AEROSMITH – ” The Albums “

Posted: July 1, 2022 in MUSIC

Steven Tyler’s Aerosmith are currently taking a break from their 2022 “Deuces Are Wild” Las Vegas residency due to the vocalist voluntarily entering some treatment after relapsing due to foot surgery and the necessity of pain management. As such, the band is off the road until September. Here we look at the best 10 albums of Aerosmith. As one of America’s greatest rock bands, Aerosmith has released 15 studio albums, six live albums, 16 compilation albums, and two EPs. They’ve sold over 150 million albums, making them the biggest selling rock band in U.S. history. Their catalogue is loaded with hits and classics from “Walk This Way” “Train Kept A Rollin’, and “Back In The Saddle” to “Dream On” “Draw The Line” and “Seasons Of Wither”.

Formed in Boston in 1970, the band is made up of Steven Tyler (lead vocals), Joe Perry (guitar), Tom Hamilton (bass) Joey Kramer (drums), and Brad Whiteford (guitar.) While rooted in blues-based rock, they also incorporated elements of heavy metal, R&B, and pop. Aerosmith has been a favourite rock bands since their single “Dream On” from their 1973 self-titled debut release which became their first major hit.

The group’s next four albums, “Get Your Wings”, “Toys In The Attic”, “Rocks”, and “Draw The Line”, were as good a run as any band has ever had and made Aerosmith into a legend.

The band didn’t do quite as well in the 1980s because of personal issues but they rebooted with “Rock in a Hard Place” in 1982 and “Done with Mirrors” in 1985. Their real comeback came with their album “Permanent Vacation” and the single “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” in 1987. “Pump“, released in 1989, and “Get A Grip” in 1993, spawned hit singles and earned Grammy Awards. “Nine Lives” followed in 1997 and then came “Just Push Play” in 2001, “Honkin’ On Bobo” in 2003, and “Music From Another Dimension” in 2012.

These are just the Aerosmith albums we think you should have in your collection.

Aerosmith Toys in The Attic album cover

Toys In The Attic (1975)
This was my first introduction to blues-based rock that I discovered myself. No older sibling turned me onto it like Led Zeppelin or Jeff Beck. Released in 1975, the album features songs like “Sweet Emotion” “Walk This Way,” and the title track. Those tracks plus Tyler’s voice and Joe Perry’s guitar riffs grabbed me and I became a die-hard Aerosmith fan. This album drove me to their previous two albums. “Toys In The Attic” was the band’s most commercially successful studio LP, selling 9 million copies. It gained more traction when Run-DMC covered “Walk This Way” and helped propel the band into the 1980’s mainstream. 

Aerosmith finished ironing out the last wrinkles in their sonic template and unquestionably came into their signature sound with 1975’s ‘Toys in the Attic.’ “Walk This Way” and “Sweet Emotion” would never (or almost never) leave the band’s live sets thereafter, and sturdy album cuts included the rip-roaring title track, groove-driven “No More No More,” doom-laden “Round and Round” and underrated ballad “You See Me Crying.” Even Aerosmith’s cover of the 1950s jump-blues number, “Big Ten Inch Record,” was inspired and perfectly in keeping with the group’s lascivious good humour.

Aerosmith Rocks album cover

Rocks (1976)
The fourth studio album by Aerosmith was released in 1976 and influenced Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, and Nirvana. With the band’s singles on the Billboard Hot 100, “Rocks” eventually went quadruple platinum. Critics didn’t love Aerosmith but I sure did and this album was our favourites.

‘Toys in the Attic’ broke Aerosmith into hard rock’s major leagues but it was the group’s fourth album, ‘Rocks,’ that now stands as their magnum opus, capturing the group at the very apex of their collective powers. The Tyler/Perry song writing partnership was never stronger than on “Back in the Saddle,” “Rats in the Cellar” and “Lick and a Promise,”

Tom Hamilton scored a winner of his own with Tyler’s help on “Sick as a Dog” and the eternally underrated Brad Whitford won long overdue respect for the funky “Last Child” and tortured “Nobody’s Fault.” Round this out with the ever-reliable Joey Kramer and producer Jack Douglas in da house and its no wonder ‘Rocks’ became Aerosmith’s definitive tour de force of a long player.

Listen to “Back In The Saddle”  A fan of B-side songs, “Get The Lead Out” is among our favorites. 

