Boston PhotoFORMED: 1971, Boston, MA

The arena-rock group behind one of the fastest-selling debut albums in history, Boston was essentially the vehicle of studio wizard Tom Scholz, born March 10, 1947 in Toledo, Ohio. A rock fan throughout his teen years, he began writing songs while earning a master's degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After graduation, he began work for Polaroid, and eventually joined a local band led by guitarist Barry Goudreau. Though Scholz signed on as a keyboardist, he also began learning guitar, and his quick mastery of the instrument soon allowed him to take full control of the band.

At the same time, Scholz set about constructing his own 12-track recording studio in the basement of his home, where the group -- now dubbed Boston, and also consisting of Goudreau, vocalist Brad Delp, bassist Fran Sheehan and drummer John "Sib" Hashian -- recorded the demos which earned them a contract with Epic in 1975. Although some recording and overdubs were later done in Los Angeles, the 1976 release of Boston consisted largely of Scholz's original basement tapes; spawning three hit singles ("More Than a Feeling," "Long Time" and "Peace of My Mind"), the LP shot immediately to the top of the charts, and remained the best-selling pop debut effort in history before it was supplanted by Whitney Houston's first album in 1986.

Despite the record's overwhelming success, Scholz spent over two years working on the follow-up, 1978's Number One hit Don't Look Back; a perfectionist, he only then released the album because of intense label pressure for product. Unsatisfied with the results, he swore to produce the next album at his own pace; as a result, the chart-topping Third Stage did not appear until 1986, at which time only Scholz and Delp remained from the original line-up.

Scholz spent the next several years in the courtroom: first, he was sued by Goudreau, who alleged that Scholz had damaged his solo recording career (they settled out-of-court); next, he won a seven-year battle against Epic, who claimed Boston had reneged on their contract by taking so long between releases. When the band resurfaced again in 1994 with Walk On, Scholz was the lone remaining member; Delp and Goudreau had reunited in 1992 as RTZ, releasing the album Return to Zero.

In addition to his fame as a musician, Scholz also found success as an inventor and businessman. In 1981, he formed Scholz Research & Design, Inc., a company founded to create high-tech music equipment. After first developing the Power Soak, a volume-control device, SR&D introduced the Rockman, an inexpensive, small guitar amplifier with headphones. The Rockman proved phenomenally popular with other musicians, and the capital generated from its sales helped fund Scholz's further musical ambitions. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide