Few bands have lasted as long as Aerosmith, and fewer bands / artists have lasted as long with a minimal change in their musical sound. Sure, you can hear the difference in Aerosmith songs from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today, but they’ve still retained their credibility, their awesomeness — everything that makes them great.
Often referred to as the Greatest American Rock and Roll Band, and indeed — the best selling American rock and roll band of all time — Aerosmith formed in 1970 and have been providing our ears with bluesy, rootsy music with excellent riffs ever since (despite a short hiccup in the late 70s/early 80s following drug addiction and internal conflict which saw Perry and Whitford depart the band to later return in 1984).
My own journey with Aerosmith started in my late teens and is ongoing. I think Steven Tyler oozes absolute style in a totally uncaring and flamboyant manner and has one of the most versatile voices in rock history. And Joe Perry, possibly one of the sexiest men to ever walk the Earth (with no sign of aging badly), is quite obviously one of the greatest American guitarists of our time. I was lucky enough to catch them at Download Festival in 2010. Dancing in a binbag, mud up to my knees, it will remain one of my favourite ever moments in life. They ended the set with “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing”, and while yes — it’s arguably their most commercial song, ‘the one that everyone knows’, while it’s not my favourite, you’ve got to admit it’s a pretty fucking awesome tune! My friend and I had nipped up a few rows to see some other friends during the set and on the way back down, as the song started, lighters came out and everyone sang, we just stopped in our tracks and sang with them. It was an absolutely amazing moment and the best way to end the festival for me.
Instead of telling you lots of things you already know about Aerosmith, I’ll share my favourite songs with you. They say it best!
1 Cryin’ (1993)
I absolutely adore the chorus of Cryin’ — I think we can all appreciate the feelings behind the song, and the bluesy, dramatic post-chorus makes it all the more emotionally-charged. My favourite bit is where the music stops and we’re left with Tyler’s shriek on “dyiiiing”, followed by some excellent harmonica.
2 Young Lust (1989)
Bear with it. The beginning is a slightly slow starter, but once it gets going, it’s feet-movingly good. It’s all about, well, lust. The kind of song to dance around the house to, bashing pots and pans, hair all over the place. Just me? Oh…
3 Dream On (1973)
If you don’t know this, you should. Arguably a rock anthem. Tyler’s screeching, emotive vocals in this resonate right through you, and the melodic, mellow, building and dropping guitar and strings take you on a musical rollercoaster.
4 Janie’s Got a Gun (1989)
This tune shows that the band are beyond just rock — it’s a great tune that mixes very serious lyrics with an upbeat melody. This was one of the first songs I heard from Aerosmith — and will always be one of my go-to tunes.
5 Pink (1997)
This is such a cheeky little tune. Never fails to put a smile on my face — I just love the way Tyler sings it.
6 Angel (1987)
Probably my favourite Aerosmith song. “And the cryin’ that I do is for you, I want your love”, is my favourite part, as well as the opening emotion-packed intro. The way the song goes from a high, slow, heartfelt note into the “I want your love”, you can feel the emotion shift from longing to desire. Such a beautiful song that mixes a gorgeous tune with great use of strings with Tyler’s bluesy vocals.
7 Jaded (2001)
I love that Aerosmith can still fill me with a warm and fuzzy feeling with their later tunes. This tune is less bluesy, I feel, more modern, a little bit exotic, but still epitomises everything that is Aerosmith. Great sing-a-long track, too.
8 Rag Doll (1987)
Best played loud.
9 Sweet Emotion (1975)
This song instantly makes me think of Dazed and Confused, so, for your viewing pleasure, I’ll use the intro for this one. You want to go and watch it now, don’t you?
10 What It Takes
Again, one of Aerosmith’s more ballad-y, emotive songs. I love them. A track about a guy who wants to let the love of his life go but can’t. It’s one of those feelings and situations that Aerosmith can so perfectly encapsulate in their music. My favourite bit? “Tell me that your body doesn’t miss my touch, tell me that my lovin’ didn’t mean that much”. Awesome.
11 Big Ten Inch Record (1975)
This cover of Bull Moose Jackson’s innuendo is boppingly good! They manage to bring together the sound of the original mixed with their own rock n roll style into one gloriously cheeky tune.