Boston – Don’t Look Back

Lyrics:

Don’t look back, ooh a new day is breakin’
It’s been too long since I felt this way
I don’t mind ooh where I get taken
The road is callin’, today is the day

I can see, it took so long just to realize
I’m much too strong not to compromise
Now I see what I am is holding me down
I’ll turn it around, oh yes I will

I finally see the dawn arrivin’
I see beyond the road I’m drivin’

It’s a bright horizon and I’m awakin’ now
Oh I see myself in a brand new way

The sun is shinin’ ooh the clouds are breakin’
Cause I can’t lose now, there’s no game to play

I can tell there’s no more time left to criticize
I’ve seen what I could not recognize
Everything in my life was leading me on
But I can be strong, oh yes I can

I finally see the dawn arrivin’
I see beyond the road I’m drivin’
Far away and left behind, left behind

Oh the sun is shinin’
And I’m on my road

Don’t look back, ooh a new day is breakin’
It’s been so long since I felt this way
I don’t mind ooh where I get taken
The road is callin’, today is the day

I can see, it took so long just to realize
I’m much too strong not to compromise
Now I see what I am is holding me down
I’ll turn it around, oh yes I will

I finally see the dawn arriving
I see beyond the road I’m driving
Far away and left behind

Don’t look back
Don’t look back
Don’t look back
Don’t look back

Don’t Look Back” is a song written by Tom Scholz that was first released by Boston in 1978 as the title track to their second album, Don’t Look Back. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.[1]

File:BostonDLBSingle.jpg

Writing and recording

Although the first song on the album, “Don’t Look Back” was its final song to be written and recorded.[2] According to Scholz “It was one of those things where everything clicked. I didn’t even record a demo for that song. I came up with chord changes, melody, and the arrangement and put it right on the master tape.”[2] Brad Delp sang all the vocals, both lead and backing.[3][4] According to Scholz, Fran Sheehan only played a few bass notes on the song and Barry Goudreau played the solo guitar parts in the intro and outro.[3][4][5] Scholz praised Goudreau’s lead guitar playing at the end of the song.[3] Scholz also stated that he made more than 60 edits to Sib Hashian‘s drum track in order to get the performance he wanted.[3]

Lyrics and music

Paul Grein of Billboard cited “Don’t Look Back” as an example of Boston’s skill at changing tempos, stating that it “actually stops midway through and then rebuilds gradually to its peak of intensity.”[6] Rolling Stone Magazine critic Tim Emerson described the lyrics as “optimistic about the road that lies ahead.”[7] But Emerson also states that some of the optimism in the lyrics is contradicted in other songs, specifically comparing the use of the line “I’m much too strong not to compromise” in this song with the much more pessimistic line “I can’t get any stronger” in its follow up single “A Man I’ll Never Be.”[7] In the liner notes to the 2006 reissue of Don’t Look Back, David Wild described the title song as a “beautiful barnburner in the proud tradition of Boston’s classic “More Than A Feeling.”[8] AXS contributor Bill Craig stated that it contained all the components people expected from Boston: “buzzing guitars, towering vocals, and lyrics that connected with young listeners.”[9]

Reception

Billboard Magazine rated the song one of the best cuts on Don’t Look Back.[10] Greil Marcus rated the song as one of three masterpieces on Don’t Look Back, along with “A Man I’ll Never Be” and “Used to Bad News.”[11][12] Allmusic critic Tim Sendra described its riff as “killer,” saying that it was similar to that in “More Than a Feeling.”[13][14] The New Rolling Stone Album Guide critic Paul Evans felt that “Don’t Look Back” was the one song on its album that could “hold its own” on Boston’s first album.[15] Ultimate Classic Rock critic Eduardo Rivadavia similarly stated that it “met every expectation set by Boston’s nearly perfect debut.”[16] Ultimate Classic Rock critic Michael Gallucci rated it the band’s 4th all time best song.[17] AXS contributor Bill Craig similarly rated it Boston’s 3rd greatest song, describing it as an “arena rock style sonic blast.”[9] Philip Booth of the Lakeland Ledger called it one “of the most-played-by-garage-band rockers of the ’70s.”[18] Pete Prown and Harvey P. Newquist praised the “layers of guitar harmonies” as well as Barry Goudreau‘s slide guitar playing and rideout guitar solo.[19] Ottawa Journal critic Mike Voslin rated the song as a live performance highlight.[20]

CBS Records reported that the “Don’t Look Back” single sold more than a million copies in the first two weeks or so following its release.[21] The single peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1978.[22] It also reached the Top 10 in Canada, peaking at #6.[23] It reached #14 in the Netherlands but only reached #43 in the UK.[24][25] “Don’t Look Back” was released on Boston’s Greatest Hits in 1997.[26]

In popular culture

The song was used in the pilot episode of the ABC drama series October Road, which aired on March 15, 2007, around a week after the death of Boston’s lead singer, Brad Delp.[27][28]

The song was performed by the remaining original members of Boston on August 19, 2007 at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston, Mass. for the tribute concert to Delp. It was the last song of the concert.[29]

 

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