Aerosmith, Get Your Wings, album cover

Get Your Wings (1974)
Early Aerosmith rocks. “Get Your Wings” is the band’s second studio album and their first to be produced by Jack Douglas. It was certified triple platinum by the RIAA. Blues-infused and rocking, there’s still a Stones influence, but Tyler’s song writing was stronger than ever. “Seasons of Wither” is a brilliant song. Tyler nailed the vocals, and Joe Perry and Brad Whitford did the same on guitars. With its sinister feel, it was a bold move for a blues/rock band at that time. “Same Old Song and Dance” and The Yardbirds’ styled cover “Train Kept A Rollin’” maintained the band’s signature sound.

The antithesis of a sophomore slump, 1974’s ‘Get Your Wings‘ was at least twice as confident as Aerosmith’s hit-and-miss debut and but a hair away from matching the timeless albums just ahead. Sure, some of this accelerated maturity was achieved with the help of un-credited session musicians (most notably guitar slingers Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner, on “Train Kept A-Rollin’ but “Same Old Song and Dance,” “Lord of the Thighs” (let’s give the drummer, Mr. Kramer, some!) and the haunting “Seasons of Wither” were prime Aerosmith.

Aerosmith, self-titled, album cover

Aerosmith (1973)
The album debut, self-titled studio album was originally released in 1973 and re-released in December of 1975. Even with spare production and only two guitars, bass, drums, harmonica and occasionally piano, it contained the classic song “Dream On,” a sure-fire hit and primordial power ballad. One song that never received much attention is “One Way Street.” By later albums, you can hear the growth and development of Tyler’s vocals. The band members all sound a bit stiff but you can’t erase a couple of truly great songs.

The boys of Aerosmith were still finding their feet on this eponymous debut, but precocious favourites like the glam slasher “Mama Kin,” bluesy “One Way Street,” and wily-beyond-their-years cover of Rufus Thomas’ “Walkin’ the Dog” also saw them feeling their oats like rock stars who just knew they would be stars (see “Make It”). What’s more, Tyler’s dramatic “Dream On” gave heavy rock its second universal power ballad after Zep’s mold-establishing “Stairway to Heaven,” .

Aerosmith Draw The Line album cover

Draw The Line (1977)
Their fifth studio album, “Draw The Line” is one of Aerosmith’s best rock and roll records. It was released in 1977. Following “Toys in the Attic” and “Rocks”, fans weren’t happy with this record and the critics didn’t like it either. Since then, however, the reviews have become a lot more positive. The band’s excessive lifestyle combined with drugs and constant touring took its toll. Joe Perry said in Stephen Davis’ memoir of the band Walk This Way, “Draw The Line was untogether because we weren’t a cohesive unit anymore.” Even though Tyler and Perry were not as involved in the song writing and recording as they had been, it’s still a great record. The album went platinum in the first month of its release. 

Aerosmith’s ’70s winning streak finally fell prey to growing apathy and exhaustion on 1977’s ‘Draw the Line,’ which was recorded in an abandoned convent on what could aptly be described as “a wing and a prayer.” Get it? Miraculously (Ed: enough with the religious references, please!), the “killer” title track, “I Wanna Know Why” and “Kings and Queens” still outweighed the filler “Critical Mass,” “The Hand that Feeds,” but the members of Aerosmith were abut to get burned by the same fire they were playing with.

Aerosmith Pump album cover

Pump (1989)
The tenth studio album by Aerosmith features the hit singles “Janie’s Got A Gun” and “Love In An Elevator.” The band earned their first Grammy Award for “Janie’s Got A Gun” and the album was the fourth best-selling album of the year in 1990. The band was going for more rawness and inserted instrumental interludes between the songs. A small rock band named Pump sued Aerosmith’s management company for service mark infringement. Now sober, the band sounded amazing. Although regarded as 80s sleaze metal by some, it did reboot some of the early Aerosmith sound. 

1989’s ‘Pump,’ like its multiplatinum predecessor, ‘Permanent Vacation,’ unabashedly catered to ’80s big hair metal trends with glossy mega-productions like “Love in an Elevator” and the Grammy-winning “Janie’s Got a Gun,” but it also did a commendable job of reviving the vintage Aerosmith style on loads of amazing tunes.

These were headlined by the blistering “Young Lust,” infectious “The Other Side,” and career standout “What it Takes” leaving fans so pumped up they bought more than seven millions copies of the thing!.

