“Let the music do the talking…”
There are very few Rock N Roll bands that can have radio hits in four decades, let alone survive changing trends on the Billboard charts. Aerosmith have emerged as one of the few true Rock N Roll bands to continue to change with the times and do so with the same lineup over their 40 year career. Front man extraordinaire Steven Tyler has defined what a showman can do in an arena rock context. His stage presence alone is legendary, especially when paired with his vocal chops which are still intact these many years since the band’s 1973 debut album on Columbia Records. Tyler has written the bulk of Aerosmith’s material with guitarist Joe Perry. One of the true original guitar players to emerge after the British Invasion, his style combines the lyrical lead lines of Peter Green and Jeff Beck with the riff ready power of Keith Richards. Aerosmith is a guitar based band, and the interplay between Perry and guitarist Brad Whitford is legendary. Pair this with the rock solid rhythm section of Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer and you have the makings of a true original American rock group.
The band emerged from Boston to sign with Columbia Records. Their first string of releases – “Aerosmith”, “Get Your Wings”, “Toys in the Attic” and “Rocks” – are all defined classics of their genre and contained some of Aerosmith’s most well known songs. This period was just the first creative peak for the band, as the early eighties saw their fortunes dwindle and both Perry and Whitford leaving the fold for a spell. They moved to Geffen Records to record a trio of what would become their best selling albums (including 1993’s diamond selling “Get A Grip”) and emerge as stars of the M tv generation, something most bands who were stars in the seventies couldn’t even imagine by the early nineties. Couple their second round of success with the realization that their live shows were better and more consistent than ever and you have the definition of the modern ‘comeback’.
In between these successful peaks came the album “Done With Mirrors” in 1985, their first for Geffen Records. Still in the doldrums, the group managed to make a spirited rock album, cut live, and featuring only band written material. Joe Perry and Brad Whitford had just come back to the group for 1984’s Back In The Saddle Tour and they immediately made this album to keep the momentum going. The song ‘Let the Music Do the Talking’ was the lead off track and single, a declaration from the band featuring amazing slide guitar from Perry and a rhythm track that felt like a freight train. ‘Let the Music…’ was a Perry solo track cut in 1979 for his album of the same name. Tyler took the song and rewrote the lyrics to accommodate his style and it improves on the original tenfold.
The song failed to chart, yet the group found itself back to the top ten with 1987’s multi platinum “Permanent Vacation”. The hits continued through the early 2000’s with 2001’s smash ‘Jaded’. ‘Let the Music…’ was a spectacular track that truly deserves a second look as it bridges their raw early Columbia sound with the more commercial and bluesy Geffen material. The group even revives it from to time to time in their still-amazing live shows. A tour of Europe and South America is in the works for summer 2010, with US dates to follow. Some groups you need to see live to truly capture the essence of their music. U2 and Prince come to mind and Aerosmith is certainly their American Rock equivalent. See them to experience what the true essence of Rock N Roll really can be.