Say the name Boston to a rock fan and, once you’ve established that you’re not talking about the city in Massachusetts, chances are that they’ll think of the rock anthem ‘More Than A Feeling.’ But while that 1976 hit by the band Boston has a deserving place in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, it’s far from their highest-charting pop single. That honour goes to Boston’s only No. 1 on the Hot 100, ‘Amanda,’ which entered the Billboard Hot 100 on 27 September 1986.
The band became well-known not just for their multi-million-selling albums, but the long gaps between them. After their 1976 self-titled debut album became a sales phenomenon, certified 17 times platinum in the US alone, it was only two years before they followed it up with the “mere” seven-times platinum Don’t Look Back. But then came a hiatus of eight years before Third Stage appeared, selling four million in the US and following Don’t Look Back to No. 1. Another eight years elapsed before Walk On became the group’s fourth album in 1994.
Nevertheless ‘Amanda,’ the lead single from Third Stage, was written by the band’s guitarist and keyboard player Tom Scholz as early as 1980. He produced the finished version and the entire album, and the single went on to top the chart not only in the States but Canada. It was a top 30 record in Australia, New Zealand and Holland, but its biggest European success came in Norway, at No. 10, and Switzerland, at No. 12.
In one of the many examples of how American rock didn’t always cross the Atlantic — and in a mid-1980s period when UK artists were all over the US charts mounting the so-called “Second British Invasion” — ‘Amanda’ just never really got to meet her transatlantic cousins, and the single failed to chart there at all.
Nevertheless, the modern-day Boston have continued to thrive. In 2016, they completed a 40th anniversary tour of which Scholz said: “In 40 years of playing Boston music for our fans, this was the most amazing live experience I’ve ever had.” In 2017, the modern-day band were out again for the Hyperspace tour, which included a homecoming show at the Boston Garden.
Purchase ‘Amanda’ on the album Third Stage here.
Follow the 80s Classic Hits playlist for more great songs from the full decade.