Aerosmith Permanent Vacation album cover

Permanent Vacation (1987)
The ninth studio album by Aerosmith, “Permanent Vacation” reflects more of a pop-metal sound. It was their first time using outside song writers and is often considered the band’s true comeback. It was the first Aerosmith release to receive heavy music video airplay on MTV and has remained a popular album ever since. Selling over five million copies in the US, the album was released to mixed reviews, mostly positive, especially for the song writing. Considered overproduced in typical 80s fashion, it still featured some songs like “Rag Doll” and “Dude (Looks Like A Lady).” 

It may have necessitated an army of song doctors (Desmond Child, Jim Vallance, etc.) and its lavish ’80s production has definitely dated, but ‘Permanent Vacation’ still ranks among the greatest musical comebacks of all time! And for every pop metal excess committed on “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” there was a balancing reminder of Aerosmith’s classic rock integrity in the likes of “St. John” and “Hangman Jury,” plus intriguing experiments like “The Movie” and the whale-cry-intro of “Heart’s Done Time.”

Aerosmith Get a Grip album cover

Get A Grip (1993)
Get a Grip” featured guests including Don Henley and Lenny Kravitz and became their best-selling studio album worldwide with sales of over 30 million. It also reached number one in the US. Two songs, “Livin’ On The Edge” and “Crazy,” won Grammy Awards for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1993/1994. Although they were now forty-somethings catering to an audience half their age, Aerosmith managed to maintain their fingers on the pulse of modern trends with 1993’s ‘Get a Grip’ just about! Sure, it took a CD-busting 15 songs to compensate for several long forgotten clunkers (anybody remember “Flesh”?), but the monstrous single “Livin’ on the Edge” and no less than three custom-made ballads “Cryin’,” “Crazy,” “Amazing” made this the band’s global best-seller (20 million and counting), despite grunge’s threatening supremacy.

Now a consistent presence on MTV, the band won a number of music video awards. The record received mixed reviews by critics but eventually the band became recognized for their individuality and style and not just as Stones clones.

Their early blues-infused albums didn’t sound like The Rolling Stones to me, but it’s all perspective, I guess. The cover art caused some controversy with animal rights groups but the band claimed that the cover was digitally altered and no animals were harmed. Aerosmith became the first major artist to release an exclusive digital download song “Head First.” 

Aerosmith, Night In The Ruts, album cover

Night In The Ruts (1979)
Joe Perry left the band in the middle of recording “Night In The Ruts“. The band was not in a good place at the time and Perry reportedly owed Aerosmith a lot of money. Originally produced by Jack Douglas, Gary Lyons was brought in by Columbia Records to replace him. Steven Tyler had a tough time finishing the lyrics and vocals. Rampant drug use plagued the band and they seemed at risk of falling apart. In-fighting between members led to missed performances on a tour they weren’t prepared for, as well. In 1979 at the World Series of Rock in Cleveland, OH, Perry left the band during the tour after an argument with Tyler.

Although Perry had completed guitar parts for several of the songs, the remaining guitars were recorded by Brad Whitford, Richie Supa, Neil Thompson, and Jimmy Crespo. Crespo replaced Perry from 1979-1984. a wildly inconsistent set, which did boast a few rare winners in “No Surprize” and “Three Mile Smile.” The album was panned by critics and dropped in the charts. Even so, the group’s cover of “Remember (Walking In The Sand)” was fun.

Aerosmith, Honkin' On Bobo, album cover

Honkin’ On Bobo (2004)
With Joe Perry back in the band, the album features one new song and 11 covers of blues and blues/rock songs from the 1950s and 1960s, before The Stones did the same thing. It pays tribute to the band’s earliest influences and is raw, more like their 1970s music.

Over a decade before the Rolling Stones had the bright idea to record a back-to-our-roots blues LP, Aerosmith did just that with 2004’s amusingly named ‘Honkin’ on Bobo.’ A stripped-down affair, it did much to help fans forgive and forget the sell-out sins perpetrated by the band’s previous few records with rambunctious covers of “Road Runner,” “I’m Ready,” and other blues staples.

Having said that, nothing here was exactly life altering, either, including the only original band composition, “The Grind.” Produced by Jack Douglas once again, the album sold over 160,000 copies in the first week and was certified Gold by the RIAA in 2004.

The band plays hard on this album and returns to the dirty blues sound we all love, including harmonica work by Steven Tyler. It includes songs by Bo Diddley, Sonny Boy Williamson, Aretha Franklin, Fred McDowell and more. 

With a career now spanning nearly a half-a-century, complete with its its fair share of victories, defeats, and improbable comebacks, Aerosmith have undoubtedly staked their claim as perhaps America’s greatest hard rock band.

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