For this round of The Original vs. The Cover, we are battling out with “Let the Music Do the Talking” which will pit The Joe Perry Project against Aerosmith. Wait, isn’t Joe Perry in both of those…why yes he is!! The Joe Perry Project released an album in March 1980 with this song as the lead off track and the name of the album. Aerosmith did it 5 years later as the lead off track as well on their 1985 album ‘Done with Mirrors’.
How did this song come about? Well, Joe Perry got in to a major fight with Steven Tyler and the band over their wives, plus drugs and other band issues. He left the band and immediately started work on an album. Columbia Records was real hesitant on giving him a deal with all the struggles he had with Aerosmith. But they did and this song just kind of came in to being. Joe had a lot to prove that he could make it on his own and he felt the music should do the talking for him rather than shooting off his own mouth. And he was right. When he rejoined Aerosmith, the band loved the song and wanted to cover it, so they did.
As we mentioned in the prior post on ‘Classics Live!’, the band Aerosmith had reunited with Brad Whitford and Joe Perry and went out on tour to celebrate the reunion. That tour was the Back in the Saddle Tour. The band had been on Columbia Records, but jumped ship and signed with Geffen Records in hopes of getting back in the good graces of the buying public. They planned out and released their comeback album ‘Done With Mirrors’ with little fanfare at least that was until they were on the Run DMC cover of their song “Walk This Way”. That combination of Hip Hop and Rock joining together and being celebrated so much on MTV brought them back in to the limelight.
This new found fame was great for Columbia Records because the bands new deal with Geffen still allowed Columbia to release material they owned of the band, which was a lot. Columbia took full advantage of this opportunity and the first release was a live compilation called ‘Classics Live!’ in April 1986. This time around in June 1987, a little over a year later, Columbia released ‘Classics Live! II’.
This time around the album is mostly one show which was the New Year’s Eve show at Orpheum Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts, December 31, 1984. It had all five original members back in action. There are two additional songs from other shows, but like the other songs, it is the full gang back together. Nice thing is there are no repeats songs from ‘Classics Live!’ and four of the song titles were not on ‘Live! Bootleg’. There are just 8 songs like before so it isn’t a full show. It is purely a money grab by Columbia, but as a collector, I don’t care. I’ll take it. Plus, it would be 11 years before we get another live album from the band which we will get to eventually.
Something big happened to the band on Valentine’s Day 1984. But at the time, they didn’t realize how big. While the band was playing a show at Boston’s Orpheum Theater, they received two special guests to see the show. It was former band mates Joe Perry and Brad Whitford. When the five original band members got in a room together, the magic started bubbling again. And by June 1984, the original band was reunited and were now out on the road for the Back in the Saddle Tour which would keep them busy until January 1985. One big thing that helped was that Perry was now divorced from his wife who the band and all their wives hated. And she wasn’t a great influence on Joe either. However, the drug problems were not gone.
After the tour, it was time for the big Comeback album. Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer…the boys were back together. They were now on a new label, Geffen, and the incredible producer, Ted Templeman was brought in to be behind the boards. This was supposed to be the album that brought Aerosmith back to the top, however, that didn’t happen.
Templeman was going for a rough and raw sound like the days of old for the band. He wanted to capture that tough, live sounding magic that they had on their earlier albums. He felt that was the sound everyone loved. A trick he used with the band was removing the “red light” in the studio that indicated the band was recording. He did this so the band wouldn’t get all stressed out when the light went. He wanted them loose and relaxed as he felt that would get the best sound. Hell, it worked for Van Halen. The problem was twofold, the band was still doing drugs and Ted was working in a studio he wasn’t familiar with so he never captured the sound he wanted. In fact, the band hates this album for that reason, especially Joey Kramer who thinks his drum sound sucks. And maybe it does. But this was my gateway in to the band. My first Aerosmith album I ever bought and as I result, I kinda like this one.
This is the first in a new monthly series I am going to do called “My First Time”. It is not as dirty as you think. It is not about my first time doing certain things. The series will be about the FIRST album I bought from an artist that really got me into the band. See, not dirty like you thought.
I was out at the record store a few weeks back and came across the vinyl for Aerosmith’s 1985 album ‘Done With Mirrors’ and remembered that this was the FIRST album I bought for the band, so of course I snatched the vinyl up and it only cost me $6. I had the cassette years ago, but all my cassettes are now long gone.
I obviously knew of Aerosmith because my brothers listened to them when they were growing up and I remember seeing their vinyl albums lying around. I remember hearing “Sweet Emotion”, “Dream On” and even listened to the album “Toys In the Attic”, but I wasn’t a true fan. That didn’t come until the mid-80’s after I bought this album.
I was watching MTV one evening and they played the video for “Let the Music Do The Talking” and I actually fell in love with that song instantly. The next chance I had to make it to the record store, I picked a copy of the album on cassette. Little did I know at the time that the song was actually a remake of the same song Joe Perry did with his solo band The Joe Perry Project.