Queen's Brian May and some of the romantic pop-rock consciousness of Eric Carmen and the old Raspberries."[3]

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."[27] Rolling Stone Album Guide critic Paul Evans states that "as slick as it sounds, 'More Than a Feeling' strikes an uncommonly resonant emotional note."[28] Gallucci rated it Boston's greatest song, as did Classic Rock History critic Brian Kachejian.[21][29] Ultimate Classic Rock critic Dave Swanson rated it the number-28 all-time classic rock song.[30]




Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[48] Gold 45,000
Germany (BVMI)[49] Gold 250,000
Italy (FIMI)[50] Platinum 50,000
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[51] Platinum 60,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[52] Platinum 600,000
United States (RIAA)[53] Gold 500,000*

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Covers and use in politics and other media[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. This part is included on the DVD version of Nirvana's live album, Live at Reading.[54]
  • The song was covered by the band Ingram Hill and included on the soundtrack for the 2005 movie Herbie: Fully Loaded.
  • The song was covered by the Zoo Animals from 2011 American fantasy comedy film Zookeeper.
  • The was sample in the song "Totally Hooked" by DJ Peter Presta in 2005.
  • In 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee used the song 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."[55] Huckabee complied with Scholz's request, and videos featuring Barry Goudreau and the song were subsequently removed by the Huckabee campaign.
  • The song appears in the 2008 Dreamworks film Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa where the penguins steal the cars of tourists in Africa and also appears on the plane near the end of the film.
  • The song appears in trailers and teasers from Pixar's Inside Out and Netflix's Leo.
  • The song appears in the 2013 film The Heat.
  • The song is featured on the 6th episode of the 22nd season of Top Gear.

Downloadable content for music games[edit]


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  3. ^ a b Hilburn, Robert (September 28, 1976). "Debuts: Discs with a Difference". Los Angeles Times. p. 52. Retrieved January 4, 2023 – via
  4. ^ "Boston chart history". Billboard.
  5. ^ "Boston, 'More Than a Feeling'". Rolling Stone. September 15, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  6. ^ "More than a Feeling" profile, Rolling Stone, 2004.
  7. ^ Aledort, Andy (September 1997). "The Rock Man". Maximum Guitar. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  8. ^ "'More Than a Feeling': The making of a rock classic". Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Wright, J. "Feelin' Satisfied: An Interview with Tom Scholz of Boston". Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c d Aledort, Andy (September 1997). "The Rock Man". Maximum Guitar. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  11. ^ 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 .
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  17. ^ "The Band Boston Fan Site - Sound & Vision Review of Tom Scholz' Remasters". May 7, 2006. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  18. ^ "More Than a Feeling by Boston, Song Stories". Rolling Stone Music. Archived from the original on May 29, 2012.
  19. ^ "Boston". Boston. Archived from the original on June 8, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  20. ^ Boston / Tom Scholz exclusive interview / More Than A Feeling. October 10, 2015 – via YouTube.
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  22. ^ Boston / Tom Scholz exclusive interview / More Than A Feeling. October 10, 2015 – via YouTube.
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  24. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. August 28, 1976. p. 18. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
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  30. ^ Swanson, Dave. "No. 28: Boston, 'More Than a Feeling' – Top 100 Classic Rock Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
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  32. ^ "Radio2 top 30: 8 oktober 2016 | Radio2". Archived from the original on April 9, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
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  37. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
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  43. ^ "Top 100 1976-12-04". Cashbox Magazine. Archived from the original on March 5, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
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  50. ^ "Italian single certifications – Boston – More Than a Feeling" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved February 3, 2022. Select "2019" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "More Than a Feeling" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
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  54. ^ Greene, Andy. "Flashback: Nirvana Play a Bit of Boston's 'More Than a Feeling'". Rolling Stone. No. January 29, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  55. ^ "'More than a Feeling'" Writer Says Mike Huckabee Has Caused Him 'Damage'", Rolling Stone website, February 14, 2008.
  56. ^ "Guitar Hero Songs List".
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External links[edit]