100 Greatest Singers

99

Steven Tyler

Richards/AFP/Getty

Born March 26th, 1948
Key Tracks "Sweet Emotion," "Dream On," "Walk This Way"
Influenced David Lee Roth, Axl Rose, Scott Weiland

Steven Tyler has a theory about how singing first began. "It had to be with the first primate uttering a moan during sex," he says. "I truly believe that's where the passion of voice comes from." Every line Tyler sings is informed by a leer and a wink, whether overtly ("Love in an Elevator") or with more subtlety ("Walk This Way"). In the course of nearly four decades fronting Aerosmith, Tyler has defined both the sound and style of the lead singer in a hard-rock band. "It's hard to separate the singer from the person," says Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry. "You need personality to be a frontman." Tyler has that in spades, along with — amid all the yelps, groans, growls and squeals — an unerring sense of pitch. "As Tony Bennett said, 'Without heart, this is no art,' " Tyler says. "I wear my heart on my sleeve."

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