More Than a Feeling

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"More Than a Feeling"
Single by Boston
from the album Boston
ReleasedSeptember 18, 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 (Single edit)" on YouTube

"More Than a Feeling" is a song by the American rock band Boston, released as the lead single 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 peaked at No. 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100. 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 No. 212 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time", updated from its previous position of No. 500 on the 2004 version.[2]

Background and writing[edit]

"More than a Feeling" took Tom Scholz five years to complete.[3][4] 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 a cousin of his.[5] It is one of six songs (five of which eventually appeared on the Boston album[6]) that he worked on in his basement from 1968 to 1975, before Boston got its record contract.[7] The drum parts were originally developed by Jim Masdea, although Sib Hashian played the drums on the official release.[6] The song is written in G major but published sheet music[which?] incorrectly shows the verses in D 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, James Gang Rides Again.[9][10][11][12] 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."[13] Scholz credits "Walk Away Renee" by The Left Banke as the song's main inspiration.[14][15]

Boston's website says the song is about "the power an old song can have in your life,"[16] with Scholz elaborating that "it was sort of a bittersweet ballad."[17] Ultimate Classic Rock critic Michael Gallucci points out that this is a common theme in Boston songs.[18]

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).[19] 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."[7] 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."[7] 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.[7]


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."[20] 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.[21] Classic Rock critic Paul Elliott rated it as "Boston's all-time greatest song".[22]

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."[23] Rolling Stone Album Guide critic Paul Evans states that "as slick as it sounds, 'More Than a Feeling' strikes an uncommonly resonant emotional note."[24] Gallucci rated it Boston's greatest song.[18] Ultimate Classic Rock critic Dave Swanson rated it the No. 28 all-time classic rock song.[25]


Chart performance[edit]

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.[44]

The song was covered by the band Ingram Hill and included on the soundtrack for the 2005 movie Herbie: Fully Loaded.

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."[45] 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[edit]

The song was covered by WaveGroup Sound as part of the soundtrack for the original Guitar Hero released in 2005,[46] 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.[47]

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."[48]


  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. ^ "Boston, 'More Than a Feeling'". Rolling Stone. September 15, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  3. ^ "More than a Feeling" profile, Rolling Stone, 2004.
  4. ^ Aledort, Andy (September 1997). "The Rock Man". Maximum Guitar. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  5. ^ "'More Than a Feeling': The making of a rock classic". Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Wright, J. "Feelin' Satisfied: An Interview with Tom Scholz of Boston". Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d Aledort, Andy (September 1997). "The Rock Man". Maximum Guitar. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  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. ^ "James Gang Rides Again". Classic Rock Review. July 13, 2020.
  14. ^ "The Band Boston Fan Site - Sound & Vision Review of Tom Scholz' Remasters". Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  15. ^ "More Than a Feeling by Boston, Song Stories". Rolling Stone Music. Archived from the original on May 29, 2012.
  16. ^ "Boston". Boston. Archived from the original on June 8, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  17. ^ Boston / Tom Scholz exclusive interview / More Than A Feeling. October 10, 2015 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ a b Gallucci, Michael. "Top 10 Boston songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  19. ^ Boston / Tom Scholz exclusive interview / More Than A Feeling. October 10, 2015 – via YouTube.
  20. ^ "Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard Magazine. August 28, 1976. p. 84. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  21. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. August 28, 1976. p. 18. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  22. ^ Elliott, Paul (March 10, 2016). "The 10 Greatest Boston Songs Ever". Classic Rock. Louder Sound. Retrieved June 17, 2022.
  23. ^ "Boston: Feelin' Satisfied". Guitar World. October 2006. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  24. ^ Evans, P. (2004). Brackett, N.; Hoard, C. (eds.). The Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 96. ISBN 0743201698.
  25. ^ Swanson, Dave. "No. 28: Boston, 'More Than a Feeling' – Top 100 Classic Rock Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ "Radio2 top 30: 8 oktober 2016 | Radio2". Archived from the original on April 9, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  28. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5142a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  29. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Boston" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  30. ^ "Boston – More than a Feeling" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  31. ^ "Boston – More than a Feeling". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  32. ^ "Boston – More than a Feeling". Singles Top 100. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  33. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  34. ^ "Boston Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  35. ^ "Top 100 1976-12-04". Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  36. ^ "Kent Music Report No 183 – 26 December 1977 > National Top 100 Singles for 1977". Kent Music Report. Retrieved January 14, 2020 – via
  37. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on March 25, 2014. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  38. ^ "INFINITY CHARTS: German Top 20". January 14, 2000. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  39. ^ "Cash Box Magazine". January 18, 2013. Archived from the original on January 18, 2013.
  40. ^ "Danish single certifications – Boston – More Than a Feeling". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  41. ^ "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".
  42. ^ "British single certifications – Boston – More Than a Feeling". British Phonographic Industry. April 3, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  43. ^ "American single certifications – Boston – More Than a Feeling". Recording Industry Association of America. April 8, 2020. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  44. ^ Greene, Andy. "Flashback: Nirvana Play a Bit of Boston's 'More Than a Feeling'". Rolling Stone. No. January 29, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  45. ^ "'More than a Feeling'" Writer Says Mike Huckabee Has Caused Him 'Damage'", Rolling Stone website, February 14, 2008.
  46. ^ "Guitar Hero Songs List".
  47. ^ 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.
  48. ^ "Rocksmith™ DLC Official US Site Ubisoft®". Rocksmith+. Retrieved April 11, 2013.

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