While nothing is definite at the moment, it seems quite likely that Aerosmith will be launching a farewell tour next year. They’re one of the few bands from their generation still touring with the complete classic lineup, and they want to end it all while everyone is still standing. Joe Perry’s health scare earlier this week was a terrifying reminder of how quickly that can change, but thankfully he seems to be okay. Any farewell tour is likely to feature a lot of hits, but Aerosmith also digs out a handful of rare songs each night to please the hardcores. We asked our readers to select their favorite Aerosmith deep cuts. Here are the results.
A single song sits between "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion" on Toys in the Attic: "Big Ten Inch Record." Being stuck between two of the most beloved rock songs of the 1970s is a tough fate for a song. Listeners are going to be so tempted to pick up the needle and skip to the next song that it needs to work hard to justify its existence. "Big Ten Inch Record," a cover of a 1952 Fred Weismantel song popularized by sax player Bull Moose Jackson, pulls that off pretty quickly. "Got me the strangest woman," Tyler songs. "Believe me this trick's no cinch/But I really get her going/When I whip out my big ten inch." Records were 10 inches long in the early 20th century, but the double entendre is so obvious here we don't even need to explain it. It hit shelves just a year before AC/DC's "Big Balls," which only slightly more blatant in its message.
A few years before he formed Aerosmith, Steven Tyler (then known as Steven Tallarico) was in the New York-based garage rock band Chain Reaction. They split after releasing a couple flop singles, but Tyler remained close with keyboardist Don Solomon and they wrote Aerosmith's 1974 tune "Woman of the World" together. They played the song a bunch on the Get Your Wings tour in 1974 but haven't brought out a full version of it since a one-off in 1998. In 2012, Joe Perry told Rolling Stone he wanted to bring it back into the show, but fans are still waiting.
Aerosmith's 1987 comeback LP, Permanent Vacation, is filled with slick pop songs like "Rag Doll," "Angel" and "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)," but midway through it kicks into the bluesy "Hangman Jury." It begins with the sounds of a swamp and a rocking chair on a porch before gradually transitioning into a more traditional 1980s Aerosmith song, albeit with more harmonica than usual. The group thought that it was a traditional American song going back to the 19th Century, but it turned out that Lead Belly's estate owned the copyright. It led to some brief legal action between the two camps.
By the time Aerosmith got around to writing songs for Toys in the Attic, they'd spent half a decade schlepping across America playing an endless series of one-night stands. Steven Tyler was exhausted and he vented about it in "No More No More." "Holiday Inn, lock the door with a chain," he sings. "You love 'em and you hate it but to me they're all the same…Stalemate jailbait ladies can't refuse/You love 'em then you leave 'em with your sold out reviews." A year later, Bob Seger's live rendition of "Turn the Page" – which dealt with the same issues minus the jailbait – became a big hit. "No More No More" wasn't a single, but the fans love it and Aerosmith continue to play it in their live shows.
Long before power ballads became practically a contractual requirement for all hard rock bands, Aerosmith recorded "Kings and Queens" for 1977's Draw the Line. The lyrics focus on the high cost of religious extremism in the days of kings, queens, lords, maidens and vikings. It was the second Draw the Line single, and it peaked at Number 70 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song sat dormant for years, though it was a regular on the group's 2014 tour.
"Sick as a Dog" is a real outlier in the Aerosmith catalog in that it features bassist Tom Hamilton on guitar and Joe Perry on bass, at least until the very end when Steven Tyler took over. The 1976 song was cut live and since Hamilton wrote the tune, they let him play guitar. That put Perry on bass, but he somehow had to switch over to guitar to play a solo at the end. Not wanting to disrupt the live feel, the group simply waited until a slow part near the end when Perry quietly handed off the bass to his singer and picked up the guitar. It's so seamless on the recording that it's impossible to notice. They haven't played it live since 2002, though in concert everyone sticks to their normal instruments.
The world of Aerosmith was a pretty chaotic place when the Rocks sessions came about in early 1976, and Steven Tyler wanted to reflect that in the lyrics to "Rats in the Cellar." "Things were coming apart," the singer wrote in his memoir Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?, "Sanity was scurrying south, caution was flung to the winds, and little by little the chaos was permanently moving in." The music was an intentional callback to the wild energy of "Toys in the Attic," and it quickly became a live showstopper even though it was never a single.
Fourteen years before Steven Tyler wrote "Janie's Got a Gun," a song about a young girl that gets revenge on her sexually abusive father, the singer contributed the thematically-similar "Uncle Salty" to Toys in the Attic. It focuses more on the tragic aftermath of the abuse and how it led to a sad life of prostitution. "Now she's doing any for money and a penny," he sings. "A sailor with a penny or two or three/Hers is the cunning for men who come a-running." They haven't played it in concert since 2009.
Aerosmith didn't release "Nobody's Fault" as a single when it came out in 1976, and with "Back in the Saddle" and "Last Child" all over the radio nobody, but the true fans were talking about it. The band hasn't played it a single time since 2003. But there's a reason why everyone from Slash to James Hetfield to even Kurt Cobain cited it as as one of Aerosmith's finest tunes. The group has never sounded this heavy or mighty. This is Aerosmith at their absolute peak, before drugs and in-fighting started eating away at their core.
Aerosmith were still a young, struggling rock band in the winter of 1973 when Steven Tyler was holed up in a house he shared with drummer Joey Kramer in Needham, Massachusetts. Faced with a big tax bill he couldn't afford and bummed about the frigid weather, he headed into the basement and wrote a sad song. "I took a few Tuinals and a few Seconals," he said, "and I scooped up this guitar Joey gave me, this Dumpster guitar, and I lit some incense and wrote 'Seasons of Wither.'" The gorgeous ballad appears near the end of Get Your Wings, right after their cover of "Train Kept-A Rollin'." "Dream On" remains their most famous ballad (and one of the most famous ballads in rock history), but if radio had embraced "Seasons of Wither" back in the 1970s, it's easy to imagine it being equally beloved.