Rock And Roll Band

Album: Boston (1976)
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Songfacts®:

  • This song tells the story of a Boston rock band paying their dues: busking, sleeping in cars, playing the bar circuit. Eventually, they get a big break when a record company guy sees them perform and makes them a deal.

    Many assumed it was the story of the band because the lyrics are in the first person and they sing about being from Boston, which they are, but that's not the case. Group leader Tom Scholz wrote the song based on conversations he had with Jim Masdea, a drummer who often collaborated with Scholz and had lots of war stories from playing in various bands. Masdea was always telling Scholz about struggling bands trying to get signed to record contracts.
  • Boston had quite the opposite experience of the group they sing about here. Rather than paying their dues on the road, Boston released a well-produced album that was an instant hit. In fact, they weren't even a band until Tom Scholz landed a record deal based on demos he made in his home studio. They played a few gigs before the album was released but didn't tour until after it came out. Just a few months later, their songs were all over the radio and they were headlining arenas.

    None of the band members lucked into this though. They were all veterans of the Boston music scene and had proven their mettle. Scholz took care of the studio work, but they had to win over fans on the road, which they did.
  • Jim Masdea, who inspired the lyric, played drums on the demos Tom Scholz made in his home studio that led to a deal with Epic Records. Other than singer Brad Delp, Masdea was the only other musician Scholz used on these recordings.

    When Scholz got signed and it came to assemble an actual band, Delp stayed on but Masdea was replaced with Sib Hashian, a decision seemingly made by Scholz' management. Scholz did make sure Masdea played drums on "Rock And Roll Band" to earn a credit on the album.
  • This wasn't released as a single, but that hardly mattered because Album Oriented Rock (AOR) stations played it anyway, along with the other eight tracks on Boston's debut album. These well-crafted, uptempo tracks kept listeners tuned in, so they became staples of many playlists.

Comments: 26

  • Kpmd from NairobiIt is a fact that the band "Boston" played at Rocky Point Amusement Park in Warwick, Rhode Island (12 miles south of Providence). It was the summer of 1976, although the exact date(s) are still unknown. Some stories say that they were the opening act for Duke and the Drivers, another Boston-area band. Other stories say that Boston was participating and won a battle of the bands contest. FYI, Rocky Point had two concert venues, an indoor venue called The Palladium, where many major acts played over the years (The Yardbirds, Janis Joplin with Big Brother & the Holding Company, Sly & The Family Stone, REO Speedwagon, AC/DC, Blue Öyster Cult, Thin Lizzy, Blues Traveler, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Smashing Pumpkins.....)
  • Billy from Warwick, RiTo Brandon of Peoria, Ill. Here's another song for you, "I'm A Rhode Island Red Head From Pawtucket" by Theresa Brewer, big hit in the 50s. Most people thought it was about the Rhode Island Reds hockey club who in that era were the AHL farm club for the NY Rangers I believe. Also The Eagles had a song which starts like this "...she came from Providence, the one in Rhode Island which is the track before The Hotel California on the album of the same name. It was the play between the play between the "Providence of God" for which Providence is named to the Hotel California which most don't know what it is about. I do and I will not listen to that song and also Witchy Woman. When those songs come on the radio I turn them off. Look inside the cover of the Hotel album and identify the guy leaning on the window and also the goat head in the shadow of the upperpart. I sat with those guys a few times. When you close your eyes for the last time you better know where you are goin! again, Billy of Warwick, R I
  • Billy from Warwick, RiTo AJ of Wakefield, R I. You are absolutely incorrect. I knew the guys in Boston, I did their art work. Sib told me last March that the repro album cover for the stage backdrop got more applause then they did...always the comedian, we have the same birthday and had a birthday party at Brad's house about 1997. Anyway, the "guy" that came to "the stage one night" was not Frank J Russo, who also a really good friend and I did his art work it was Charley McKenzie who ran Pure Management on Pinkney Street in Boston. Billy, Warwick, Rhode Island
  • Dave from Santa Fe, NmBrandon check out the Eagles "Last Resort" for another mention of Rhode Island.
  • Joe from Newtown, CtDancing in the streets of Hyannis....Ahh the many times when I had my jeep with the top off making a left onto the one way Main Street...with this song playing cued up to that very part...
  • Aj from Wakefield, RiI was at the Rocky Point Battle of the Bands when they won. The guy who "Smoked a big cigar and drove a cadillac car" was the promoter Frank J. Russo.
  • Myra from Chicago, IlI absolutely love this song, and i love this wonderful expression of classic rock. Boston is legendary classic rock and always will be. This band has a very special place in my heart!
  • Mark from Concord, Nhyes unfortunately it is true. The song was not about the band named Boston. However, I think this song led people to believe that the 5 members of Boston lived and toured together, struggled and finally made it. But reading Tom Scholz biography I found out that he wrote all the songs himself. Then he recorded all but one song in his basement and played almost all the instruments. Delp sang vocals and Masdea originally played all the drum tracks.
    Then Scholz picked the musicians to tour with and gave them all credit for originating the band Boston.
  • Steve from Boston, Ma"Dancing in the streets of Hyannis"

