Boston – More Than A Feeling


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-sideTom Scholz wrote the whole song. The single entered the US Billboard Hot 100 on September 18 and peaked at number five. 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. 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.

Background and writing

“More than a Feeling” took Scholz five years to complete. 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. Though not based on any specific event in Scholz’s life, he did take the name Marianne from his cousin. It is one of six songs (five of which eventually appeared on the Boston album) that he worked on in his basement from 1968 to 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 song is in compound AABA form.

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.”[20] 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 whom 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.


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.”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.  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 ‘. Classic Rock critic Paul Elliott rated it as “Boston’s all-time greatest song”. 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. 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.”

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, as did Classic Rock History critic Brian Kachejian. Ultimate Classic Rock critic Dave Swanson rated it the number-28 all-time classic rock song.