This summer the Bad Boys of Boston are busy touring arenas around Europe, and later on a US tour together with Slash, which is destined to be one of the biggest tours of the year. With such a long career, and 15 studio albums, it’s hard to pick a favorite. Most Aerosmith fans usually fall in to one of two categories: those who like the early stuff pre- 1980, or the MTV generation who grew up with albums like Pump and Get a Grip, which were played extensively thanks to their lavish videos. Today I’m going to list my top five favorite Aerosmith albums. Are my choices completely wrong? List your own top five in the comments section, and let us know why you chose them.
Get Your Wings
There’s something so raw about Aerosmith’s sophomore effort that I’ve always loved. The debut was good, but it felt a bit uneven in terms of the material, and the production. But already when Get Your Wings was recorded it was clear the band had found their groove, and knew exactly what they were after. There are so many great songs on Get Your Wings aside from the obvious ones like “Same Old Song And Dance,” and “Train Kept A Rollin’.” For example, the fan favorite “Lord of the Thighs” - a bizarre title for an excellent song. The album also contains one of but a few songs on which drummer Joey Kramer shares a writing credit - the album closer “Pandora’s Box.”
“Train Kept A Rollin’:”
Toys in the Attic
My second choice might be an obvious one, but how can you ignore Toys in the Attic? The band’s third album was their major breakthrough, and it is a true classic. It spawned the mega hits “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk This Way,” along with live favorites such as the title track, and the blues cover “Big Ten Inch Record.” I think the only reason I put Toys after Get Your Wings is because I’ve listened to Toys in the Attic way too much. It was the second Aerosmith album I got, the first being Get A Grip, and yes I guess that means I was one of the ones who grew up with Aerosmith on constant MTV rotation.
“Toys in the Attic:”
Slash has on numerous occasions cited Aerosmith’s fourth album Rocks as his main inspiration to become a guitar player. That says a lot! Aerosmith has said they named the album Rocks simply because it does rock! It is probably the band’s heaviest album, and we’re using the term lightly here. Maybe dirty would be a better description. It’s full of filthy blues rockers like “Rats in the Cellar,” “Nobody’s Fault,” and “Get The Lead Out,” as well as the fantastic Brad Whitford penned “Last Child,” which is one of my favorite live songs from the band.
After regrouping with all original members in 1984, Aerosmith released Done With Mirrors the following year, which actually is a good rock album that was sort of forgotten. Next up was Permanent Vacation which marked the start of bringing in outside writers to help write hit songs. The album did great and got Aerosmith back on track, but it was the next album, Pump, that was Aerosmith’s crowning achievement during their second chance at stardom. Pump was massive, and rightly so. A song like “Love in an Elevator” is such a frivolous song on the surface, but when you listen to Brad Whitford, and Joe Perry’s guitar parts you realize what an awesome blues rocker it is. The two guitarists take turns playing the solos, and the riffs and hooks are just so inventive. I just think it is so cool that Aerosmith was able to draw on their blues roots and make a song that was still so musically relevant to the times when it was released - that certainly takes some skill. Then there’s the socially conscious lyrics of “Janie’s Got a Gun,” which also has some excellent bass riffs from Mr. Sweet Emotion himself Tom Hamilton (as Steven Tyler likes to introduce him during Aerosmith’s live shows). The two first tracks on the album, “Young Lust,” and “F.I.N.E.” flow seamlessly in to one another and have often been performed in succession during live shows.
“Love in an Elevator:”
Draw the Line
By the time Aerosmith recorded their fifth album Draw The Line, their fame and fortune had sort of gotten away from the band. They had rented a big mansion in which they were all to live, write, and record, but things weren’t exactly going smoothly, with Perry and Tyler in particular succumbing to their various vices. But somehow the band managed to record what today is still a really strong rock album by any standards. Much of it is thanks to the title track, which is my all-time favorite Aerosmith live song. Joe Perry’s slide guitar work on the track is just a classic. But there are other gems on Draw the Line, like the odd but beautifully melodic “Kings and Queens,” which the band have only played live sporadically over the years. Other noteworthy songs from the album include the Joe Perry sung number “Bright Light Fright,” which probably described his state of mind at the time, and album closer “Milk Cow Blues” - nobody does blues covers like Aerosmith!
The Joe Perry Project - “Bright Light Fright:”
So there you have it - those are my top five Aerosmith albums, for the moment at least. As all music fans know, things like favorite albums tend to change over time. Which Aerosmith albums would be in your top five? Let us know in the comments!