Don't Look Back

Album: Don't Look Back (1978)
Charted: 43 4
Play Video


  • This is the title track and first song on Boston's second album. Their debut album is one of the best selling of all time, so there were great expectations for this one. The song is about looking ahead and making the most of your time on Earth.
  • The distorted guitar sound was created by devices designed by group leader Tom Scholz - the liner notes boast there were no synthesizers used on the album. Scholz is a musical mad scientist with an engineering degree from MIT.
  • Boston's first album supplied radio stations with eight songs listeners loved, so there was a spot at the table for whatever came next. The lead single from their second album was "Don't Look Back," and it delivered. The song went to #4 in America and became one of the group's most popular songs. The album didn't kick out more Boston classics, but still sold seven million copies in America.

    Tom Scholz kvetched a bit about the label releasing the album before it was ready, but that was because he thought it needed another song. The next Boston album, Third Stage, didn't appear until 1986. Its lead single was the group's only #1 hit: "Amanda."
  • Like the first Boston album, Don't Look Back was made in Tom Scholz' home studio. He played most of the instruments himself, but on this track some of his band members contributed. In the liner notes to the album remaster, we see these credits:

    Lead Guitars, Barry Goudreau: virtuoso intro, ending leads, plus slide, Tom Scholz: chorus and middle leads
    Bass Guitar, Tom Scholz with cameo appearance by Fran Sheehan
  • "Don't Look Back" was the final song of the memorial/tribute concert for Boston lead vocalist Bred Delp in August of 2007. Delp passed away in on March 9 that year, having committed suicide. He did so as neatly and quietly as he could in his home, with numerous considerate notes for those who would find him. This included notes asking after the continued care of his pet cat. Further notes explained he had suffered bouts of depression since his teenage years, though he had never let anyone on to such a problem.
  • The album was going to be titled "Arrival." They changed it when they realized ABBA had already released an album with that title.
  • Conspiracy theorists will love this link theorizing that Boston's iconic flying saucer logo inspired the Atari home video game cartridge design for Space Invaders. Fans with a bit less tin foil in their headgear will note that there are only about three angles from which any artist can draw a flying saucer, that they are frequently depicted with light emitting from the bottom, and that the year Don't Look Back came out, 1978, was a year when flying saucer motifs dominated all American visual media, from book covers to film posters to arcade games to comic books to postage stamps. One could easily find thousands of examples of similar artwork from this year alone.
  • This shows up in episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati ("Bailey's Show" - 1978),
    October Road ("Pilot" - 2007), Supernatural ("All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 2" - 2007) and Future Man ("A Date with Destiny" - 2017)

