More Than a Feeling
|"More Than a Feeling"|
|Single by Boston|
|from the album Boston|
|Recorded||October 1975 – April 1976|
|Studio||Foxglove (Watertown, Massachusetts)|
|Boston singles chronology|
"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. 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 was based on a fantasy rather than fact and 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 has stated in multiple interviews his fondness for The James Gang, and in particular that band's 1970s album, "Rides Again,". 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.
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.
- Tom Scholz – acoustic and electric rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass
- Brad Delp – vocals
- Sib Hashian – drums
- Barry Goudreau – electric guitar
Covers and use in politics
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.
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." Huckabee complied with Scholz's request, and videos featuring Barry Goudreau and the song were subsequently removed by the Huckabee campaign.
Downloadable content for music games
The song was covered by WaveGroup Sound as part of the soundtrack for the original Guitar Hero released in 2005, and later released as a master recording on Guitar Hero Smash Hits and Guitar Hero Live's GHTV.
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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