Aerosmith

  • Hard/Blues rock band formed in 1970 from Boston Massachusetts. The band members are Steven Tyler (lead vocals, percussion), Tom Hamilton (bass guitar), Joe Perry (lead guitar, backing vocals), Brad Whitford (rhythm and lead guitar), and Joey Kramer (drums). Tyler is the main songwriter, with contributions from the other members of the band on many songs.
  • In the mid-60s, Perry and Hamilton formed a blues band known as Jam Band. In 1969, they moved to Boston, and Kramer joined the group. Meanwhile, Tyler was the back-up singer and drummer for a band called Chain Reaction. In 1970, Chain Reaction and Jam Band both played at a gig in New Hampshire. Tyler loved Jam Band’s sound, and he proposed that he join the group. In October 1970, they agreed, with Tyler insisting to be the frontman. During this time, the bandmembers regularly watched Three Stooges reruns on TV and got stoned. One day, after a Stooges session, they decided to come up with a new name for the group. Kramer mentioned that in school, he would randomly write “Aerosmith” all over his notebooks. His bandmates were not impressed, thinking of Sinclair Lewis’ novel Arrowsmith. When Kramer clarified the spelling, they decided to go with it, rejecting the names Spike Jones, and The Hookers.
  • They hired Tyler’s friend Ray Tabano to play rhythm guitar, and they started playing concerts – their first show was at a high school in November 1970. Tabano was replaced by Whitford in 1971 – Tabano hung around to maintain the band’s office and to manage the group’s fan club. By 1972, they were signed by a management group, who got them exposure with a major record company. They signed a recording deal, and their debut album, the self titled Aerosmith, was released in 1973. The album initially did not sell well, though after the band’s later success, it went on the be certified 2x platinum. Three singles were released – only Dream On managed to chart, reaching #59 on the Billboard Hot 100. In late 1975, the song was re-released, and the song peaked at #6. The power ballad is iconic classic rock, at #173 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • Their popularity continued to grow with their next 2 albums – Get Your Wings in 1974 and Toys In the Attic the following year. Both are multi-platinum, with Toys their most successful album in sales, certified 8x platinum. None of the singles from Get Your Wings charted, and initially Sweet Emotion from Toys barely charted, and Walk This Way missed the charts completely. Walk This Way was re-released in late 1976, and it reached #10 on the Hot 100. Both made it to the Rolling Stones GOAT list – Walk This Way has the distinction of being on the list twice – the Run-DMC version released in 1986 (with Aerosmith contributing) is ranked at #293, ahead of the original Aerosmith version, ranked at #346.
  • Three more albums released in the 70s went platinum, though the singles from these albums did not hit the top 40. The only single during this time that managed to break into the top 40 chart was their cover of the Beatles’ Come Together, from the soundtrack to the film Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – it reached #23.
  • Drugs and the years of touring took its toll on the band, and in 1979, Perry left the group. Whitford soon followed, leaving in 1981. Replacement musicians contributed to tours and an album. In 1984, Perry and Whitford watched the band perform a concert, and shortly thereafter, they rejoined Aerosmith. Still struggling with drug abuse, they went on tour and released an album in 1985. The following year, all members went through rehab, They emerged clean, and their comeback was underway.
  • The band released 3 albums from 1987 to 1993. Permanent Vacation went 5x platinum, and both Pump and Get a Grip sold over 7 million copies in the U.S. They became regulars on the Billboard charts – 9 songs from these albums were in the top 20, and 5 singles were #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart – Love In An Elevator, What It Takes, The Other Side, Livin’ On the Edge, and Cryin’. They continued their success throughout the 90s – their Nine Lives album in 1997 had 4 songs in the top 5 of the Rock chart, and they had their only #1 song on the Hot 100 chart with I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing, from the soundtrack to the film Armageddon in 1998.
  • Since 2000, Aerosmith released 3 more studio albums, and they remain immensely popular in concert. They began a farewell tour that will last several years, and in 2019 they began a residency in Las Vegas. The group has won 4 Grammy awards for Best Rock Performance, for Janie’s Got a Gun, Livin’ On the Edge, Crazy and Pink. Their music videos have won 10 MTV Video Music Awards. They are the best selling hard rock band of all time, with over 150 million records sold worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and Rolling Stone puts them at #59 of the Greatest Artists of All Time. Rolling Stone also puts Joe Perry at #84 on their Greatest Guitarists list.
  • I put Aerosmith in the 70s decade, but obviously they have a career that made them relevant in 5 different decades. I prefer their hits from the 70s a bit more than the power ballads of the late 80s and early 90s, but you can’t help but be in awe of the energy of this band. When you talk about ultimate rockers, you have to include Aerosmith in the conversation. So many great songs – I might as well pick my favorite – ahh, the memories of high school dances with Dream On on the set list. “Sing with me, sing for the year, sing for the laughter sing for the tear!” Here you go!

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