The Rock Band is here to stay

For over three decades, Aerosmith have been one of rock’s most
revered and popular bands, crafting classic songs full of raw
guitar runs and intensely energetic vocals. The band first
reached fame in the 1970’s with a string of hits including
“Dream On,” “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk This Way.” During this
period, Aerosmith’s music defied easy categorization, falling
somewhere between hard rock/blues and early punk, with
occasional power ballads here and there. The band enjoyed major
popularity throughout the 1970’s, but a split from 1979-84, and
the serious substance abuse and drug addictions that contributed
to their decline, would nearly relegate them to the annals of
history. However, in 1984, Aerosmith was born again. They went
on to enjoy resurgence in popularity that has made them one of
the top-selling and most popular rock bands in the world today.

Throughout their rough and rocky history, Aerosmith defied
failure and even defied mediocrity in a fast-paced rock-and-roll
world abundant in tragedy and also-rans. Aerosmith signed with
Columbia in 1972 and debuted their first album simply titled
Aerosmith, which included a hit single, “Dream On”. After
constant touring, the band released Get Your Wings in 1974,
which did quite well on the charts, but it was Toys in the Attic
in 1975 that established Aerosmith as international superstars.
Originally pegged as Rolling Stones clones, Toys in the Attic
showed that Aerosmith was a unique and original talent in their
own right. Part heavy metal, part glam rock, and part punk, Toys
in the Attic was an immense success, starting with the single
“Sweet Emotion”, then a successful re-release of “Dream On”, and
a new song from the album, “Walk This Way”. Both of the band’s
previous albums re-charted as a result. Aerosmith’s next album,
Rocks, went platinum swiftly and featured two hits, “Back in the
Saddle” and “Last Child”.

Their next album, Draw the Line, was not nearly as successful,
though the title track proved to be a minor hit. While
continuing to tour and record into the late 1970’s, Aerosmith
acted in the movie version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club
Band, covering the Beatles hit “Come Together.” As their
popularity waned and drug abuse began affecting their output,
Joe Perry left the band in 1979 during the recording of their
sixth studio album Night in the Ruts and formed The Joe Perry
Project. Perry’s role in Aerosmith was initially taken by
longtime friend and songwriter Richie Supa and then later by
guitarist Jimmy Crespo who recorded the remainder of the album.

Aerosmith released its mammoth-selling Greatest Hits album in
1980, and in 1981 the band suffered another loss with the
departure of Brad Whitford. Rick Dufay replaced Whitford and the
band recorded their seventh album, Rock in a Hard Place. The
album was considered a relative failure. The tour that followed
this release is notable for Steven Tyler’s collapse onstage
during a 1983 performance.

On Valentine’s Day 1984, Perry and Whitford went to see
Aerosmith play. They officially rejoined the ranks of Aerosmith
once more in April of that year. Steven Tyler recalls, “You
should have felt the buzz the moment all five of us got together
in the same room for the first time again. We all started
laughing – it was like the five years had never passed. We knew
we’d made the right move.”

Aerosmith embarked on a lucrative reunion tour entitled “Back in
the Saddle”, which produced the live album Classics Live II.
Their problems were still not behind them when the group signed
with Geffen Records and began working on a comeback.

1985 saw the release of Done with Mirrors, their first studio
album since the highly publicized reunion. It fared relatively
well commercially, but it did not produce a hit single or
generate much hope for their comeback. By the time the record
was released, Tyler and Perry had exited drug rehabilitation.
The group appeared on Run D.M.C.’s incredibly successful cover
of “Walk This Way”, blending rock and roll and hip-hop and
successfully beginning Aerosmith’s comeback. The group’s next
release was Permanent Vacation (1987), which included the hits
“Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”, “Rag Doll”, and “Angel”. Their next
album, Pump, was received even better; Pump featured four Top
Ten singles: “Janie’s Got a Gun”, “What It Takes”, “Love in an
Elevator”, and “The Other Side”. Aerosmith was definitely in the
midst of a major resurgence.

Despite significant shifts in mainstream music at the beginning
of the 1990’s, the band’s 1993 follow-up to Pump, Get a Grip,
was just as successful commercially. Though many critics were
unimpressed by the focus on power-ballads in promoting the
album, three songs (“Cryin’ “, “Crazy” and “Amazing”) proved to
be huge successes on radio and MTV. The music videos featured
then fresh up-and-coming actress Alicia Silverstone; her
provocative performances earned her the title of “the Aerosmith
chick” for half a decade. Steven Tyler’s daughter, Liv Tyler,
was also featured in the “Crazy” video. Aerosmith signed with
Columbia Records again in the early 1990’s, but they had to
complete two contractual albums for Geffen before recording for
the new label.

The next album, Nine Lives, was plagued with personnel problems,
including the firing of manager Tim Collins. Reviews were
generally mixed, and Nine Lives initially fell on charts,
although it had a long chart life and sold double platinum in
the US alone. It was followed by a series of late ’90’s
releases, mostly earlier material that was live or
retrospective. The albums sold relatively well, but also marked
a second decline in popularity and critical respect for the band.

Aerosmith’s biggest hit of the ’90’s, and its only #1 single to
date, was the love theme from the film Armageddon, “I Don’t Want
to Miss a Thing”. This song was conceived by Joe Perry and Diane
Warren, although Warren alone received songwriting credit.
Steven Tyler’s daughter Liv was featured in the movie. In 1999,
they were in the Disney-MGM Studios ride (and later in the Walt
Disney Studios Park ride), Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Aerosmith
provided the soundtrack and theme for the ride, which is based
on their recording session and following concert.

The band started its next decade with the release in 2001 of
Just Push Play, which charted well. They were also inducted into
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Later that year, the band
appeared as part of the United We Stand concert in Washington
D.C. for 9/11 victims and their families. Stubbornly, the band
flew back to Indianapolis for a show the same night, refusing to
interrupt their Just Push Play tour schedule.

In 2002, Aerosmith released the 2-disc compilation O Yeah!
Ultimate Aerosmith Hits and embarked on the Girls of Summer tour
with opening acts Kid Rock and Run-DMC. In 2003, Aerosmith
co-headlined with Kiss on the Rocksimus Maximus tour. Their
long-promised blues album, Honkin’ on Bobo, was released in
2004. The Album continues to be a success, helping to inspire
the resurgence of blues and roots music across the US and
Europe. A live DVD, You Gotta Move, followed it in December
2004. The band also lent its well-known “Dream On” to an
advertising campaign for Buick in 2004, targeting their
audience, which is now composed largely of people who were
teenagers when the song first charted.

In 2005, guitarist Joe Perry released his eponymous solo album.
Many claim that it is in many ways truer to the Aerosmith of the
’70’s than any of their recent output. This is mostly due to its
raw energy and lack of song doctoring. In October 2005,
Aerosmith released a CD/DVD named Rockin’ the Joint. The band
hit the road for the Rockin’ The Joint tour on October 30th with
Lenny Kravitz and is still touring.

They expect to be on the road until some time around Spring
2006. Rumor has it that they will begin work on a new album at
that time. It was announced in January that the band will embark
on a 5-week tour with Cheap Trick in the spring. Rumors of a
tour started a week before the announcement when Cheap Trick
front man Robin Zander joined the band onstage for “Come
Together” during a concert in Tampa, Florida. Early reports also
indicate that the band plans to resume touring in the fall of
2006, most likely in support of the new album. According to
insiders, an upcoming tour may see them alongside Motley Crue.

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