Aerosmith


Aerosmith
▪ 2002

      The year 2001 was one of the highest peaks in the roller-coaster career of hard-rock survivors Aerosmith; the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and enjoyed the runaway success of its first self-produced album, Just Push Play. Overcoming the legendary excess that had brought its career to a screeching halt in the early 1980s, Aerosmith returned with even greater popularity than it had enjoyed as one of the biggest arena rockers of the '70s. In the process the group passed the 50-million mark in album sales to become the 10th best-selling act in recording history.

      Aerosmith was formed in 1970 in New Hampshire by vocalist-drummer-harmonicist Steven Tyler (born Steven Tallarico on March 26, 1948, in New York City), guitar wizard Joe Perry (born Sept. 10, 1950, in Boston), and bassist Tom Hamilton (born Dec. 31, 1951, in Colorado Springs, Colo.). After the addition of guitarist Brad Whitford (born Feb. 23, 1952, in Winchester, Mass.) and drummer Joey Kramer (born June 21, 1950, in New York City), Tyler became a full-time front man. Relocating to Boston, Aerosmith honed its mixture of blues-based heavy metal and Rolling Stones-styled rock before signing with Columbia Records in 1972.

      Touring nearly nonstop in support of its first two albums, Aerosmith (1973) and Get Your Wings (1974), the band won an enthusiastic following before releasing the multimillion-selling Toys in the Attic (1975)—featuring “Walk This Way” and “Sweet Emotion”—and Rocks (1976). The band's rerelease of “Dream On” in 1976 also became a huge hit, one of rock's first power ballads. In leotards and flowing scarves, Tyler, who resembled the Stones' Mick Jagger, exuded sex both in the band's raucous live shows and in the clever, libidinous lyrics that earned him the nickname the “Shakespeare of the salacious.” The group's sex-and-drugs lifestyle took a heavy toll, however; alcohol, cocaine, and barbiturate abuse—and ultimately the heroin addiction of the “toxic twins” (Tyler and Perry)—resulted in rapidly declining creativity and erratic live shows. Perry went solo in 1979, following the release of the uninspired Night in Ruts, and Whitford followed. The band pushed on with new guitarists, but by the time Rock in a Hard Place (1982) appeared, Tyler was passing out onstage.

      In 1984, however, the original members regrouped, and in 1986 Perry and Tyler guested on Run DMC's hip-hop remake of “Walk This Way.” Soon after, the band committed to sobriety. As daily workouts replaced all-night parties, Aerosmith found a new generation of fans on MTV with a series of suggestive music videos, charting singles, and hit albums. Hit songs included “Dude (Looks like a Lady)” from Permanent Vacation (1987), “Janie's Got a Gun” from Pump (1989), and “Cryin'” from Get a Grip (1994); the latter album, like the follow-up Nine Lives (1997), reached number one. The group garnered Grammy Awards in 1990, 1993, and 1994.

Jeff Wallenfeldt

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▪ American rock group
      American heavy metal band. One of the biggest arena-rock attractions of the late 1970s, Aerosmith became even more popular with its career revival in the mid-1980s. Principal members were lead singer Steven Tyler (byname of Steven Tallarico; b. March 26, 1948, New York, New York, U.S.), lead guitarist Joe Perry (b. September 10, 1950, Boston, Massachusetts), guitarist Brad Whitford (b. February 23, 1952, Winchester, Massachusetts), bassist Tom Hamilton (b. December 31, 1951, Colorado Springs, Colorado), and drummer Joey Kramer (b. June 21, 1950, New York).

      Formed in 1970, the Boston-based band played bluesy, swaggering rock most reminiscent of the Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones, the). (Indeed, vocalist Tyler—the band's driving force, along with guitarist Perry—resembled Mick Jagger.) Their later work also incorporated country music influences. Toys in the Attic (1975) and Rocks (1976) were multimillion sellers, but substance abuse and a dearth of creativity led to a period of inactivity for the band in the early 1980s. In 1986, two years after the return of Perry (who had left the band in 1979), Aerosmith returned to the limelight when Run-D.M.C. made a rap version of the band's 1975 hit "Walk This Way." Converted to sobriety, Aerosmith produced the multiplatinum-selling albums Permanent Vacation (1987) and Pump (1989). The latter featured the Grammy-winning "Janie's Got a Gun," and it marked a return to the hard rock success of Toys in the Attic. The band followed with Get a Grip (1993), an album that generated a pair of Grammys for the singles "Livin' on the Edge" and "Crazy." During this time, Aerosmith was a constant presence on MTV, and the group won numerous music video awards. The band's next release, Nine Lives (1997), reached the top of the Billboard 200 chart, and the single "Pink" garnered a Grammy. Later albums include Just Push Play (2001) and the blues tribute Honkin' on Bobo (2004). In 2008 the band starred in the console video game Guitar Hero Aerosmith, in which players could perform some of the group's greatest hits in a variety of virtual settings. In 2001 Aerosmith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Universalium. 2010.

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