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.
After ‘Done With Mirrors’, the band was not in a good place with fans, the label and themselves. The drugs use was real bad and it was time to sober up. First Steven got sober and then the rest of the band did and by 1986 they were ready for the next big thing. They needed a break. Something to get them back in the public eye. And it came in the most unexpected way.
The big break for Aerosmith came about because of Rick Rubin. Rick was working with Run DMC on their 1986 hit album, “Raising Hell”. Rick pulled out ‘Toys in the Attic’ and told Run DMC they should cover ‘Walk This Way’. Not a crazy thought as the band had free-styled over part of the song in their live shows anyway. They weren’t too keen on the idea at first, but Jam Master Jay was digging it.
But Run DMC wasn’t going to just sample the album. Why not get the band to come in and play and sing. So, a few calls were made, the band was convinced and Joe Perry and Steven Tyler went in to the studio to help out on the song. Joe played that famous riff and Steven sang the chorus and they even changed one line from “Give me a Kiss” to “Give me Head”…okay! Not what I was expecting.
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.
I came across this 12″ Single in someone’s collection I was buying and I knew I had to have it. I am rocker at heart, but this hip hop version of a classic Aerosmith song is quite groundbreaking and I knew I needed it in my collection. Mainly, because it adds to my Aerosmith collection as I don’t really have a Run DMC collection (until now I guess).
“Walk This Way” was released back in 1975 (and re-released in 1976) and reached #10 on the Billboard charts. The song is off the band’s album “Toys in the Attic” (great album by the way, but that is for another day) and it is that producer Rick Rubin pulled out and played for Run DMC while they were recording their album “Raising Hell” back in 1986. The band had sampled the song before, but didn’t know the song. Rick suggested the band cover the song, but the band was not too keen on the idea except for Jam Master Jay.
The band recorded the song and even were able to get Steven Tyler to sing and Joe Perry to actually play on the track. I said earlier it was a groundbreaking song and that was because it was really the first big hip hop & rock collaboration that crossed-over into the hip hop world and to the rock & pop world. The song helped take hip hop and rap mainstream.