"Peace of Mind"
Peace of Mind (Boston song).jpg
Single by Boston
from the album Boston
B-side"Foreplay"
ReleasedApril 1977
RecordedOctober 1975 – April 1976
Studio
GenreHard rock
Length5:02 (album version)
3:38 (single version)
5:31 (full version)
LabelEpic
Songwriter(s)Tom Scholz
Producer(s)John Boylan, Tom Scholz
Boston singles chronology
"Long Time"
(1977)
"Peace of Mind"
(1977)
"Don't Look Back"
(1978)
Audio
"Peace of Mind" (Album version) on YouTube

"Peace of Mind" is a song by American rock band Boston, written by Tom Scholz, the band's founder, lead guitarist and primary songwriter. It released on their 1976 self-titled debut, and released again the next year as the third and final single from the album. It peaked at number 38 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1977,[1] as well as number 33 on the Cash Box Top 100.[2] It received substantial radio airplay, both upon the initial release of the Boston album and subsequently, and has been described as a "rock-radio staple".

Writing and recording

"Peace of Mind" is one of six songs, five of which eventually appeared on the Boston album, that Scholz worked on in his basement in 1974 and 1975, before Boston got its record contract. The demo was specifically finished in 1974.[3] The drum parts were originally developed by Jim Masdea, although Sib Hashian played the drums on the official release.[3] According to Ultimate Classic Rock critic Michael Gallucci, the demo version was "fully formed" and so the album version did not change much except for "[amping] up the guitars and production".[4]

Lyrics and music

The song is about the people Scholz worked with at Polaroid Corporation before getting his recording contract, and about Scholz's lack of interest in climbing the corporate ladder into company management.[5][6] Dick Nusser of Billboard described the theme of the song being that "Competition and a corporate slot aren't the only choices. Better to turn on, tune in and seek 'Peace Of Mind.'"[7] According to music journalist Chuck Eddy, the lyrics argue that it is unhealthy for people to compete with each other.[8] Paul Elliott commented on the lyrics' "positivity," exhorting people to look past their mundane life to "find deeper meaning".[9] He also noted the song's "uplifting quality," expressed through "its freewheeling riff, its rich melody and dazzling vocal harmonies".[9] AXS contributor Craig James describes the theme as being that it is better to make music and being at peace with yourself is better than corporate aspirations.[10] Vanyaland's Daniel Brockman found irony in the refrain, "I understand about indecision, and I don’t care if I get behind/People living in competition, all I want is to have my peace of mind,” noting that this was a hit single premised on lyrics stating that one shouldn't take their career too seriously.[6] Mojo magazine cited the lyrics as presenting an alternate view of the American Dream to that described in another song from the Boston album, "Hitch a Ride".[11]

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Rock History described it as being "built around soaring guitars, tight vocal harmonies, and huge hooks," which were part of the band's appeal.[12] Boston lead singer Brad Delp cited "Peace of Mind" as an example of how Scholz was able to combine the vocal harmonies of the Beach Boys with the heavy guitar sound of Led Zeppelin.[13] Rolling Stone commented on how the guitars "feel epic" but also "delicate and intimate".[14] Tom Moon cited "Peace of Mind" and "Long Time" as examples to illustrate how Scholz varied his guitar effects for each Boston song, stating that "Peace of Mind" has a "grittier, less airbrushed attack".[15] The song is among the earliest ones in popular music to use vi–IV–I–V chord progression, a variant of I–V–vi–IV progression, widely popular in modern Western music.

Reception

Cash Box said "this might be [Boston's] best yet as far as all pop radio stations are concerned, since the record maintains an acoustical feeling despite the electronic thunderbolts crashing in the distance."[16] Rolling Stone Album Guide critic Paul Evans called "Peace of Mind" a "satisfying, if similar, followup" to "More Than a Feeling".[17] Scott Tady of Beaver County Times described "Peace of Mind" as one of the songs that "helped set the foundation for classic-rock radio".[18] Eric Deggans wrote that "Bouncy, slick tracks such as 'More Than a Feeling' and 'Peace of Mind' defined new parameters for rock radio during the 70s, with soaring vocals searing guitars and trite lyrics."[19] Jamie Reno of San Diego magazine described it as an "infectious flick-your Bic staple".[20] MTV's Gil Kaufman similarly described the song as a "rock-radio staple".[21] Brockman called it "one of the most overplayed songs in rock history" but praised Delp's singing, particularly his vulnerability and sincerity, making Brockman believe that Delp really believed the words of the refrain.[6] Gallucci rated it Boston's fifth greatest song, particularly praising the "fuzzy guitar riff" and noting that it has remained a classic rock radio staple.[4] Elliott and Craig both rated it even higher, as Boston's second greatest song behind only "More Than a Feeling".[9][10] Guitar World magazine selected "Peace of Mind" as one of their 50 greatest rock songs of all time.[22][23][24]

