So here we are in 1994, 18 years down the road and the fourth Boston album ‘Walk On’ is before us.
Written by: Lee South Africa
ALBUM: Walk On
CD REISSUE: 2009, Universal (Japan), UICY-93918
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Tom Scholz – guitars, bass, all keyboards * Fran Cosmo – vocals * David Sikes – vocals, bass * Tommy Funderburk – vocals * Gary Pihl – guitars * Doug Huffman – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 I Need Your Love * 02 Surrender To Me * 03 Livin’ For You * 04 Walk On Medley – Walkin’ At Night * 05 Walk On * 06 Get Organ-ized * 07 Walk On (Some More) * 08 What’s Your Name * 09 Magdalene * 10 We Can Make It
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Boston. To many people it’s the name of an American city, but to us it’s much more – the birthplace of our beloved genre AOR. It was Tom Scholz and his bandmates who unleashed their timeless debut album in 1976 and the world has never been the same since. Refusing to play bluesy rock guitar like everyone else, Scholz invented the AOR guitar sound and riff scale, and insisted on flowing and hugely melodic vocals.
In Brad Delp he had one of the purest voices in music history at his disposal, and the public were won over in millions. So here we are in 1994, 18 years down the road and the fourth Boston album ‘Walk On’ is before us, sans Delp. Luckily one of the replacement vocalists is Fran Cosmo, who provided stunning vocals to the 1984 Orion The Hunter album, regarded by some as the missing Boston record.
‘I Need Your Love’ has to be one of the most classic intros ever – floating in on a wave of church organ keys and insistent guitar plucking, when that massive riff kicks in you’ll be reaching for your thickest jacket to warm your chilled spine. This track manages to keep the classic aura going right through with big chord changes and an even bigger chorus with that ‘wall of vocals’ we know and love. As a single it reached the Billboard top 50.
‘Surrender To Me’ is a pounding rocker, heavy on riffs but even heavier on the effortless melodies, with another anthem chorus of unearthly calibre. ‘Livin’ For You’ is the first of two ballads and comes across like Richard Marx at his best with a dose of extra guitar power.
In the middle we’re confronted with a bit of self indulgence from Scholz in the form of a medley, starting with a flashy guitar solo and then moving into the turbo charged ‘Walk On’, quite melodic but a bit on the frenetic side. Three minutes later we flow into ‘Get Organ-ized’, Scholz’s tour de force on the Hammond B3 organ. Some great musicianship, but at 4:28 we could’ve had another full Boston song instead.
The medley closes off with ‘Walk On (Some More)’, much the same as the first one. To be honest, four actual songs would’ve gone down much better, but there are some great moments in the medley if you have the patience to get to them. We’re back on track again with ‘What’s Your Name’, a refreshingly simple track but no less melodic for it.
‘Magdelene’, a cover of the Hybrid Ice track from 1982, brings back the wall of vocals and big guitar-keyboard power – with all due respect, it blows the original away. The closing track is ‘We Can Make It’, the anthem of togetherness featuring every Boston ingredient from melodies in the sky right through to percussive hand claps. The choruses seem to get bigger as the song progresses and the overdriven hookladen riffing is out of this world.
Having been released in 1994, this was an important album for AOR as a whole. Remember that grunge-alternative was at it’s peak and grunge loving journalists were celebrating the ‘death’ of classic rock and AOR. ‘Walk On’ charted at # 7 on the Billboard album charts and sold over a million copies, gaining platinum status. AOR was alive and some hasty words were choked upon. However, the fifth Boston album ‘Corporate America’ which surfaced eight years later was the death-knell for Scholz and company, unfortunately.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)