Permanent Vacation, which sold 5 million copies in America, proved to be a turning point for Aerosmith. It was the first time that they employed outside songwriters, which when coupled with their MTV-friendly videos took them to another level. In the UK 'Dude (Looks Like a Lady)' became their first record to make the singles chart, which helped 'Permanent Vacation' make the Top 40. Two years later Pump did even better making No.5 in America, staying on the charts for over two years, and No.3 in the UK. Europe's love affair with Aerosmith continued when Get A Grip went to No.2 in Britain and top 5 across Europe. From this era, 'Love is an Elevator', 'Janie's Got A Gun', 'Cryin' and Crazy' just added Aerosmith to more rock radio playlists and helped ensure they are reagrde as one of the greatest ever rock bands to come out of America.
Aerosmith were one of the most popular hard rock bands of the '70s, setting the style and sound of hard rock and heavy metal for the next two decades with their raunchy, bluesy swagger. The Boston-based quintet found the middle ground between the menace of the Rolling Stones and the campy, sleazy flamboyance of the New York Dolls, developing a lean, dirty riff-oriented boogie that was loose and swinging and as hard as a diamond.
In the meantime, they developed a prototype for power ballads with "Dream On," a piano ballad that was orchestrated with strings and distorted guitars. Aerosmith's ability to pull off both ballads and rock & roll made them extremely popular during the mid-'70s, when they had a string of gold and platinum albums. By the early '80s, the group's audience had declined as the band fell prey to drug and alcohol abuse. However, their career was far from over -- in the late '80s, Aerosmith pulled off one of the most remarkable comebacks in rock history, returning to the top of the charts with a group of albums that equaled, if not surpassed, the popularity of their '70s albums.
In 1970, the first incarnation of Aerosmith formed when vocalist Steven Tyler met guitarist Joe Perry while working at a Sunapee, New Hampshire, ice cream parlor. Tyler, who originally was a drummer, and Perry decided to form a power trio with bassist Tom Hamilton. The group soon expanded to a quartet, adding a second guitarist called Ray Tabano; he was quickly replaced by Brad Whitford, a former member of Earth Inc. With the addition of drummer Joey Kramer, Tyler became the full-time lead singer by the end of year. Aerosmith relocated to Boston at the end of 1970.
After playing clubs in the Massachusetts and New York areas for two years, the group landed a record contract with Columbia Records in 1972. Aerosmith's self-titled debut album was released in the fall of 1973, climbing to number 166. "Dream On" was released as the first single and it was a minor hit, reaching number 59. For the next year, the band built a fan base by touring America, supporting groups as diverse as the Kinks, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Sha Na Na, and Mott the Hoople. The performance of Get Your Wings (1974), the group's second album and the first produced by Jack Douglas, benefited from their constant touring, spending a total of 86 weeks on the chart.
Aerosmith's third record, 1975's Toys in the Attic, was their breakthrough album both commercially and artistically. By the time it was recorded, the band's sound had developed into a sleek, hard-driving hard rock powered by simple, almost brutal, blues-based riffs. Many critics at the time labeled the group as punk rockers, and it's easy to see why -- instead of adhering to the world music pretensions of Led Zeppelin or the prolonged gloomy mysticism of Black Sabbath, Aerosmith stripped heavy metal to its basic core, spitting out spare riffs that not only rocked, but rolled. Steven Tyler's lyrics were filled with double entendres and clever jokes, and the entire band had a streetwise charisma that separated it from the heavy, lumbering arena rockers of the era. Toys in the Attic captured the essence of the newly invigorated Aerosmith. "Sweet Emotion," the first single from Toys in the Attic, broke into the Top 40 in the summer of 1975, with the album reaching number 11 shortly afterward. Its success prompted the re-release of the power ballad "Dream On," which shot into the Top Ten in early 1976. Both Aerosmith and Get Your Wings climbed back up the charts in the wake of Toys in the Attic. "Walk This Way," the final single from Toys in the Attic, was released around the time of the group's new 1976 album, Rocks. Although it didn't feature a Top Ten hit like "Walk This Way," Rocks went platinum quickly, peaking at number three.
In early 1977, Aerosmith took a break and prepared material for their fifth album. Released late in 1977, Draw the Line was another hit, climbing to number 11 on the U.S. charts, but it showed signs of exhaustion. In addition to another tour in 1978, the band appeared in the movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, performing "Come Together," which eventually became a number 23 hit. Live! Bootleg appeared late in 1978 and became another success, reaching number 13. Aerosmith recorded Night in the Ruts in 1979, releasing the record at the end of the year. By the time of its release, Joe Perry had left the band to form the Joe Perry Project. Night in the Ruts performed respectably, climbing to number 14 and going gold, yet it was the least successful Aerosmith record to date. Brad Whitford left the group in early 1980, forming the Whitsford-St. Holmes Band with former Ted Nugent guitarist Derek St. Holmes.
