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.
The band waited two years to record their follow-up to the George Martin produced album, ‘All Shook Up’. During that time, their record label, CBS, sued the band for a whopping $10 million alleging the band was holding out recording a new album to get a better deal. By 1982, the lawsuit was settled and the band started working on their sixth studio album, ‘One on One’.
The band had a new bass player after original member, Tom Petersson left back in 1980. His name was Pete Comita. Well, Pete didn’t last long and was replaced rather quickly during the early recordings of the album. In fact, he doesn’t appear on any of the album. They replaced him with bass player, Jon Brant. Jon came in so late, he is only on three of the songs. Guitarist, Rick Nielsen picked up the slack and played bass on all the other tracks. And the other two members, Robin Zander and Bun E. Carlos were still able to their jobs and quite well.
One thing I found interesting about the album is the cover. You have a new member and yet if you look at the cover, his face is obscured unlike anyone else’s faces. I think this was done on purpose because hadn’t been in the band very long and didn’t contribute much to the album.
Drugs…wives…tension. Those three things were all starting to boil over with Aerosmith during the recording of the band’s sixth studio album, ‘Night in the Ruts’. What is a night in the ruts anyway? Actually, it is a play on words for “Right in the Nuts”. Pretty funny actually. But wasn’t funny was the drug use was immense at this point. The band could barely function. Steven wasn’t writing lyrics, Joe owed the band money for his room service bills and he hadn’t been in the studio for months, longtime producer Jack Douglas was fired and Gary Lyons was brought in to produce, and the album was taking forever to finish. The band’s relationship with their label was strained as well. At this point, the band was completely and utterly out of control.
The album was taking so long, the band was forced to go out on the road and that was not a good place for them to be. More drugs meant horrible shows. Horrible shows meant more tension. More tension bled over in to the wives starting to fight and things got really ugly in Cleveland, OH on July 28, 1979 when Joe Perry’s wife through milk at Tom Hamilton’s wife. The band I believe already hated Joe’s wife so after the show, Steven and Joe got in to a nasty altercation and by the end, Joe Perry was no longer in the band. He was done and he was out!
Well, that didn’t bode well as the album wasn’t even finished. The band brought in Richie Supa to help on the guitars as well as Jimmy Crespo to finish others. Jimmy was the one that stayed and toured with the band until 1984. The album finally was finished and released on November 16th, 1979. It didn’t do well at all. It did got to #14 on the Billboard Charts but barely went gold. They had one single, “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” which didn’t even break the Top 40 landing at #67.
The band had been recording / touring and recording / touring non-stop for years now and it was taking its toll. The drug use was rampant as Tyler and Perry became known as the “Toxic Twins” if that gives you any indication of the toxicity of their drug use and relationship. The record company and management felt the band needed a break so they decided to put out a live album. I believe the record company wanted a clean, studio overdubbed album like every other band was doing at the time, but the band wanted it to sound real and raw.
Luckily for us, the band won out and we got a rough and raw record that was more representative of how the band really sounds live. They even took it a step further and made the album cover look cheap and dirty like a real bootleg album would look. You have coffee rings on the back cover and everything looks stamped and very unprofessional. One great thing about bootlegs are they are usually riddle with mistakes so the band purposely left the song “Draw the Line” off the setlist although it is really after the song “Mother Popcorn”. They were meticulous to make it look like a real bootleg. And to go even further with the bootleg theme, they recorded a couple songs on to a cassette and used that version so you get a slight hiss like a cassette usually has. I love the authenticity they were shooting for on this record.
The band pieced together songs from numerous shows over 1977 and 1978. They also threw in 2 songs from a radio broadcast from 1973 and those songs are obvious as they don’t sound anything like the other tracks and it does disrupt the live feel they established over the rest of the album, but we will get to that later. The album includes the same ol’ crew of Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer but that would soon come to an end…more on that with the next review.
The 70’s were a huge decade for Cheap Trick. In just three short years, we were blessed with four studio albums and one of the greatest live albums of all time with ‘Cheap Trick at Budokan’. Not a bad run. Now we are in to the 80’s and this album was sort of a way to end the 70’s with a nice little bonus. The four-song E.P. was released on 10″ Vinyl and was part of Epic Records series called Nu-Disk, but that series was rather short-lived and I don’t know if I’ve found another album from that series.
If I remember correctly, it was believed that some of the songs on here were from a Cheap Trick album that was canned and never released, especially when more songs from this time frame were released as bonus tracks on other releases/compilations down the road. I believe there were 7 other tracks with all but 1 being released. However, I don’t think that was ever confirmed or denied. Most likely, they were working on an album and decided to shift gears in to a new direction which then became the album ‘All Shook Up’ which we will get to next time.
The album was released on June 2, 1980 and contained four tracks. Side 1 were both live songs (cough, cough, sort of) and side 2 were brand new studio tracks (thus the rumors mentioned above). I don’t see any chart information on them so not sure how well the E.P. did, but doesn’t matter to me as I love finding this kind of stuff.
Drugs…Addict…What do these words describe? It is simple. They describe Aerosmith! Rock band certainly doesn’t describe them because at this point, drugs were way more important than being musicians as that was what they spent most of their time doing..drugs!