    That lines touches home with me... born and raised on Cape Cod. Get chills every time I hear it :)
  • Scott from Boston, MaThey play this song before every Bruins home game. That's actually how I was introduced it. As soon as I heard it I knew it was Boston. I never hear anyone say this, but to me, Delp's voice is one of those you just recognize right away like Steven Tyler or Mick Jagger. There's no one else who sounds like Delp that I know of.
  • Frank from Brampton, Ontario, CanadaAnother one of their powerful ballads! A very well written tune with a strong message. I was very saddened when I heard we lost Brad Delp! May God rest his soul.
  • Jeff from Oregon, IlI absolutly love this song. My mom introduced me to it 5 days ago and It's all I've been listening to no stop. To bad he died.
  • Joe from Bellingham, WaThis song is not about the band!? what! oh well, to me it always will be.
  • Brandon from Peoria, IlQuite Possibly the only song i have heard that mentions the state of Rhode Island...it's usually Texas or California :)
  • Racine from Truro, MaI love the line "Dancing in the streets of Hyannis!" It's funny because I'm not from Hyannis, I live almost an hour away, yet I feel so happy when I hear it.
  • I'm Awesome from Boulder, Codefinitly my favorite Boston song!!!!!!!!!
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScThat might be beddcause, the band that inspired this was from Boston, but wasn't Boston the band. I have no idea.
  • Steve from Torrance, CaJim Masdea played drums on this song only; the rest of the first album featured Sib Hashian. Masdea would return to play drums on the "Third Stage" album.
  • Glp from Pittsburg , PaThis song has to be about the band, otherwise why is the first line "We were just another band out of Boston!"
  • Barry from New York, NyIt is ironic that this song celebrates the fact that the band is signed to a "record company contract" as the lyrics state, and a few years later Tom Scholtz regretted the fact that he was in a contract with Epic whom he was having major problems with!! Tom was happy to get out of his contract and sign with MCA for THIRD STAGE.
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InWhat can I say, another great song by the greatest band ever!!!
  • Mike from Coventry, Ri"Playin' for a week in Rhode Island..." Boston won a Battle of the Bands contest at the old Rocky Point amusement park. the park manager at the time said that they had more speakers than he had ever seen at such a small venue and they were freakin' LOUD.
  • Louie from Staten Island, NyThe song is about the band.
  • Pete from Wakefield, RiI don't know about this one. "Playin for a week in Rhode Island, a man came to the stage one night, smoked a big cigar and drove a Cadillac car and said "boys I think this band's outta sight" -- Boston was "found" in Rhode Island, so that part was at least true.
  • Gina from Paradise Valley, AzI always thought that this was about the band. I'm disappointed!
  • John from Flanders, NjHow do they hit those notes "sign a record company contract?"

    Great song.
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