As Aerosmith regrouped with new guitarists Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay, the band released Aerosmith's Greatest Hits in late 1980; the record would eventually sell over six million copies. The new lineup of Aerosmith released Rock in a Hard Place in 1982. Peaking at number 32, it failed to match the performance of Night in the Ruts. Perry and Whitford returned to the band in 1984 and the group began a reunion tour dubbed Back in the Saddle. Early in the tour, Tyler collapsed on-stage, offering proof that the bandmembers hadn't conquered their notorious drug and alcohol addictions. The following year, Aerosmith released Done with Mirrors, the original lineup's first record since 1979 and their first for Geffen Records. Although it didn't perform as well as Rock in a Hard Place, the album showed that the band was revitalized.
After the release of Done with Mirrors, Tyler and Perry completed rehabilitation programs. In 1986, the pair appeared on Run-D.M.C.'s cover of "Walk This Way," along with appearing in the video. "Walk This Way" became a hit, reaching number four and receiving saturation airplay on MTV. "Walk This Way" set the stage for the band's full-scale comeback effort, the Bruce Fairbairn-produced Permanent Vacation (1987). Tyler and Perry collaborated with professional hard rock songwriters like Holly Knight and Desmond Child, resulting in the hits "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)," "Rag Doll," and "Angel." Permanent Vacation peaked at number 11 and sold over three million copies.
Pump, released in 1989, continued the band's winning streak, reaching number five, selling over four million copies, and spawning the Top Ten singles "Love in an Elevator," "Janie's Got a Gun," and "What It Takes." Aerosmith released Get a Grip in 1993. Like Permanent Vacation and Pump, Get a Grip was produced by Bruce Fairbairn and featured significant contributions by professional songwriters. The album was as successful as the band's previous two records, featuring the hit singles "Livin' on the Edge," "Cryin'," and "Amazing." In 1994, Aerosmith released Big Ones, a compilation of hits from their Geffen years that fulfilled their contract with the label; it went double platinum shortly after its release.
While Aerosmith was at the height of their revitalized popularity in the early '90s, the group signed a lucrative multi-million dollar contract with Columbia Records, even though they still owed Geffen two albums. It wasn't until 1995 that the band was able to begin working on their first record under the new contract -- nearly five years after the contract was signed. The making of Aerosmith albums usually had been difficult affairs, but the recording of Nine Lives was plagued with bad luck. The band went through a number of producers and songwriters before settling on Kevin Shirley in 1996. More damaging, however, was the dismissal of the band's manager, Tim Collins, who'd been responsible for bringing the band back from the brink of addiction. Upon his firing, Collins insinuated that Steven Tyler was using hard drugs again, an allegation that Aerosmith adamantly denied.
Under such circumstances, recording became quite difficult, and when Nine Lives finally appeared in the spring of 1997, it was greeted with great anticipation, yet the initial reviews were mixed and even though album debuted at number one, it quickly fell down the charts. The live A Little South of Sanity followed in 1998. Next up for the band was a blues album, Honkin' on Bobo, released in 2004, along with two live album/DVDs, You Gotta Move and Rockin' the Joint. Another greatest-hits collection, Devil's Got a New Disguise: The Very Best of Aerosmith arrived in 2006.
Nine Lives is the 12th studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released March 18, 1997. The album was produced by Aerosmith and Kevin Shirley, and was the band's first studio album released by Columbia Records since 1982's Rock in a Hard Place. It peaked at #1 at the Billboard Charts. One of the album's singles, "Pink", won a Grammy for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.
Joe Perry returned to the fold in 1985, and Aerosmith turned out their finest record since Rocks. Unlike the records that preceded it, Done with Mirrors is powered by the same smart-assed lyrics and filthy guitars that formed the core of Aerosmith's best songs. It didn't receive the commercial or critical attention that Permanent Vacation did two years later, but Done with Mirrors is the better album; it marks the beginning of their remarkable comeback.
Words - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The much-ballyhooed reunion of the original Aerosmith lineup had pretty much fallen flat on its face after 1985's Done With Mirrors. Realizing that the band simply couldn't do it alone, A&R guru John Kalodner capitalized on the runaway success of Run-D.M.C.'s cover of "Walk This Way" and decided to draft in the day's top hired hands, including knob-twiddler extraordinaire Bruce Fairbairn and career-revitalizing song doctors Desmond Child and Jim Vallance. Together, they would help craft Permanent Vacation, the album which would reinvent Aerosmith as '80s and '90s superstars. Yet, despite the mostly stellar songwriting, which makes it a strong effort overall, some of the album's nooks and crannies haven't aged all that well because of Fairbairn's overwrought production, featuring an exaggerated sleekness typical of most mid-'80s pop-metal albums. Furthermore, Desmond Child's pedantic writing often compromises the timeliness of even the best material.
