Written By Jason Voorhees
So the last few weeks have saw us cover a few thrash metal giants. In this week's edition we will take a look back at one of the best hard rock bands of this generation. Truth be told, Aerosmith remains one of the most interesting bands of the era.
From their early days as the sleazy up and comers...to the band that led it's most successful 80's renaissance in comeback fashion. And then of course the in between version that saw a change in lineup transition. No matter what time period peaks your fancy, there is no doubt that their catalog offers a dynamic mixture of hard rock flavor.
Over the years the band has had it's share of ups and downs; while surviving various lineup changes; nonetheless overcoming these challenges with multiple improbable comebacks. Aerosmith's ability to rise above the darkness has ultimately made them one of America's greatest hard rock bands in history.
The band is a true testament of hard work and dedication. Aerosmith's influence is wide ranging as countless bands have idolized their style while attaining their own brand. Bands like Guns N Roses, Van Halen and Bon Jovi among others have idolized Aerosmith's sound and style as musical genres evolved.
So come with us as we take this ride on the time machine in Aerosmith's evolution. As always, we welcome this challenge as we chronicle the best of the best in their catalog. So without further ado...here is Aerosmith's Top Ten Albums from worst to first...
10. 'Night In The Ruts' (1979)
This is an album that probably could have been much better had the band not been so strung out on over-indulgence. Lead guitarist Joe Perry would leave the band halfway through it's recording. The band tried to return to it's roots but they unfortunately fell short. The album was leaner in both style and composition. While there were moments of greatness, the lack of execution was evident as record sales suffered. Tracks like 'No Surprize' and 'Three Mile Smile' were the toast of the town. Ultimately too much filler. Far from a terrible album but certainly not their best by any stretch of the imagination. Time to reset.
9. 'Done With Mirrors' (1985)
In what was billed as the band's great "comeback"...the album sadly fell short of those lofty expectations. While the record served as an anecdote for their chemical and personal dysfunctions, Aerosmith forgot one crucial ingredient...heart and soul. The album was definitely superior to it's most recent predecessors but still lacked the creativity that we have grown accustomed to over the years. The return of Joe Perry was certainly a positive while infusing that forgotten energy we had been missing. Ultimately a better album but not the top level effort that most expected. Its kind of like their meh album...nothing truly stood out...star power deprived.
8. 'Get A Grip' (1993)
'Get A Grip' was the commercial apex for Aerosmith. While the band had been written off by many; Steven Tyler and company dug down deep and the results were fabulous. In a world that was being taken over by grunge, it was these 70's stalwarts that stole the show. The album featured multiple smash hit ballads including "Crazy", "Amazing" and "Cryin" as well as the MTV megahit "Livin On The Edge." The band summoned Alicia Silverstone, an unknown actress at the time to play the lead role in the MTV videos and the album sales blew up. Although the album is driven by these popular hit singles it is also littered with hidden gems throughout. Definitely their most successful record!
7. 'Aerosmith' (1973)
The birthplace for Aerosmith took place within this inauspicious self titled debut. When the record first dropped it was merely window dressing. No one really took notice of the Zeppelin-Stones hybrid band besides the local natives of Boston. However; when the band released the prototype ballad single "Dream On" three years later, the album blew up. The song was written by lead vocalist Steven Tyler years before he even joined the band and became the staple song for the band for ever after. While the super ballad showed the softer side of the band, the track "Mama Kin" personified that raw edgy unfiltered sleaze that defines them. A giant before it was ever recognized as one.
6. 'Get Your Wings' (1974)
This was the debut for producer Jack Douglas and the hire paid instant dividends for the band. The band had matured both musically and lyrically. The album featured a more innate composition and was a vital leap forward. Probably their most consistent record from top to bottom. Standout tracks include "Same Old Song and Dance", "Lord of the Thighs" and "Train Kept A Rollin." Much like it's predecessor, this album was what you would call a "grower" as it became more popular years later. It may not belong atop with the classics but it certainly invoked that classic sound and style. Definitely a must own.
5. 'Permanent Vacation' (1987)
The successor to 'Done With Mirrors' finally gave the band the comeback splash they were looking for. They tapped songwriter Desmond Child and Holly Knight for some fresh ideas and the rest was history. An instant classic in the making, the album hit number #11 on the Billboard Top 200 while becoming a favorite for fans and critics alike. Stellar tracks like "Rag Doll", "Dude Looks Like A Lady" and "Angel" became radio mainstays. MTV also adopted the band into their daily rotation playlist and bam...Aerosmith was back on the map. A comeback for the ages. Very little filler as the record flat out rocked. Definitely one of the greatest comeback records in music history.
4. 'Draw The Line' (1977)
Who would have known that the album would mark the end of the line for the band as we know it. Before the lineup would splinter, they came together one last time in a former church convent to record this raucous rock and roll classic. This was a far cry from sainthood as the band channeled their down and dirty style to produce this raw unfiltered record. While most other bands zig Aerosmith decided to zag on this one as they experimented with mandolins, keyboards, banjos and other instruments with a mixture of jazz and punk. While most of the tracks kick ass, they really hit a grand slam on "Kings and Queens". This draws the line for the original classic lineup.
3. 'Rocks' (1976)
One of the most influential albums for hard rock and heavy metal bands for years to come. As popular as it became though, it surprisingly only yielded two top 40 hits. However; chart placement does not do the album justice its the ear test; which ultimately passes with flying colors. I call this the carbon copy of it's predecessor as you could probably call this Aerosmith's 1A record. Led by tracks like "Back In the Saddle" and "Last Child" the album salutes that classic Aerosmith sound and energy. It was a tad more raw while maintaining their patented attitude. This was the creative peak for the band one they would not recapture for a very long time.
2. 'Toys In The Attic' (1975)
We are going to catch a lot of heat for the albums placement here. There is no doubt that this was the album that truly catapulted Aerosmith to stardom. A masterpiece was created here as the band took their no nonsense live show to the studio for an epic arrival on the mainstream stage. As close to perfection as you can get on a breakthrough album. Multiple mega hits like "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion"; mixed with sleepers like the title track and "Adams Apple" invoke the hallmark epicenter for the band's coup de ta. Some of guitarist Joe Perry's best material is highlighted on this true giant. So close to the top but there's one that just beat it out...certainly a game of inches.
1. 'Pump' (1989)
This is the definitive album for Aerosmith. While 'Toys In The Attic' put them on the map, this one recaptured that magic while providing elite sound production and musical composition. There is little to no filler on this one folks...a return to greatness for the band and the fans couldn't be happier. High level songwriting is present from beginning to end. Although the album closely followed the glam metal formula for most of the record; they were still able to infuse the traditional vintage style that so unabashedly defined them as pioneers. In an almost conceptual kind of way, the record tells a story through songs like "Young Lust" and "What it Takes"...but the real fire was tracks like "Janie's Got A Gun' and 'Love In An Elevator' both which became MTV royalty. To be the best you have to beat the best...and this one does just that!
We certainly hope you enjoyed this week's edition. It's sure to spark some good debate on the show this Thursday. Speaking of which...please join Kevin and Johnny this week from 7PM-9PM as they count down your favorites of past and present!!! Also, we will be dropping a new episode podcast which will feature a courtroom album showdown between Kevin and Johnny...should be must listen radio folks!!!! Stay tuned as we will soon be releasing the show's title. It's gonna be a blast!!! And as we leave you...please enjoy this classic from Aerosmith!
Stories, news and reviews presented by the staff of Philly Rock Radio.