Aerosmith…one of the greatest American Rock & Roll Bands. From the early 70’s the band has delivered, solid, good time, bluesy rock & roll. With 15 Studio albums, numerous live albums and compilations, they are a beloved American Icon. From the rough and raw days of the early Boston Bar band to the well-polished Stadium filled rock & roll band, they are as American apple pie.
Now the band has had issues, but for a majority of the career it has been Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer. Yes, some members went away for awhile, but the magic was always these five original guys. Alone, they are not the same…together they are magic. To celebrate this band, I went through all the albums in my collection (which was around 28 posts) and now we are going to rank their studio albums from Worst to First. So sit back, relax and get ready to be rocked like only Aerosmith can do it.
THE WORST – ‘MUSIC FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION (2012):
This album is so bloated with 16 tracks and at around 68 minutes and that is before the 3 bonus tracks on the 2nd disc which we will get to soon. First off, yes, the packaging is better than the album. The album does nothing for me but reinforce how tired I am of anything of Aerosmith’s past ‘Done With Mirrors’. This series has reenforced that for me…big time. Although I could pull out ‘Honkin’ on Bobo’. The album is too much of everything and not enough of Aerosmith if that makes sense. If this ends up being the last studio album, it is a shame. My Overall Score is 2.0 out of 5.0 Stars. I didn’t enjoy this one and it didn’t get better with each listen. Sorry.
We are to the final single that I have for the ‘Permanent Vacation’ album and I am sure you will be happy to get back to the normal reviews as it has been 4 weeks of this album. The final single if for the song “Rag Doll”. The song was written by Joe Perry, Steven Tyler and Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams) as well as Holly Knight (Kiss). Tyler was furious that Holly got a writing credit because he says all she contributed to the song was changing the name from “Rag Time” to “Rag Doll”. One word got her a writing credit and it didn’t sit well.
“Rag Doll” went to #17 on the Top 40 Chart which continued to push the album to multi-platinum status…5 X’s platinum. The single was released on May 3, 1988 and my version is the standard U.S. version. The B-Side is “St. John” and both songs are the basic, standard LP version. No new mixes here.
The next single from the Permanent Vacation album we will discuss is the third single from the album, “Angel”. Again, we have another Promotional copy of the single which means “Angel” is the only song on each side. The song was written by Steven Tyler and Desmond Child and is one of the band’s biggest hits up to that time going all the way to #3 on the Billboard Charts.
Tyler feels this song was a big sell-out for the band he hated for Record Executive, John Kalodner, for forcing outside writers in to the band. Tyler felt the ballad made him look like he lost all his street cred. However, I am sure his bank account would disagree. And if you look at the next couple Aerosmith albums, there a few more ballads in the mix. It helped revitalize their career so it wasn’t all bad.
We have a little break here from the album reviews in the Aerosmith Collection Series. As it turns out, I have 4 singles from ‘Permanent Vacation’ and we are going to go through those over the next few weeks. First up is the second single from the album “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” and this one is a two for the price of one treat as I have both a 7″ Single and a 12″ Maxi-Single of the song. Since I don’t want to completely bore you to tears with two separate posts on the same song, I decided to them both together in one giant treat.
7″ Promo Single:
First up we will tackle the 7″ Single. My version is the the Promo Copy of the song so the A-Side and B-Side are the same song. Since this is 1987, both versions are the stereo version and not one of them being a Mono like in the earlier years. The song was released as a single on September 22, 1987 and did really well for the band. It brought them back to the mainstream after years of filling up the discount rack. The song went to #12 on the Billboard Top 40 and was a regular on MTV.
The song started out as a song called “Cruisin’ for a Lady”, but thanks to help from co-write Desmond Child, we got “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”. The song is about a man that goes in to a strip club and falls for one of the dancers. They go back stage and she whips out her gun and is actually a man. The song inspiration actually came from the band seeing this blonde beauty at the far end of a bar and it turning out to be Vince Neil from Motley Crue.
The band was in trouble after ‘Done With Mirrors’. What was supposed to be their comeback album, flopped big time. The drugs were still a big problem. So the band had to make a huge change…and they did. They got sober! ‘Permanent Vacation’ is the first album the band has ever made that they were sober…no drugs, no drinking…clean and sober. And people reacted to that in a big way. Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer had a lot to prove and they couldn’t do it alone.
The studio that the first batch of help should come from a great producer. At the helm this time around was Bruce Fairbairn and his amazing engineering staff of Mike Fraser and Bob Rock which is one of the most impressive crew behind the boards every in music history. Heck, Bruce even played trumpet, cello and sang background vocals while Mike Fraser played something called a plunger mute. Huh??? Well, that is a trumpet with an attachment on the front that mutes the sound a little. I don’t see where Bob is credited with anything other than masterful engineering. The recorded at the very famous Little Mountain Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. If you saw my interview with Paul Laine we talked about that studio a lot.
The second row of help came from some song doctors, however, this was one big area of contention with the band. They were forced to work with outside writers much in the way Cheap Trick had to with ‘Lap of Luxury’ that we discussed earlier this week. The biggest contribution came from Desmond Child who co-wrote 3 of the tracks, 2 of which were massive singles for the band. They also had help from Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams writing partner) and Holly Knight (Kiss and Cheap Trick).
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.