On the other hand, pre-fab radio gems like "Rag Doll" and "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" remain largely unassailable from a "delivering the goods" perspective. But remember kids, this is Aerosmith, so that can only mean one thing: a guaranteed number of incredible tracks for any time and place. These include the earthy voodoo blues of "St. John" and the excellent hobo-harmonica fable of "Hangman Jury." And, although some of the remaining cuts lean to the filler side, both the awkwardly Caribbean title track and the cover of the Beatles' "I'm Down" are well executed. Finally, the crowd-pleasing schmaltz of "Angel" showcases the band at the peak of its power ballad cheese. A valiant effort, this album proved to be the crucial catalyst in reintroducing Aerosmith to the masses, but if you're looking for an even better example of the band's renewed strength, check out Pump first.
Words - John Franck & Ed Rivadavia
Where Permanent Vacation seemed a little overwhelmed by its pop concessions, Pump revels in them without ever losing sight of Aerosmith's dirty hard rock core. Which doesn't mean the record is a sellout -- "What It Takes" has more emotion and grit than any of their other power ballads; "Janie's Got a Gun" tackles more complex territory than most previous songs; and "The Other Side" and "Love in an Elevator" rock relentlessly, no matter how many horns and synths fight with the guitars. Such ambition and successful musical eclecticism make Pump rank with Rocks and Toys in the Attic.
Words - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Rocks is the fourth album by American rock band Aerosmith, released on May 3, 1976. Allmusic described Rocks as having "captured Aerosmith at their most raw and rocking". Rocks was ranked #176 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It has greatly influenced many hard rock and heavy metal artists, including Guns N' Roses and Metallica. The album was a commercial success, charting three singles on the Billboard Hot 100, two of which reached the Top 40 ("Back in the Saddle" and "Last Child"). The album was one of the first albums to ship platinum when it was released. The album has since gone quadruple platinum
Coming on the heels of the commercially and artistically successful Pump, the fitfully entertaining Get a Grip pales against its predecessor's musical diversity. But it's not for lack of trying. In fact, Aerosmith try too hard, making a stab at social commentary ("Livin' on the Edge") while keeping adolescent fans in their corner with their trademark raunch-rock ("Get a Grip" and "Eat the Rich"), as well as having radio-ready hit ballads ("Cryin'," "Amazing," and "Crazy"). The problem is, it's a studied performance -- it sounds like what an Aerosmith album should sound like.
Words - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
This live recording came out in 1998 and is the only album by Aerosmith receive the Parental Advisory sticker, primarily due to Steven Tyler shouting modifying some song lyrics to racier versions. All tracks are from either the Get A Grip or Nine Lives World Tours.
Big Ones serves up the hits and nothing but the hits; Aerosmith's excellent debut for Geffen, Done with Mirrors, is conveniently overlooked. So what's left is some of the finest mainstream hard rock of the late '80s and early '90s -- the fruits of one of the most remarkable comebacks in rock & roll history.
Given Steven Tyler's newly anointed role as America’s lecherous sweetheart thanks to his gig as an American Idol judge, it was only a matter of time before a new Aerosmith compilation hit the stores in 2011. Tough Love: The Best of the Ballads arrived right on time, appearing just weeks before the close of the season, its title pitched to those AmIdol viewers who celebrate Tyler's wackiness while happily ignoring his lecherous side glances…an ignorance that would extend to the contents of this 12-track collection, as there is just no possible way that “Love in an Elevator” and “Rag Doll” could qualify as “ballads.” Instead, view Tough Love as a greatest hits of Aerosmith’s late-‘80s and early-‘90s comeback, expanded slightly by the inclusion of the granddaddy of all power ballads, “Dream On,” and the collection makes sense, as it has all the big hits -- “Angel,” “Amazing,” “Crazy,” “What It Takes,” “Livin’ on the Edge,” “Janie’s Got a Gun” -- leaving only “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” behind. For those who fell back in love or just got to know Tyler via American Idol, this is an album designed for them.
Words - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
This 2001 compilation album features the band’s greatest hits of their Geffen Records years between Done with Mirrors and Get a Grip, as well as some un-released material, B-sides, and live versions. It was reissued in 2005 as Gold, with cover art of the band replaced the original cover of couple getting undressed.