Personnel

In popular culture

Chart performance

Weekly charts

Chart (1977) Peak
position
Canada RPM 41
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[1] 38
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[2] 33

Covers

"Peace of Mind" was covered by Stryper on their 2009 Murder by Pride album.[26] Tom Scholz also played guitar on that track.[26] Allmusic critic James Christopher Monger described Stryper's version as "a choice cover of the Boston classic".[26]

References

  1. ^ a b "Billboard - Hot 100". Billboard. June 18, 1977.
  2. ^ a b "Cash Box Top 100". July 2, 1977.
  3. ^ a b Wright, J. (2008). "Feelin' Satisfied: An Interview with Tom Scholz of Boston". thirdstage.ca. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Gallucci, Michael. "Top 10 Boston songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  5. ^ Miller, Chuck. "Boston: Heaven is a Reel-to-Reel Tape". Goldmine. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Brockman, Daniel (March 9, 2017). "Peace Of Mind: On the 10th anniversary of his death, Brad Delp's legacy with Boston remains in the music". Vanyaland. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  7. ^ Nusser, Dick (May 7, 1977). "Talent in Action" (PDF). Billboard Magazine. pp. 34, 41. Retrieved 2020-06-12.
  8. ^ Eddy, Chuck (1997). The Accidental Evolution Of Rock'n'roll: A Misguided Tour Through Popular Music. Da Capo. p. 99. ISBN 9780306807411.
  9. ^ a b c Elliott, Paul (March 10, 2016). "The 10 Greatest Boston Songs Ever". Future plc. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
  10. ^ a b Craig, Bill (February 18, 2017). "Top 10 best Boston songs". AXS. Retrieved 2017-05-03.
  11. ^ The Mojo Collection: 4th Edition. Canongate. 2007. p. 374. ISBN 9781847676436.
  12. ^ Smith, Chris (2006). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Rock History: From arenas to the underground, 1974-1980. Greenwood Press. p. 74. ISBN 9780313336119.
  13. ^ Popoff, Martin (2014). The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade. Voyageur Press. p. 120. ISBN 9781627883757.
  14. ^ "100 Best Debut Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. March 22, 2013. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  15. ^ Moon, Tom (2008). 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die: A Listener's Life List. Workman Publishing. p. 107. ISBN 9780761149415.
  16. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. May 7, 1977. p. 22. Retrieved 2021-12-26.
  17. ^ Evans, P. (2004). Brackett, N.; Hoard, C. (eds.). The Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 96. ISBN 0743201698.
  18. ^ Tady, S. (August 5, 2012). "More than a feeling: Boston back in Pittsburgh". Beaver County Times. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  19. ^ Deggans, Eric (1999). Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds.). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Schirmer Trade Books. p. 147. ISBN 0825672562.
  20. ^ Reno, Jamie (August 2004). "Boston Rocks". San Diego. p. 203. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  21. ^ "Brad Delp, Singer For '70s Rock Icons Boston, Died Virtually Anonymous". MTV. March 12, 2007. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  22. ^ Guitar World's 50 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time Songbook. Hal Leonard. 2013. ISBN 9781480348271.
  23. ^ "Guitar World's 50 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time". Hal Leonard. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  24. ^ "Learn Guitar World's '50 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time'". Guitar World. June 2, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
  25. ^ "Here's all 162 new songs in the refreshed GTA 5 soundtrack". VG247. 2014-11-18. Retrieved 2021-08-16.
  26. ^ a b c Monger, James Christopher. "Murder by Pride". Allmusic. Retrieved 2017-04-25.