Through music, some guys have seen it all. If it wasn’t for a band getting recognition, doors wouldn’t be opened to be on television, star in movies, headline national events – or simply just be talked about in the mainstream. Today’s lead singer has seen all of those become true in his life, with a whole heap of drug use and controversies as the icing on the cake. But after tens of millions of albums sold today’s band (and their lead singer), have become a household name.
All the way back in 1970, two separate bands played a gig in Boston. Joe Perry’s Jam Band went on first and Chain Reaction went on second. The Jam Band really brought the house down and the drummer/singer of Chain Reaction was so impressed, he propositioned the Jam Band to merge the two together. That lead singer was none other than Steven Tyler, and after some negotiations, Aerosmith was born.
After formalizing the lineup in 1971, they started to generate some buzz in the local area. Signed to a small time agency, the band paid their own money to get on a concert roster where Columbia Records execs would be in attendance – the only band to ever do so. Their bold move worked. Columbia was thrilled and handed over $125,000 for their debut album.
Today however, we’re focusing on Aerosmith’s tenth studio release, Pump. Their first few albums saw some major commercial success, however as with most bands in from the era, rampant drug use started to tear them apart. The band split up for roughly five years to try to get clean and critics felt the signature Aerosmith sound was probably lost for good. Fortunately, they were wrong. Pump was slated to be only the second release since the band had claimed to be sober, and is their highest selling album to date at almost 10 million copies sold.
Critics initially thought it was such a popular album because the bands that “took over” for them during the drug absence weren’t as good. The younger bands of the time like Motley Crue, Poison, Bon Jovi were too soft and poppy. But, over time the album got more respect. Aerosmith had come back to show them what the year’s best metal album should look like—in fact, Aerosmith would receive the 1990 Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with vocal for the single “Janie’s Got a Gun”.
No matter what your thoughts of Aerosmith are, Steven Tyler’s vocals are absolutely distinctive. That raspy vocal is perfect for the style of music they create. I believe the mix of blues and hard rock was done so well, they pioneered the genre. Perhaps by today’s standards, the “metal” side of their rock is a bit tame, but from the 70s through early 90s, they were setting the trend. The band is still making music today and has held fairly true to their roots, which is always a nice surprise. Tyler obviously continues to make news with his American Idol exploits, appearances in film and stories of all the crazy days. As long as he’s still able to stay in the limelight, Aerosmith will always be part of pop culture.
Aerosmith is credited for having influenced SO many bands that you probably love. This is rock history—but even if that isn’t your fancy, this album is just really good. Give it a listen today.
Top 3 Tracks: