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.
After a very long tour in support of their album, “Get Your Wings”, the band was tight and playing better than ever. They were ready to jump back in the studio and bring producer Jack Douglas back with them. This time around though would be different. Their first two albums used up all the songs they had been playing for years. Aerosmith now had to write a whole album from scratch. As a result, they would create an album that was spawned from a new level of confidence with the band and a more polished understanding of how to write songs. The album they created, ‘Toys in the Attic’, would take the band to a whole new level of stardom. The album would go on to sell more than 8 million copies and be one of their most commercially successful albums of all time.
‘Toys in the Attic’ was released on April 8, 1975 and was recorded at the Record Plant in New York City from January to March of that year. It would go as high as #11 on the Billboard Charts and deliver not one, but two Top 40 hits with one going all the way to #10 as well. The success of this album also saw the band’s first two albums get a renewed interest and so they would re-release the single “Dream On” in from the debut seeing it go to #6 on the charts. Yes, ‘Toys in the Attic’, finally saw Aerosmith get what they had been working so hard for over the years. Fame, Fortune and Drugs…lots and lots of drugs.
The band was still the same old song and dance of members with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer. Everyone had at least one writing credit on the album except for Joey. Tyler had them on all of the songs except for the cover song they do. The band was on fire, but so were things behind the scenes, especially with the band members wives who didn’t all get along and would be a driving force behind a lot of the band’s battles and problems over the years…well that and drugs…did I mention drugs? These boys could not get enough of the stuff. That would soon become a problem, but not so much now.
For My Sunday Song #260 and the final in the 10 song set is “Round and Round” by Ratt. The song is the first single off the band’s 1984 classic album ‘Out of the Cellar’. It reached #12 on the Hot 100 propelling the album to #7 and sells over 3 million copies in the U.S. alone. It broke the band in to one of the biggest acts in the world and the top acts in that whole 80’s Rock scene. The song was written by Warren DeMartini, Robbin Crosby and Stephen Pearcy.
The song is about a girl that he is really in to and he wants to be with her. She isn’t willing to give it up yet, but he knows he will get there in the end. The two go round and round playing all the games until the end and they both get what they knew would happen right from the start.
What makes the song great are those sleazy vocals by Stephen Pearcy matched perfectly with the nasty guitar riffs by Crosby and DeMartini and the dual solo, man, don’t get me started on that. It is all pure metal sleaze! The song is heavy, yet catchy as hell. The chorus is infectious and musically it is aggressive and pure fun. You can’t help but move and the song gets stuck in your head and can’t escape. It would be the blueprint of what was to hit the scene on the Sunset Strip and MTV for years to come!
Speaking of MTV, what really put this song over the top for the band was the video they released. Their manager at the time was Marshall Berle. Marshall had a pretty famous uncle that you might have heard of named Milton Berle, the legendary comedian. With his famous Uncle Miltie character dressed in drag, he makes an appearance in the video which draws it national attention. This video sums up the 80’s nicely.
Finally, a collection of memes for the band Ratt. The world needs this, so I will deliver. Here are the best ones I could find as for some reason, with a name like “Ratt”, they don’t have a ton of memes that I could find. So, here is the best we can do. I hope you enjoy…
For most of 2018, I have been reviewing all the Ratt albums from the Ratt E.P. in 1983 all the way to 2010’s Infestation. It has been an enjoyable ride walking through the history of the band, all the ups and the downs, the good and the bad and loving every minute of it (wait that is Loverboy)…and loving watching the wax or cd spinning round and round (much better).
Ratt has been a love/hate relationship. While I love most of what they do, they don’t always deliver the goods and I tried to be as honest as I could be throughout the review processes. I believe I was brutal where I needed to be and kissed their ass when it deserved it as well. I hear they band is planning a new album in 2019 and when it comes I will review it in detail like the others and I will update this list and put it where it belongs among the classics or the crap.
You can go back and read each review in detail by just clicking on the album title. This ranking will be just a summary of the good and bad of each album. I hope you enjoy.
The hardest review of them all to write. I couldn’t connect to this album when it came out or even now. The production quality was horrible; Stephen’s vocals needed some cleanup and weren’t always up to par; the double guitar of Ratt of old was gone and so the songs were missing that punch; and overall it was just bad.
After the success of their self-titled E.P., Ratt signed a record deal with Atlantic Records and that deal brought us the incredible debut album ‘Out of the Cellar’. On March 27th, 1984, the album was released and thanks to MTV, the band became a huge sensation.
The band’s line-up was unchanged from the E.P, consisting of the following members:
Stephen Pearcy – vocals
Robin Crosby – lead guitar
Warren DeMartini – lead guitar
Juan Croucier – bass
Bobby Blotzer – drums
With the incredible dual guitar combo of Crosby & DeMartini and the bluesy, raspiness of Pearcy’s vocals, the band had an arsenal of great songs that took them to the pinnacle of rock and selling millions and millions of records. It also didn’t hurt that they looked the part which was crucial for the MTV world that was exploding on the scene at the time.
Take that and add a beautiful woman on the cover your album and there was denying this band. Tawny Kitaen graced the cover of the debut album as she was the then girlfriend of Robin Crosby. She also graced the cover of their E.P. but that was just her beautiful legs. This time, you got the whole package. For those that didn’t know, Tawny is the video vixen that was dancing on the pair of Jaguars in the Whitesnake videos in the late 80’s when she was dating David Coverdale.