History of Rock: Aerosmith

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Aerosmith has hit its peaks and valleys, just like everyone in the world and has triumphed which makes them my favorite, and one of the best, rock bands of all time. The band Known as Aerosmith has had many members depart and enter, but the original band was formed in 1970 with Steven Tyler as drummer, Joe Perry on guitar and Tom Hamilton on bass guitar. Eventually the band brought in drummer Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford which moved Tyler to lead vocals (Erlewine). I first started to like this band when they made a famous appearance on the TV show Wayne’s world on Saturday Night Live. Ever since I saw that episode I have become a lifelong Aerosmith fan.

Aerosmith is a very popular band which has had its ups and downs since “signing with Columbia Records in 1972” (HISTORY). “Known for their aggressive blues-based style, Aerosmith was the top American hard-rock band of the mid-Seventies” (Everything).

In the early part of the 1970s Aerosmith came out “the minor hit single, Dream On” (HISTORY). But it was not until a few years later, when they released Toys in the Attic, that they became the superstars that we know today.

This super stardom would be short lived. After the platinum record Rocks the band released “Their next album, Draw the Line, which was not as successful,” and eventually lead to the decline of the bands popularity (HISTORY). Like most successful band stories “drug abuse began affecting their output” (HISTORY). During the decline “Perry and Tyler were nicknamed "the Toxic Twins" for their heroin habits” (Everything). This was a tough time for the members of Aerosmith, but as the 70s rolled into the 80s times would change and they would eventually climb out of the hole they dug for themselves.

The 1980s would prove to be the decade of rebuilding the legacy that is Aerosmith. In 1984 the band decided to embark on a reunion tour by the name of “Back In The saddle” (Erlewine). This was a small step in the climb back to the top. “Early in the tour, Tyler collapsed on stage, offering proof that the band hadn't conquered their notorious drug and alcohol addictions” (Erlewine). While this first stab at the climb back to glory failed the band would not get discouraged. The following year, Aerosmith released Done with Mirrors, the original lineup's first record since 1979 and their first for Geffen Records (their new record company) and Although it didn't perform as well as Rock in a Hard Place, the album showed that the band was revitalized” (Erlewine). The album “fared relatively well commercially but did not produce a hit single or generate much buzz” (HISTORY). This record marked a very large turning point in the bands come back because “by the time the record was released, Tyler and Perry had exited rehab and the group appeared on Run D.M.C.'s massively successful cover of "Walk This Way", blending rock and roll and hip hop and beginning Aerosmith's comeback” (HISTORY). “That fall, just as "Walk This Way" was peaking on the chart, Permanent Vacation was released, with three hit singles and their accompanying videos — "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)", "Angel", and "Rag Doll— introducing Aerosmith to a new generation” (Everything). This was a large step in the return of Aerosmith but, “the true comeback album, however, was Pump, featuring four Top Ten singles in "Janie's Got a Gun", "What It Takes", "Love in an Elevator", and "The Other Side", reestablishing Aerosmith as a serious musical force again” (HISTORY).

Just as the band adjusted to the 1980s they would again adjust to the changing times of the 1990s. The bands hard work had paid off when “In 1991 the group signed a record deal with Sony worth a reported $30 million for four albums that included provisions for 22 percent royalties” (Everything). This large contract would not stop the band from continuing the success they had in the late 80s. Despite significant shifts in mainstream music at the beginning of the 90s, the band's 1993 follow-up to Pump, Get a Grip, was just as successful commercially. Though many critics were unimpressed by the focus on power-ballads in promoting the album, all three ("Cryin'", "Crazy" and "Amazing") proved to be huge successes on radio and MTV” (Everything). These were very good times for the band “Get a Grip, with the hit singles "Living on the Edge", "Cryin” and "Crazy", hit Number One, followed by 1994's double-platinum Number Six greatest-hits package, Big Ones, continuing Aerosmith's run at the top. Box of Fire, a 12-CD compilation of Aerosmith's Columbia output, went gold in early 1995” (Everything).

Just as the group had experienced almost a decade of pure success they were about to hit a speed bump in the Aerosmith highway. As the band began a follow up album to Get a Grip their producer “Glen Ballard left in the middle of the sessions and was replaced by Kevin Shirley” (History). Then the band started to deteriorate from the inside out. “Joey Kramer's father had died, sending the drummer into such a depression that he had to be replaced by session drummer Steve Ferrone on some tracks. In the midst of it all, the band fired its longtime manager, Tim Collins, who had helped the musicians through sobriety and helmed their Eighties comeback. Collins retaliated by suggesting that some of the band members had fallen off the wagon; Tyler was then accused of "not being part of the team" in a letter sent to him by his four bandmates. Tyler denied taking drugs, saying, "I've had no mood-altering substances in 10 years”.” (History).

Eventually their follow up album Nine Lives finally came out in 1997 which marked their next upward turn in success. Their next album ““Pink" won Aerosmith another Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1999” (History). The most ironic part of Aerosmith’s tenure is that “in 1999 they featured in the new Disney MGM Studios (and later in a Disney Studios Paris version) ride, the "Rock n Roller Coaster", providing the soundtrack and theme of the ride; it's based on their recording session and following concert” (History). This is a fitting ending to the 1990s since it symbolized the roller coaster ride of ups and downs the band had gone through to get to that point. These peaks and valleys, which Aerosmith overcame to become one of the most well known bands, are the reason they are my favorite band. They are a band which someone can listen to for some inspiration to keep going and persevere over all the valleys and eventually end up on top.

Works citedErlewine, Stephen T. "The Aerosmith Story." 23 Sept. 2008 .

"Everything:Aerosmith." Rolling Stone. 23 Sept. 2008 .

"HISTORY OF AEROSMITH." Pop stars plus. 11 July 2005. 25 Sept. 2008 .