Aerosmith's Steven Tyler on 'What Could Have Been Love' - Track-by-Track Premiere

'It's a magical tune,' he says of wounded power ballad

October 25, 2012 9:00 AM ET
Aerosmith, 'Music from Another Dimension!'
Aerosmith, 'Music from Another Dimension!'

Click to listen to Aerosmith's 'What Could Have Been Love'

RollingStone.com will be premiering Aerosmith's Music From Another Dimension! album, one track at a time, in the weeks leading up to the November 6th release.

"What Could Have Been Love" is the kind of wounded power ballad that dominated Aerosmith's run of hits in the Nineties, much to the irritation of some longtime fans of the band's early, hardest-rocking work. But that side of the group has been part of their repertoire all the way back to the Seventies, at least since "You See Me Crying" on 1975's Toys in the Attic.

The new song, another collaboration with frequent co-writer Marti Frederiksen, opens with a shimmering guitar melody and Steven Tyler singing, "I wake up and wonder/ how everything went wrong/ Am I the one to blame?" It's accompanied by the second video released from Music From Another Dimension!, which shows Tyler in a bar wailing miserably about a failed relationship while the rest of the band happily shoots pool, as the song builds to a teary crescendo.

"Marti and I had both been through divorce: Do you ever have feelings about that? Do you ever think about that?" says Tyler. "It started from there: 'What could have been love, it should have been the only thing that was ever meant to be, couldn't see what was right in front of me.' So many people are getting divorced now. When you've got kids, you still love the mother a little bit. Anyone worth their soul will admit it."

100 Greatest Artists of All Time: Aerosmith

Also getting a co-writing credit on the song is the band's keyboard player, Russ Irwin, who had a Top 40 hit as a solo artist in 1991 with the whispery romantic ballad "My Heart Belongs to You." Both Irwin and Frederiksen sing backup vocals on "What Could Have Been Love."

"It just reared its beautiful little head a couple of years ago," Tyler says of the composition. "It's a magical tune."

Album producer Jack Douglas gets a co-producer credit, but the song falls squarely in the soaring pop comfort zone of Frederickson, who produced the track with Tyler. "Jack is the overlord," says bassist Tom Hamilton of the album sessions. "He really brought this thing into the home port. But Marti had a big influence, just setting a good example creatively."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Hungry Like the Wolf”

Duran Duran | 1982

This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

More Song Stories entries »