Certain Songs #121: Boston – “Hitch a Ride”


Album: Boston.

Year: 1976.

I had so many questions about this album cover. How did they get those cities onto those spaceships anyway? I mean, did the build they spaceships around the city, and then have those domes ready to go at a moment’s notice? Or did they somehow excavate the cities and place them on top of the spaceships? Did they take the existing infrastructures for water, power, sewage, etc or did they create brand-new spaceship infrastructures for all of the cities?

And what are the other cities? New York City, I assume, since it’s mentioned in this song, but what about San Francisco? Or London? Or Fresno? Actually, I was pretty sure that Fresno didn’t make the cut. Though it would be awesome to have seen, like, one of those tiny spaceships just escaping the explosion having “FRESNO” written on it.

And how big were those signs that labeled each city? Why have them in the first place? I mean, if you’re going to spend the quadrillions of dollars to put entire cities inside of giant guitar-shaped spaceships, why would you then stretch the budget to then put gigantic labels on each spaceship. Wouldn’t it be obvious which one was Boston or New York City or San Francisco?

Anyways, these are the things what would pop into my mind while I listened to the exquisite guitar break that dominates the last half of “Hitch a Ride.” This was a guitar break I loved so much that I’m pretty sure lead off the cassette tape that I made that was nothing but guitar solos. Because of course I made a cassette tape that was nothing but guitar solos. I think it was called “Great Guitar Solos.”

After a couple of minutes of a fairly inconsequential song with a cool organ solo and a short, ringing, feedbacky guitar break, the “HItch a Ride” coda starts slowly after one final inconsequential chorus, just a single electric against an acoustic, But then, powered by handclaps (!), guitar after guitar comes in — all of them sounding slightly different and all of them playing off each other. The guitars aren’t just duetting, but trietting, quadetting and quintetting. At least.

Decades later, I could imagine Billy Corgan tracking all of the guitars over and over on Siamese Dream, trying desperately to accomplish on that entire album what Tom Scholz does in the last two minutes of “Hitch a Ride.”

Of course, I assume that it was Tom Scholz who played every single one of these guitars, almost like a demo of all of the cool tones you could get with the Rockman. 

“Hey guitarists, do you want to sound like this?" (deedly deedly deedly deedly) 
"How about this?" (ahhhwoooooowoung!) 
"Maybe this?” (Buh doodle la doodle la doodla)
“For a limited time only, you can!  It’s the most amazing device ever!! Act now, and we’ll throw in a pre-recording of handclaps to fool the punters who think those are real too!”

But with every single note exactly where it was supposed to me, the sheer gorgeousness of the whole thing just transfixed me.

Fan-made video for “Hitch a Ride”

My Certain Songs Spotify Playlist:

Every “Certain Song” Ever

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