Comments: 19

  • Eric Shippert from U.s.Where was the video for Don't look back, filmed?
  • Peter Moncur from Melbourne AustraliaAlways loved bostons music very sad about brad delp
  • Casey from Chicago, IlThis song has the greatest guitar solo of all time.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer:
    John 'Sib' Hashian, the former original drummer for the rock band Boston who played on their self-titled debut item, died Wednesday, March 22, 2017, while playing onstage, according to multiple news sources. He was 67...
    Hashian collapsed onstage while touring as part of the Legends of Rock Cruise. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful...
    Hashian, who was born John Thomas Hashian Aug. 17, 1949, became Boston's drummer after the band's label, Epic Records, insisted on a replacement for band founder Tom Scholz's first-choice timekeeper, Jim Masdea. Hashian played on "Boston," which included the band's huge classic rock hit, "More Than a Feeling." He also played on Boston's next album, "Don't Look Back."
    Played on the Top 100 records; "More Than a Feeling" {#5}, "Long Time" {#22}, "Peace of Mind" {#38}, "Don't Look Back" {#4}, "A Man I'll Never Be" {#31}, and "Feelin' Satisfied" {#46}...
    After leaving the band before it completed recording its "Third Stage" album, he played drums for Boston bandmate Barry Goudreau's eponymous 1980 solo album, which spawned the hit "Dreams."
    Hashian went on to play off and on in other bands including Ernie and the Automatics. He also became a business owner of a record shop as well as a chain of tanning parlors in Boston. He lived in Lynnfield, Massachusetts.
    Hashian is survived by his wife, Suzanne; a son, Adam; two daughters, the songwriter Aja Hashian and the singer-songwriter Lauren Hashian; and Lauren's daughter with the actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jasmine Johnson.
    May he R.I.P.
  • Tony from Palmyra, PaBrothers In Arms was Dire Straits fifth album. Their first album was simply called Dire Straits and was released in 1978. Brothers In Arms was released in 1985.
  • Ronny Byrne from Sydney, AustraliaYears ago, I worked at a radio station and we were putting music together to chime in the the new year. We had 14 minutes left up our sleeve and we went with the Burton monologue/Justin Hayward track "Eve of the War," and then we soared into the last 6 minutes of the year with "Don't Look Back" by Boston. The last fireworks explosion that went off as the final guitar strains of "DLB" permeated the sky was something never to be forgotten.
  • Mark from Dawsonville, GaI am 51 and my 23 year old daughter rocks to this group. Got to love classic rock!
  • Ted from Yarmouth, N.s., NsG, Pretty sure "Brothers In Arms" was Dire Straits 1st album, and G'n'R's Appetite For Destruction has sold more Boston's debut.
  • Johnathan from Fort Wayne, InI'm in eighth grade at a catholic school. In my religion class someone is assinged to bring in a song and play it as our beginning prayer for a grade. My best friend did this song. It is truly a great one. I love his guitar tone. His distortion should get reproduced and sold. I'd buy it. Rock on Boston. You guys are my inspiration!
  • John from This City, AustraliaYou are good.
  • Donna from College Station, TxThe song Don't Look Back was No. 4 in Oct 1978 on the Pop Singles list. source Billboard Oct 8, 1988 (Ten years ago list)
  • Don from B G, KyPoster Stefanie, the albumn "Don't Look Back" was not finished. It was only 33 minutues long as released. The title song "Don't Look Back" was finished. Your misunderstanding comes from confusing the UNFINISHED albumn (released anyway)with the FINISHED song. Hope this helps.
  • John from Lancaster, Cano one can form an opinion from one song boston did at a time the songs boston did were for all aspects of a human beings life and at that they were great teachings to live by if you are not a boston fan you should not have much to say put your self in bostons shoes!! they were ripped off for millions by the record companys that knew they had a band that was made of gold yet boston still produced third stage tom went to m.i.t tech and do you think he was going gee i sure hope i get filthy rich some day? no i know in my heart thats not what tom or boston is all about and all they wanted to do was put out music the fans would love and this does take time ( i feel toms pain i remember setting in front of a cassette deck for days) and they unlike most bands cared about every single fan just try and read bostons guest book it will take you about a month or more and thats if you read 24/7 that means the whole world loves boston and i am proud to be one of them and boston is the best music you could pass on to anyone including your children if you ever exspect them to have any decent moral values but no one cares to do that right? were kids pregnent ? or jacking cars? or degrading people or woman in the 70`s? hell no boston worked for the respect they have earned and its a fact i think about every time i play any boston record from start to stop!!! and every song still rocks like no other song ever will the only band to beat them was pink flys with dark side of the moon and that was the longest charting record in history !!! and no one will top them ever !!!!!!!! may you rest in peace bradley i love you man
  • Jeff from San Jose, CaAbout the album title: It was also going to be called "Boston 2", according to an Epic Records ad I remember seeing in Rolling Stone around late '77/early '78.
  • Rodney from Mountain Home, ArListening to an interview with Tom Scholz years ago, one gains insight into the origins of Boston. Basically it was Tom doodling in his basement for a decade while working for Polaroid. This allowed him time to perfect the debut album. Most of it was recorded on a 12 track. If only record companies would allow artists to come up with quality material rather than the pressured quanity so many contracts demand. Tom- job well done.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScWhat did they need to do to the song to finish it? It's great!
  • Gary from Seattle, WaBoston's debut still holds the record for largest selling debut album of all time. I think it is something like 17 million units.

    Dire Staits came close with Brothers in arms.

  • Collin from Texas, TxDon't Look Back wasn't ready when it was released. Tom Scholz (that's how you spell it) told Epic (their record company at the time) that it would be a rip off to release a half-finished album at full price. Epic released it anyway. That's when they went indie. Anyway, about the song, it is a great song, very frequently played on classic rock radio, which is good.
  • Barry from New York, NcAlthough it took Boston a while to release their sophmore album, the result was almost a carbon copy of the debut LP, most tunes have the same sound as the 1976 release. Not to mention DON'T LOOK BACK clocked in at a mere 33:59. Still, BOSTON and DON'T LOOK BACK make one incredible album.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up Musicians

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up MusiciansSong Writing

Eddie (played by Johnny Depp in the video) found fame fleeting, but Chuck Berry's made-up musician fared better.

Chris Isaak

Chris IsaakSongwriter Interviews

Chris tells the story of "Wicked Game," talks milkshakes and moonpies at Sun Records, and explains why women always get their way.

Phone Booth Songs

Phone Booth SongsSong Writing

Phone booths are nearly extinct, but they provided storylines for some of the most profound songs of the pre-cell phone era.

Vanessa Carlton

Vanessa CarltonSongwriter Interviews

The "A Thousand Miles" singer on what she thinks of her song being used in White Chicks and how she captured a song from a dream.

Def Leppard Quiz

Def Leppard QuizMusic Quiz

Can you name Def Leppard's only #1 hit in America? Get rocked with this adrenalized quiz.