Third Stage
Boston - Third Stage.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 26, 1986[1]
StudioTom Scholz's Hideaway Studio
GenreHard rock
ProducerTom Scholz
Boston chronology
Don't Look Back
Third Stage
Walk On
Singles from Third Stage
  1. "Amanda"
    Released: September 26, 1986
  2. "Cool the Engines"
    Released: 1986
  3. "We're Ready"
    Released: December 1986
  4. "Can'tcha Say (You Believe in Me)"
    Released: March 1987 [2]
  5. "Hollyann"
    Released: June 1987
Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideC[4]

Third Stage is the third studio album by the American rock band Boston, released on September 26, 1986, on MCA Records. It was recorded at Boston co-founder Tom Scholz's Hideaway Studio over a long, strained, six-year period "between floods and power failures".[6] Scholz and vocalist Brad Delp were the only original members. The lyrics invoke themes of aging and working through stages in life. The first track and lead single, "Amanda", became a number one hit and one of the group's best known songs.[3] The album itself was eventually certified 4× platinum by the RIAA.[7]


After winning a legal battle with Epic Records, Scholz switched Boston to the MCA record label.[8] The album's first track, "Amanda", had been written in 1980 (when Boston began work on the album)[8] and became the band's only #1 single. It reached #1 for two weeks in November 1986. The second Top 10 single, "We're Ready", reached #9. The singles "Cool the Engines" and "Can'tcha Say (You Believe in Me)/Still in Love" also got substantial airplay, with the former reaching #4 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, and the latter peaking at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1987. "Can'tcha Say" remains Boston's last Top 40 hit to date.

After only three weeks on the chart, Third Stage reached #1 on the Billboard 200 for four weeks.[9] It is the first CD-formatted album to have been certified gold (500,000 copies) by the RIAA. It was also certified gold in the LP format, believed to be the first album certified in both of these formats. In all, the album was certified 4× platinum.

It is the first Boston LP with electronic drum samples, the first to include songs not written by either Scholz or Brad Delp, the first Boston LP without original members Barry Goudreau, Sib Hashian and Fran Sheehan (though Hashian played drums on four tracks and Sheehan was included in the early recording session and received a writing credit). Jim Masdea plays drums on most of the album. It is the first Boston recording to use the Rockman guitar processor, invented by Scholz. No orchestral sounds or synthesizers are on the album. Critics have noted that the album has a much darker, more somber tone than Boston's previous work.

Track listing

All tracks are written by Tom Scholz, except where noted.

Side one
1."Amanda" 4:16
2."We're Ready" 3:58
3."The Launch"
a) "Countdown"
b) "Ignition"
c) "Third Stage Separation"
4."Cool the Engines"4:24
5."My Destination" 2:19
Total length:17:52
Side two
6."A New World" (Instrumental)Jim Masdea0:37
7."To Be a Man" 3:30
8."I Think I Like It"
  • Scholz
  • Jon DeBrigard (credited as John English)
9."Can'tcha Say (You Believe in Me)/Still in Love"
  • Gerry Green
  • Scholz
  • Delp
10."Hollyann" 5:09
Total length:18:35


Adapted from Third Stage liner notes.[6]



Chart (1986) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[10] 35
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[11] 1
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[12] 15
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[13] 25
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[14] 8
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[15] 23
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[16] 13
UK Albums (OCC)[17] 37
US Billboard 200[18] 1


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[19] 3× Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[20] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also


  1. ^ "RIAA certifications".
  2. ^ "Boston singles".
  3. ^ a b Iyengar, Vik. "Boston Third Stage review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2011-09-11.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). "B". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. Retrieved August 17, 2020 – via
  5. ^ Oliver, Derek (2 October 1986). "Boston 'The Third Stage'". Kerrang!. Vol. 130. London, UK: United Magazines ltd. pp. 18–19.
  6. ^ a b Third Stage (CD liner). Boston. MCA Records. 1986.((cite AV media notes)): CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  7. ^ Buchanan, Brett (October 22, 2014). "10 Rock Albums That Took Forever to Make". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (1986-11-05). "The Pop Life; New Boston Hit a Throwback to 70's". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  9. ^ "Boston: Heaven is a Reel-to-Reel Tape -".
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 19. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 0857". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  12. ^ " – Boston – Third Stage" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  13. ^ " – Boston – Third Stage" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  14. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  15. ^ " – Boston – Third Stage". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  16. ^ " – Boston – Third Stage". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Boston | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Boston Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Boston – Third Stage". Music Canada. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  20. ^ "American album certifications – Boston – Third Stage". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 27 June 2012.