Jeff Kallman's excellent The Easy Ace: A Journal of Classic Radio
is a wonderful place to spend hours on end, rediscovering the Golden Age of Radio
as it's meant to be discovered and celebrated. Article after article
is filled with a wonderful new vignette about Golden Age Radio History.
---The Digital Deli Online.

[I]n his matchless on-this-day approach to chronicling “yesteryear,”
he easily aces out a less organized mind like mine,
which promptly lapsed into a more idiosyncratic mode of relating the past.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Brad Delp, RIP: Impossible Wish

By now even that era could be called an old-time radio era, by some people. But if you grew up in the 1970s, your soundtrack included a band called Boston, whose debut album was rarely away from radio play, and whose singer Brad Delp committed suicide (carbon monoxide poisoning, according to police) last Friday.

And one lyric in particular, from the debut album that made their name, or more properly that of mastermind guitarist/writer/theoretician (of a sort) Tom Scholz, haunts rather heavily, if you liked the album.

Now if you're feelin' kinda low 'bout the dues you've been payin',
future's coming much too slow
And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin',
can't decide on which way to go
I understand about indecision
but I don't care if I get behind
People livin' in competition'
---all I want is to have my peace of mind.

"Peace of Mind," from Boston (Epic Records, 1976), lyrics and music by Tom Scholz.

A combination of perfectionist meticulousness by its leader, internecine battling between band members and between the band and its record company, and times shifting swiftly enough during those absences, helped prevent Boston from sustaining their once-striking, once-out-of-nowhere popular momentum.

And Delp spent much of his succeeding life working with former bandmates on other projects and, especially, in a New England outfit paying regular tribute to the music of the Beatles, whom he grew up loving.

In the immediacy of his death a bandmate said we had lost the nicest guy in rock and roll, and soon enough that became his obituary. His family spoke of a giving nature. Spent perhaps too deeply, he took his own life. (His family spoke also of finding two notes, one to them and one to his fiancee, whose contents are yet to be disclosed.)

To lyrics he'd sung so memorably, and so successfully, in a key selection on a multimillion-selling blockbuster debut album, Brad Delp on 9 March put either a tragic lie or an impossible wish. In either and perhaps both directions, that most affirmative song on that blockbusting album became his wrenching epitaph.


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