As a result of this massive drug problem, their manager, David Krebs, thought he needed to get them away from the drugs so he shipped the band to an old Convent in Armonk, New York. But what David didn’t take in to account that drug dealers are basically Grubhub, especially if your names are Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. Place an order and they will deliver and that they did…in droves. So much so that Tyler and Perry were less involved in this album than any other. But it did give the rest of the band, Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer more say in to what was going on with the album.
Producer, Jack Douglas, was back and did the best he could. The music is pretty straight-forward blues rock & roll and far less fancy stuff than prior albums. Heck, he was lucky to even finish recording the album with everyone still alive. The album took forever as they worked on it from June to October of 1977 as Joe and Steven were so drugged up all the time that they could only record in little increments of time. The album finally saw its release on December 9, 1977 and although the album did sell over 2 million copies (by 1996) and went to #11 on the Billboard Charts, it is still perceived as a lesser album than the prior two. It is also believed to be the beginning of the end as the tensions and drug use would eventually reach a breaking point.
The band had their break-through album with ‘Toys in the Attic’, then their fourt album, ‘Rocks”, would solidify them as one of America’s greatest rock & roll bands. The album would see the band go a little more raw and heavy as the band really let it loose with this one. They recorded the album at the “Wherehouse” which was the band’s rehearsal space where they took the Record Plant’s mobile recording studio and backed it right in to the space and did their thing. Producer, Jack Douglas, was able to get the band loose and wild, which I am sure the heavy usage of drugs helped. Despite all the drugs being used, the band was clicking and the end result fits the album title perfectly because the band ‘Rocks’.
The album came out on May 14, 1976 and would spawn three singles, two of which hit the Top 40 and would eventually go on to sell over 4 million copies in the U.S. (but not all in the year of release of course). The album would go all the way to #3 on the Billboard Charts and would inspire so many future musicians such as Kurt Cobain, James Hetfield, Nikki Sixx and even Slash all citing this as a major influence in their decision to pursue music. Heck for the longest time, ‘Toys in the Attic’ was always my favorite…now, it is ‘Rocks’! The band was still unchanged with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer and for this album they were a true band, a single unit and were on fire…but not sure how long that would last.
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.
After the debut album being a dud and all the touring, the band wasted no time going in to the studio for their second album, ‘Get Your Wing’. This time around at the boards was famed producer Jack Douglas who was introduced to the band by the one and only Bob Ezrin, who the label wanted to produce the album. Jack worked out well and would go on to have a long relationship with the band and deliver some of their best albums.
The band had extensive preproduction work and extensive rehearsals, the band entered the studio The Record Plant in New York City on December 17, 1973 and by January 14, 1974, they were done. The album would come out on March 15, 1974 and would go only to #74 on the Billboard Charts. All 3 singles flopped and not one of them charted. If they thought the first album was a dud, this one didn’t fare any better. But don’t feel bad, once the band broke, this album has since sold over 3 million copies and is certified Triple Platinum. It all worked out in the end.
But what makes this album successful on its own is that the band found their voice. They found their sound and they would find rock stardom. Bandmates Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer found themselves and were set to take over the world…okay, that is a little dramatic, but you know what I mean.
Welcome to another new series on 2 Loud 2 Old Music. Last week, we started the Cheap Trick Collection Series and this week we kick of the Aerosmith Collection Series. As a reminder, the Collection Series is simply all the albums by the band I have in my collection. I will stick to chronological order as best I can, but if I pick up something new after I’ve passed that part of the band’s timeline, I will put it in as fast as I can. I hope you enjoy it and why don’t we get started.
Aerosmith was formed back in 1970, but prior to their formation, you had Steven Tyler in his bands either Strangeurs or Chain Reaction playing gigs most Summers up in Sunapee, New Hampshire. While playing there, he saw future bandmates Joe Perry and Tom Hamilton’s band play called the Jam Band and thought he would love to play in that band. In 1969, the Jam Band moved to Boston where they met Joey Kramer and he joined their band. Well, Joey knew Stephen and had always wanted to be in a band with Steven so they got in to contact and Aerosmith was born. A second guitarist was added by the name of Ray Tabano and the band was complete. This was late 1970. Shortly there after, Tabano was replaced and on came Brad Whitford as the second guitarist and the classic Aerosmith line-up was not complete. They jammed together and played gigs constantly around Boston and signed a record deal in Mid-1972 and the rest was history.
The band all lived together in a house at 1325 Commonwealth Avenue and one thing very interesting about the band in these early years is that they were already deep and heavy in to drugs. From what I’ve seen with a lot of other bands, it would happen more so after they were successful, but not Aerosmith. After one of their drug filled afternoons watching The Three Stooges, the band held a meeting to come up with the name as they were no longer going to be called The Jam Band. Well, that is all thanks for Joey Kramer. He had the name written over and over again on a notebook which was inspired from a Harry Nilsson album called Aerial Ballet. Yes, that is a very simplified version of the start because if you’ve read the Aerosmith biography, you know they spent a huge chunk of time on the band’s formation and we don’t have that kind of time here, plus we are really here to let the music do the talking, are we not.