As I suggested, getting my Aerosmith Top 10 would be an interesting exercise. It was. I ended up with 20 contenders, so I just arranged them in tiers. As a special bonus, I have links to .mp3s of all these.
Update: Some search engine decided it was cool to have people coming here to get their illegal .mp3s. The blog went down three times for excessive bandwidth use. Thanks. So I’ve removed most, or all, of the links.
Update 2: The jerks crashed me again, so now I’m taking off all links. Sad.
The first album I ever got was Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits. In 6th grade, this and The Beatles ‘Red Album” were all that was being played as we all learned about Rock and Roll during recess (back in those days you could make it to age 11 without being exposed to rock music every day). When my birthday rolled around, I asked for the Asmith of course. (Asmith and Aerofuckingsmith are both preferred versions of the band name, I knew that at 11). After I got it, my older brothers tooks me aside and explained the facts of life to me. Parents could get me bikes, clothes, stuff like that. When you wanted some rock, talk to the brothers. At any rate, I played that greatest hits album thousands of times over the next couple years. To this day, I still think of Back in the Saddle as “first song, side 2”.
The next phase was seeing them live. It was my second concert. (My first one, Bob Dylan w/ Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers was very good but I had no idea who Bob Dylan was at the time.) It was 1986 in the stadium where the Patriots played. It was a hell of a show. There were 3 opening bands, one of them being Yngvie Malmsteem. The poor guy. He’d be playing his heart out, using all his energy to win the crowd over, then the screen would show Joe wiping down his guitar and everyone would go nuts. I also saw my first mob action, as tens of thousands of fans rushed through the cops to the open area on the field. But I digress. The point is that Aerosmith live is amazing. They were great then, and they still are. They played a song I had never heard called Seasons of Wither. I was blown away. The next day I bought Get Your Wings, and I was hooked all over again. I’ve seen them around 10 times, which in my book is respectable dedication while still having a life.
No discussion of Aerosmith is complete without a mention of Funk Soul Cousin (as I now dub him), he is truly hardcore. He has Aerosmith tatoos. He’s seen them 50+ times. He has all their signatures multiple times, and I think at various times they have all signed on his actual body. I have seen him on MTV in a sleeveless shirt shivering in the freezing snow for hours on Storrow Drive waiting for the boys to show up for the release party. Now that’s dedication. (By the way, his favorite Asmith song is Uncle Salty.)
Anyhow, let’s get on to the meat of this post, the top 20. Each group is in no particular order.
Walk this Way (would have been higher years ago, I’ve grown sick of it)
You See me Crying
Taste of India
Lighting Strikes (That’s right, with Jimmy Freakin’ Crespo)
Hoodoo/Voodoo Medicine Man
What it Takes – This deserves a special mention for the guitar solo, one of favorites ever. The reverse bends on that sing so purely… this is around the era where Joe Perry really started improving his guitar playing. He’s become amazing at bending to the exact right note at the exact right speed, he’s become an expert slide guitar player, he’s learned how to work outside scales — his toolbox gets bigger every year. He’s gone from being a great sloppy bluesrock guitarist to being a great guitarist.
Toys in the Attic
Lord of the Thighs – A great song title. On the same album as Pandora’s Box. They don’t name ’em like that anymore, no they don’t.
Dream On (orchestral remake)- The original was a great song. It didn’t age that well for me, so I’m including the orchestral version they did with Michael Kamen at one of the MTV things.
Kings and Queens
Hangman Jury – I saw them 5 or so times on the Permanent Vacation tour. This was always the highlight. The lights would go off. Then a vague light would appear on the stage, and cross my heart, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry would be sitting onstage in rocking chairs, and I’m not kidding here, Steven would have a little table on the side with a glass of iced tea, and they would sit on the porch and do this song. Just wonderful.
Full Circle – I mentioned previously the New Year’s Eve show. I think it was going into 1999. Aerosmith has traditionally done New Year’s Eve shows every year in Boston, and they’re always great. I think one of them was used in the taping of the video for Angel. Through the good graces of Funk Soul Cousin, we were in the 3rd row. I’ve rarely been in the front rows for a show. If you never have, you should. It’s a whole different show when you’re that close. There were two highlight. One was during Sweet Emotion. Joe Perry was playing on semi-automatic. He was looking around with a strange smile on his face. He turned and looked right at me and FSC and gave a look that said “Hey you two, look at me. I’m Joe freakin’ Perry. I’m in the best rock band on earth, I’m kicking ass on the guitar, and I’m the happiest man on earth. Damn, I am so cool.” FSC and I agreed with him. The other highlight was during Full Circle. Right at midnight, they unleashed balloons from the celing. They brought out all the wives, girlfriends, crew and roadies, turned the lights up, and we all sang the chorus over and over again while the balloons came down and everyone kissed each other. (Not FSC and me. We watched the girls in front of us kissing. The front rows at good rock shows are dominated by incredibly hotties (un)dressed at their best. It can get very distracting.) Below is a pic from that show.
Train Kept a Rollin’
Seasons of Wither
Woman of the World
Back in the Saddle
I’m surprised at myself that I have nothing to say about the top 5. I’ve played these all so many times, I barely need the record. I went to the bank yesterday and Back in the Saddle was playing on the radio. As I went to the ATM, I was still singing it to myself. I got back in the car 90 seconds later, and as the car and radio came on, I was perfectly in sync with the song. Try that sometime, you’ll be surprised how hard it is to do.
You’ll notice most of these songs are from the early years (before the first greatest hits album). All of the top 5, and 8 of the top 10. My older brothers simply do not acknowledge the existence of Aerosmith after 1985. I wouldn’t go that far, but there is sure a big difference between the eras. (The difference has a lot to do with drugs, most of the bands I love had their creative peaks during drug years. That will be another post.)
In the meantime, enjoy these mp3’s, and go get yourself a copy of Get Your Wings and Toys in the Attic! You won’t regret it!
Your blogging author gets down with his bad self all those years ago. Notice the shirt, 1986 Done With Mirrors tour.