Back in 1984, Aerosmith left Columbia Records and signed with Geffen. The great thing for Columbia was that despite them leaving the label, the new deal with Geffen still allowed the release material as they still had control of the bands earlier work. They took full advantage of that by releasing ‘Classics Live!’ in 1986 and ‘Classics Live! II’ in 1987. Then the bands new found fame was with the song “Walk This Way” and their smash album ‘Permanent Vacation’, Columbia records didn’t miss another opportunity to capitalize on that success. This time around they went for another greatest hits compilation package called ‘Gems’ which was released on November 15, 1988.
The great thing about this greatest hits compilation is that there are no repeats from the band’s first Greatest Hits album from 1980. Columbia purposefully delivered a much heavier set of songs that were extremely popular with fans even though they might not have all been huge hits. They were “gems”. All but one song on the release are basically the album cuts so no real reason to buy except for one. The album contained the studio version of the song “Chip Away The Stone” which had never been released prior except as a live version on ‘Live! Bootleg’. That gave reason enough for the serious fan to grab hold of this release. It didn’t do that great, only going to #133 on the Billboard Album Chart, but it has since been certified Gold.
The first track, “Rats in the Cellar” (off ‘Rocks’), was Steven’s answer to the hit song “Toys in the Attic”. The song was frantic in pace and was pretty much about the disaster of the band that was going on behind the scenes with the drugs and arguing as well as it being inspired by the death of their drug dealer. The song is a total blast with its maddening quick tempo and then Kramer’s drumming was incredible on this one as well. You get a harmonica solo and a full on jam section. It is the closest thing to heavy metal you are going to get from the band.
Aerosmith was a mess by this point in time. The drug use was out of control and during a show in Portland, Maine, Steven Tyler collapsed on stage. Even if that didn’t make matters worse, Steven was later in a really bad motorcycle accident that left him hospitalized for two months. It was a scary time and they needed a break. One way to do that was for the record label to release a greatest hits compilation which they did and on November 11, 1980, the ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation was released.
The album didn’t do that well as it only charted at #43. However, over the years it grew in popularity and has wound up being one of their biggest selling albums of all times with sales well over 11 million which would certify it as Diamond. Hell, I’ve bought it twice at least.
The track list was short at only 10 songs, but they are 10 great Aerosmith classics. While some songs are straight from the albums they were on, others have been edited. The album also included the Beatles cover of “Come Together” off the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Soundtrack. Now, they have reissued the album with a bunch more tracks, but we are sticking with the original track listing. Now, my version is the CD version of it for some reason as I could’ve sworn I had a vinyl of this, but apparently not.
By this time in the Kiss World, things are kind of boring. There are no more studio albums and doesn’t look like there will ever be. The band is touring regularly meaning they are basically doing Summer Tours with another Big Named Band. And for their 40th, that Big Name Band was none other than Def Leppard…yes, I saw that show and Leppard was freaking fantastic and Kiss was good. But it was still exciting because the band was celebrating their 40th Anniversary (which was really 2013 if I’m not mistaken)…regardless, it was time for the band to release another Greatest Hits Compilation…yes…just what we needed!! That is supposed to be very sarcastic so if you could read as such, that would be great!!
They did make this compilation a little interesting. Being the 40th Anniversary, they picked one song…and I mean only 1 song…from each and every album release they have had over the years. That means, that picked a song from all studio albums, including the solo albums, they picked one from every live album and every greatest hits package and every box set. How many bands can say when they pick one song from every release they can have 40 songs…probably none. And actually they couldn’t either. There were 4 extra songs added to get to the 40 and we will talk about that later.
Not every song was the album version though. They did throw in some Single Mixes such as “I Was Made for Loving You” from Dynasty, Radio Edits like “Jungle” from Carnival of Souls, an edited version of “Shout It Out Loud” from Alive II and an edited version of “Psycho Circus’ from Psycho Circus that had the beginning instrumental piece edited out. They weren’t all the cookie cutter songs straight off the release.
For this version of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to discuss a Beatle’s Song, “Come Together”. I have always been nervous about talking about the Beatles because it is holy ground and plus what hasn’t already been said about them. However, I love this song and there are some great versions out there and I thought it was about time I did something on them. So we are going to compare the two versions of “Come Together”, the Beatles and Aerosmith. Two heavy weights in the music world.
“Come Together” came about because Timothy Leary wanted Lennon to write a campaign song for him off this phrase, but Lennon was unsuccessful and a good thing to as Leary’s campaign run for California governor came to an abrupt end when he was arrested for pot possession (hell, he would be celebrated today). He might have been unsuccessful with the campaign song, but he did succeed with this version of the song.
An interesting story behind the song, Lennon was sued by Big Seven Music Group which was the publisher of Chuck Berry’s song “You Can’t Catch Me”. They argued that the song was too similar to the Berry song and I am guessing the lawsuit had some merit as the band settled out of court. Now there are no writing credits other than Lennon & McCartney on this song still today so it must have been all about the money up front. Too bad they didn’t fight for a writing credit.
Lifehouse has been around since 1999 when they were known as Blyss, but it was their debut album under the name Lifehouse in 2000 that made them stars. The album was ‘No Name Face’ and the song was “Hanging By a Moment” that brought them to my attention. They have quietly been releasing albums ever since and now have 7 studio albums.
I think part of my enjoyment of the band is due to Jude Cole. One of my all time favorite albums is by him called “A View From 3rd Street”. Jude has been producing and writing songs with them for most of their career (around 2005) and that has shown through in the maturity of the songs and albums.
They finally released a greatest hits compilation back on July 14th, 2017 and it was pretty good as it had 18 tracks. However, it was missing several songs that are better than some of the ones on the compilation. So I figured why don’t I do a deep dive and give you the non-singles I think are the best. I hope you enjoy. They are in no particular order except my #1 favorite song is the last one on the list!
It’s Friday!! And dang it has been hot! What is not hot is the lack of releases today. There are only 2 new ones I care about and 1 greatest hits package, other than that I don’t really see much I want to hear. The ones I want are highlighted in Blue.
12 Stones – Picture Perfect – (Cleopatra Records): After being absent for the last 5 years, 12 Stones bring us their 5th studio album. 12 Stones is a Christian Rock, Post-Grunge/Alternative band that started around 2000. Only two original members remain, but the new single “Picture Perfect” sounds promising. Give it a listen and then check them out.
Lifehouse – Greatest Hits: One of my favorite bands to come along since 2000 and can basically do no wrong in my book…or at least haven’t yet. If you aren’t familiar with them than there is no better way to learn about them than a greatest hits package. All the hits are there. They are a pop/rock band and I am sure you have heard one of their songs before. If you like, the albums will be better as you can dive into their deep cuts which is where they really shine. I didn’t know which video to pick so I ended up with this great duet with Natasha Bedingfield