Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Aerosmith, The #37 Artist of the Seventies*

Lead guitarist Joe Perry and bassist Tom Hamilton were in a group in Boston, Massachusetts called the Jam Band, and when they shared a bill with the group Chain Reaction, Steven Tyler, lead singer and drummer of the latter, was impressed with the sound of the Jam Band.  In 1970, the two groups agreed to combine with drummer Joey Kramer, and rhythm guitarist Ray Tabano to form Aerosmith.  Perry dropped the drums in favor of becoming the group's frontman.  The following year, Brad Whitford took Tabano's place, and the group became known in their home town.

The group hired promoter Frank Connelly and signed a management deal with David Krebs and Steve Leber.  This led to an audition with Clive Davis, president of Columbia Records.  In 1972, Aerosmith signed a recording contract with Columbia.

The band released their self-titled debut album later in the year.  The single "Dream On" stalled at #59, but it would be back--more on that later.  The album went Gold, and after the group's huge resurgence in the 80's, has now sold over two million copies.  "Mama Kin" received significant airplay.


Aerosmith toured heavily to support the album and attract fans.  In 1974, they released the album Get Your Wings.  A top track on the album is "Same Old Song And Dance". 


Similar to their previous album, Get Your Wings sold far more copies in the 80's than it did while it was a current album.  It has now surpassed the three-million mark.  "Seasons Of Wither" is another solid track on the album.


In 1975, Aerosmith released their breakthrough album Toys in the Attic.  The single "Sweet Emotion" gave the group their first Top 40 hit, though it too stalled at #36.


The group released another single from the album, "Walk This Way", which failed to chart. The title song also helped sell the album for Aerosmith.


In 1976, the group then re-released "Dream On", a longer version of the song that caught on this time.  "Dream On" went to #6.


In 1976, the band released the album Rocks.  "Last Child" only made it to #21, but received more airplay than given credit for.


Not only were Aerosmith gaining airplay, but more and more fans began to buy their albums.  Rocks quickly went Platinum and rose to #3 on the Album chart, and, through steady sales throughout the next decade, went over the four-million mark. 
"Sick As A Dog" is another fan favorite.


Continuing to believe in themselves, Aerosmith re-released another song, this time of the single "Walk This Way" the following year.  This time, it went to #7 in Canada and #10 in the United States, and in fact, was underrated at those numbers.


"Walk This Way" not only led Toys in the Attic to #11 on the Album chart, it spurred sales in the group's two previous albums to where they also re-entered the Top 200.  The group followed that up with the single "Back In The Saddle".  It stalled at #38, but has since become a fan favorite.

Toys in the Attic has now surpassed eight million in sales, again thanks to the group's success in the 80's.  Aerosmith established "The Wherehouse" in Waltham, Massachusetts as a place to write and record songs. 

Aerosmith had become one of the top hard rock groups in the world, and they gained a solid reputation as a dependable live act.  For the first time, the group headlined shows and played to large audiences in stadiums and festivals.
In 1977, Aerosmith released the album Draw the Line.  The album contained no big hits, but did achieve Double Platinum status, evidence of their growing legion of fans.   Once again, Aerosmith toured heavily, but abuse of drugs and alcohol began to take its toll.  "Kings And Queens" was another of the lead cuts on Draw the Line.

In 1978, the group appeared in the movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which also featured the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton.  Aerosmith's cover of "Come Together" was prominently featured in the movie and soundtrack album.

"Come Together" would be the last Top 40 song for Aerosmith for nearly ten years.  The group released the album Live!  Bootleg, which also went Platinum.

In 1979, while working on their next album, Aerosmith took a break and went back on tour.  An incident backstage at the World Series of Rock Festival led to a heated argument between Tyler and Perry.  Perry left Aerosmith, and formed the band The Joe Perry Project.

By the turn of the decade, Tyler's drug issues were ruining him and the band.  His songwriting and on-stage performance were affected, until finally he collapsed on stage in Portland, Maine, and did not get up for the remainder of the set.  

In 1980, Aerosmith released their Greatest Hits album.  Because of waning popularity, it did not sell well at the time, but caught fire after the group made a huge comeback.  Sales of the album are now pegged at 11 million.

Perry and Whitford came back to the group in 1984, and the group enjoyed their biggest success in the 80's, churning out multi-platinum albums, winning several awards, and packing concert hourses.  As stated above, most of their 70's sales came after the decade when the group revitalized their career.

In 1993, the Governor of Massachusetts declared April 13 as "Aeorsmith Day" in honor of the group.  In 2001, Aerosmith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame also tabbed "Dream On" and "Toys In The Attic" for their list of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

Aerosmith continues to tour and record after 44 years, with their latest album release in 2012.

Aerosmith were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.  Tyler and Perry received the ASCAP Founders Award for their songwriting, and both were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013.

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