After the massive success of their previous album, ‘Pump’, the band took a little break in 1992. They started recording the next album in January & February, but stopped for some rest and didn’t return until September of that year to finish up the album. The music environment had significantly changed since 1989’s ‘Pump’ so I believe everyone was curious as to what they would do. And it turns out, they would keep doing what they do best and didn’t change a thing. When most bands faded away around this time, Aerosmith ended up flourishing even more. How did they do it?
First thing was they brought back Bruce Fairbairn as their producer as he has been creating gold with everything they had done…or should I say Platinum since the last album went 7 x’s Platinum. Second, they brought in some friends to help out such as Don Henley and Lenny Kravitz. Third, the record company wanted them to continue using outside writers to help so back was Desmond Child, Jim Vallance, Jack Blades, Tommy Shaw, Richard Supa, Mark Hudson and Taylor Rhodes. Damn, that is a lot of help!!
The line-up was still unchanged with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer. The Boston Boys we ready to take on the world again. The album was released on April 23, 1993 and became the band’s first album to debut at #1 on the Charts. They released 7 singles on the album and selling over 7 million copies again in the U.S. It was the band’s third straight album of over 5 million in sales. If that wasn’t enough, the album won two Grammy’s for Best Rock Vocal Performance for a Duo or Group in both 1993 and 1994. The band was on fire still and the fans were eating it up.
We are now in 1994 and it has been almost 2 years since the band’s last studio album. At this point in the timeline, there is no work being done on a new album either. Kiss was in limbo to some degree. But the motors were turning and the band thought to celebrate their 20 years in music, they would do a Tribute album which would be performed by artist that were big at the time of 1994. Tribute albums were big in the early 90’s as there a ton, so this was not an original idea by the band. I believe they had run out of original ideas years earlier.
The band had over 100 bands that wanted to do songs including such acts as Sir Mix A Lot and Smashing Pumpkins. Hell, even Kurt Cobain and The Melvins did a song together, but sadly it came in too late to be included on the album. They had settled on 12 acts to perform 12 Kiss Klassics…sorry Classics. These song wouldn’t be straight up renditions as each band was allowed to do something different to the songs and make it special in their own way.
Before we get to the music, let us talk about the packaging a little. Now, if you notice the cover art, the make-up for Ace isn’t shown and that is because Kiss didn’t own Ace’s make-up design. At this time, Ace still owned it. The band didn’t get permission from the right people in time for the album’s release so that is why it is absent. Instead, you get Paul’s original design with the bandit style make-up on the little boy.
It is the first Friday of September and there is a long list of releases. Everyone starts putting out their new albums in the Fall and there are some big ones coming, but let us focus on today. The ones I am looking forward to are highlighted in Blue. Let me know what you want to listen to and which ones I might have missed on the list. Thanks and have a great music weekend!!
Alter Bridge – Live a the Royal Albert Hall (feat. the Parallax Orchestra) – (Napalm Records): I am surprised by another live record after last year’s release. That is ok. There are some different songs in the set list and a little orchestra along with it. I will give it a listen and then decide on buying.
Lenny Kravitz – Raise Vibration – (Roxie Records): I have always loved Lenny so this is a no brainer to stream. His last few have been so-so so again I will stream it before I buy it. Just so you know, I don’t always do that as I do have 4 or 5 albums on pre-order without hearing a lick. Only a few bands get that special treatment.
For this month’s version of The Original Vs. The Cover we tackle “American Woman” by The Guess Who vs Lenny Kravitz’s version. The song was originally released in 1969 by Canadian band The Guess Who. The song went to #1 and became such a popular song in the U.S. mainly because of it’s title.
That is strange because the song is not Pro-American, but it isn’t really Anti-American either. It is a small part Anti-War song (one line says “I don’t need your war machine”) and large part bashing of American women. Bashing is harsh, it was more like American women were too much for lyricist Burton Cummings. Here is what he said about the song to the Toronto Star back in 2014…
“It had nothing to do with politics. What was on my mind was that girls in the States seemed to get older quicker than our girls and that made them, well, dangerous. When I said ‘American woman, stay away from me,’ I really meant ‘Canadian woman, I prefer you.’ It was all a happy accident.”
The article goes on to describe how the song developed and it seems like it was by pure chance…