Aerosmith are gearing up for a long tour that kicks off in Istanbul on May 14th. They head over to America for a run of outdoor and arena dates with special guest Slash in July. Their last album was 2012's Music From Another Dimension, but don't expect to hear all that much from that one: It pretty much disappeared without a trace and the group is still pretty sore about that. "The head of the label left three weeks before the record came out," Joe Perry recently told Rolling Stone. "The whole promotion thing got screwed up." Adds Steven Tyler: "How refreshing after 10 years to get fucked by your label again. God, I missed that." Thankfully, they have plenty of other albums to draw from. We asked our readers to vote for their favorite Aerosmith albums. Click through to see the results.
Aerosmith were in complete meltdown mode when they began work on Night in the Ruts in early 1979. Drug abuse was ripping the group apart and relations between Joe Perry and Steven Tyler were at an all-time low. They were also burning through their money and they had to walk away from the project midway through to play some gigs. Backstage at a show at Cleveland stadium, Perry and Tyler got into a horrible fight and the guitarist quit. A bunch of studio guitarists attempted to fill Perry's void for recording (including his eventual replacement Jimmy Crespo), and they padded out what few songs they had with covers like "Think About It" by the Yardbirds and the Shangri-Las classic "Remember (Walking in the Sand.)" Despite all the problems, the album manages to have some very nice moments, especially "Bone to Bone." The LP did seem like a low point at the time, but they'd sink much lower in the coming years.
They didn't realize it at the time, but Aerosmith's 1977 album Draw The Line marked the end of an era: It was their final release before the original lineup totally splintered apart. They'd become superstars over the previous few years and their endless orgy of drugs and women distracted them a bit from songwriting, but they came together at a former convent in New York and quickly hammered out this down-and-dirty rock album. The title track is a classic they play to this day while the punk-infused "Bright Light Fright" marked Joe Perry's first time on the lead vocals.
It's been over 40 years since Aerosmith dropped their self-titled debut album, and it still sounds remarkably fresh. It's all here: the power ballads, the killer guitar duo of Brad Whitford and Joe Perry and Steven Tyler's wild howl of a voice. The LP didn't find out a big audience outside of their native Boston, but it started selling really big three years later when Aerosmith blew up and "Dream On" came back out as a single. Tyler wrote the song years before he even joined Aerosmith and it remains their signature song, played at virtually every show the group has ever done. "Mama Kin" has also become a beloved classic. Aerosmith have cut better albums than their first one, but they never quite recaptured this youthful energy and loose vibe.
Most people learned that Joe Perry was back with Aerosmith when Run-DMC's "Walk This Way" exploded in the summer of 1986. But the classic Aerosmith lineup actually came together the previous year to record Done With Mirrors. The group got off drugs for the album and made peace with Joe Perry and Brad Whitford. "Let the Music Do The Talking" and "Shela" were minor rock hits, but the album mostly stiffed and today many in the group say it's one of its weaker efforts. Still, it paved the way for the remarkable comeback that truly began the next year.
Aerosmith wrote all the songs on Done With Mirrors by themselves, but when it came time for a follow-up record they worked with outside songwriters like Desmond Child and Holly Knight. It worked better than anyone could have imagined. Songs like "Rag Doll," "Angel" and "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" — all written with the help of outsiders — were absolute smashes. MTV put their videos into heavy rotation and kids that were barely out of diapers when "Walk This Way" first hit were rushing to basketball arenas to see Aerosmith live. It was one of the most remarkable comebacks in rock history, though some hardcore fans thought the new songs were cheesy. Still, for every one old song they lost they gained about 50 new ones.
In 1993, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Whitney Houston ruled the world. A 1970s group like Aerosmith had absolutely no business finding a place in that landscape — let alone crafting hits that dominated radio and MTV for months on end — but that's exactly what happened. They once again turned to outside songwriters to create hits like "Crazy," "Amazing," "Livin' on the Edge" and "Cryin'" and they tapped a completely unknown Alicia Silverstone to star in a trio of videos. Teens all across America fell madly in love with the young beauty and Get a Grip sold by the millions. Aerosmith were more than 20 years into their career at this point, but this was the commercial peak.
Aerosmith were on top of the world when they began work on Pump in early 1989. When the decade began the group was down two members and playing clubs while Steven Tyler struggled to control his horrific drug addiction. They were now back together again and, somehow, one of the biggest names in rock. Working with outside songwriters helped propel Permanent Vacation up the charts, so it made perfect sense to repeat the formula. Desmond Child helped with "F.I.N.E" and Jim Vallance c0-wrote "Young Lust." But this time around, the biggest hits — including "Janie's Got a Gun" and "Love in an Elevator" — were written without any help. The group was getting better at penning sleek, radio-friendly tunes. Many huge rock groups of the late 1980s melted into dust when the 1990s began, but somehow Aerosmith just got bigger.
Relentless touring had turned Aerosmith into a first-rate live band when it came time to record their second album in late 1973, but they had yet to release a breakout single. That didn't change with Get Your Wings, but the record is still a vital leap forward for the band. It's their first effort with producer Jack Douglas, a man they'd return to time and time again as the decades wore on. It also features some of their most enduring songs, such as "Lord of the Thighs" and "Same Old Song and Dance." Once the group blew up with Toys in the Attic in 1975, many fans went back and discovered the genius of Get Your Wings.
Aerosmith were at a creative peak when they recorded 1976's Rocks. Toys in the Attic finally showed the world this was a band worth taking seriously, but they wanted to prove they had more to offer. This was before drugs and ego took over, and they poured all their energies into crafting an absolute monster of an album. It doesn't relent from the opening notes of "Back in the Saddle" through "Home Tonight." It's the perfect marriage of Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, but still something very original. They'd never again craft another album quite this perfect.
Much like their Columbia labelmate Bruce Springsteen that same year, Aerosmith's 1975 LP Toys in the Attic was the group's third record, and a crucial make-it-or-break-it release. They had a cult following and an amazing live show by this point, but it was time for them to craft a masterpiece so the whole world would get to join the party. They pulled it off in a huge way by writing "Sweet Emotion," "Toys in the Attic" and "Walk This Way." Radio embraced "Sweet Emotion" and "Walk This Way" in a huge way, finally bringing Aerosmith on to big stages around the world. It's hard to imagine what would have happened to Aerosmith had they not pulled this record off.