|Studio album by|
|Released||January 5, 1973|
|Studio||Intermedia Studios, Boston, Massachusetts|
|Singles from Aerosmith|
Sample of "Dream On"
Aerosmith is the eponymous debut studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released on January 5, 1973 by Columbia Records. The song "Walkin' the Dog" is a cover of a song originally performed by Rufus Thomas. The single "Dream On" became an American top ten single when re-released in 1976; it had first been released as a single in 1973. The album peaked at number 21 on the US Billboard 200 Chart in 1976.
On the original cover, the song "Walkin' the Dog" was misprinted as "Walkin' the Dig". When a second pressing of the album was released in 1976, this error was corrected and the cover replaced with a modified one made up entirely of the photo of the band members. This second pressing is the more commonly available version of the LP. When reissued on CD in 1993 as a remastered version, the original first pressing artwork was used.
After entering a partnership with Frank Connelly, David Krebs and Steve Leber invited members of two record labels - Atlantic Records and Columbia Records - to view an Aerosmith concert at Max's Kansas City. Clive Davis, the president of Columbia, was impressed with the band and Aerosmith signed with Columbia in the summer of 1972. Although lead singer Steven Tyler had been in several previous groups, most of the band members had never been in a studio before. The band was heavily influenced by many of the British blues/rock bands of the 1960s, including The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Yardbirds, and Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac.
The album opens with "Make It" and the appropriate opening line, "Good evening, people, welcome to the show, got something here I want you all to know." The song, composed by Tyler, who had struggled in a slew of local bands before Aerosmith, encourages listeners to succeed in achieving their dreams and not letting anything stop them, much like Aerosmith in their early club days performing up to three shows a day trying to get a record deal. "Somebody" is driven by a basic blues guitar riff and Tyler's lyrics tell the story of a character trying to search for the woman of his dreams. Written by Tyler and his friend Steven Emspak, "Somebody" was released in June 1973 as the B-side to the "Dream On" single. "Dream On" was also written by Tyler and became Aerosmith's first major hit and classic rock radio staple. The single peaked at number 59 nationally but hit big in the band's native Boston, where it was the number 1 single of the year on the less commercial top 40 station, WVBZ-FM, number 5 for the year on highly rated Top 40 WRKO-AM, and number 16 on heritage Top 40 WMEX-AM. The album version of "Dream On" (4:28, as opposed to the 3:25 1973 45rpm edit) was re-issued early in 1976, debuting at number 81 on January 10, breaking into the Top 40 on February 14 and peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 national chart on April 10. Columbia chose to service Top 40 radio stations with a re-issue of the 3:25 edited version, thus, many 1976 Pop Radio listeners were exposed to the group's first Top 10 effort through the 45 edit. The song is famous for its building climax to showcase Tyler's trademark screams, and is notable for being the only track on the album that displays Tyler's real singing voice. It was written on piano but the recording contains a two-guitar arrangement, with guitarist Brad Whitford explaining to Guitar World's Alan Di Perna in 1997, "The idea was just to transcribe what Steven was doing with his left and right hands on the piano." The song is composed in the key of F minor.
The group recorded their debut album at Intermedia Studios in 331 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts with record producer Adrian Barber. For the most part, the production is sparse and dry - two guitars, bass, drums, a singer, and occasionally piano - but the most remarkable feature of the album is how different Tyler sounds compared to the albums that followed. In his autobiography Tyler recalls, "The band was very uptight. We were so nervous that when the red recording light came on we froze. We were scared shitless. I changed my voice into the Muppet, Kermit the Frog, to sound more like a blues singer." In 1997 the singer told Stephen Davis, "Yes, I changed my voice when we did the final vocals. I didn't like my voice, the way it sounded. I was insecure, but nobody told me not to." Tyler added that producer Adrian Barber was "good for his time" but it was like "being with a retarded child in there, and I'm not sure if it was because he was so high, or because we all were." In his autobiography Rocks, Joe Perry is more critical of Barber:
Bassist Tom Hamilton later confessed, "The album was done so fast I barely remember anything but overdubbing some tracks and running to the bathroom for a hit of blow..." Perry reflected, "We were uptight, afraid to make mistakes... We were total novices with no idea what to go for." However, despite the band's nervousness and Tyler's atypical singing approach, Aerosmith lucidly shows that all the elements that would make them one of the biggest American rock bands of the 1970s were already in place.[according to whom?] The collection also includes a cover of the Rufus Thomas hit "Walking the Dog," also covered by the Rolling Stones on their first LP.
Recalling the album art, Perry commented in 2014, "Unfortunately the packaging was lame. We didn't even see the cover until the first printing. It was something that Columbia just threw together... The whole thing was sloppy. It marked the start of our education in dealing with labels."
|Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal||7/10|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
The album was not a success when it was released in January 1973. To the band's disappointment, it was not reviewed in Rolling Stone magazine. Moreover, Columbia released Aerosmith at the same time as Bruce Springsteen's debut album, for which they made a greater promotional effort. Critics compared the band unfavorably to The Rolling Stones and the New York Dolls.
In a modern review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine described Aerosmith as "truly an American band, sounding as though they were the best bar band in your local town, cranking out nasty hard-edged rock"; he considered "Dream On" "the blueprint for all power ballads" and the album a worthy debut where the band's "sleazoid blues-rock" sound is fully present but not yet perfected as in the next album. Canadian journalist Martin Popoff described the album as "raw, dirty and steeped with squalid integrity", but observed that "every successive release sounds light years ahead in terms of production, songcraft, maturity, everything..."
In an interview to Classic Rock magazine, Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin recalled: "Growing up in Indiana, I loved fucking Aerosmith, man... Smoke a joint, listen to the first record." Aerosmith was considered a massive influence on Guns N' Roses and helped shape their sound.
All tracks written by Steven Tyler, except where noted.
|2.||"Somebody" (Tyler, Steven Emspack)||3:45|
|4.||"One Way Street"||7:00|
|6.||"Write Me a Letter"||4:11|
|7.||"Movin' Out" (Tyler, Joe Perry)||5:03|
|8.||"Walkin' the Dog" (Rufus Thomas)||3:12|
|US||RIAA||1986||2x Platinum (+ 2,000,000)|
|Canada||CRIA||1979||Platinum (+ 100,000)|
"Our basic root is hard rock, a bit heavier than the Stones, more in a vein like Aerosmith