By Martine Ehrenclou
Aerosmith is taking a break from their 2022 Deuces Are Wild Las Vegas residency due to vocalist Steven Tyler voluntarily entering a treatment program after relapsing due to foot surgery and the necessity of pain management. As such, the band is off the road until September. In the meantime, we’re celebrating the best of Aerosmith with a list of their top 10 albums and a Spotify playlist for your enjoyment during their downtime.
One of America’s greatest rock bands, Aerosmith has released 15 studio albums, six live albums, 16 compilation albums, and two EPs. They’ve sold over 150 million albums, making them the biggest selling rock band in US history. Their catalog is loaded with hits and classics from “Walk This Way,” “Train Kept A Rollin’,” and “Back In The Saddle” to “Dream On,” “Draw The Line,” and “Seasons Of Wither.”
They started winning Grammy Awards in 1990 and have four in total from 17 nominations. They have also won six American Music Awards from ten nominations. You have to hand it to Aerosmith for being one of the forerunners in hard rock and maintaining their headliner status through the present day. If you’re relatively new to Aerosmith and listen to bands like Dirty Honey and many other new rockers, you’ll clearly hear their influence once you crank up some of the records listed below.
Formed in Boston in 1970, the band is made up of Steven Tyler (lead vocals), Joe Perry (guitar), Tom Hamilton (bass) Joey Kramer (drums), and Brad Whiteford (guitar.) while rooted in blues-based rock , they also incorporated elements of heavy metal, R&B, and pop. Aerosmith has been one of our favorite rock bands since their single “Dream On” from their 1973 self-titled debut release which became their first major hit.
The group’s next four albums, Get Your Wings, Toys In The Attic, Rocksand Draw The Line, were as good a run as any band has ever had and made Aerosmith into a legend. They delivered a loud, feisty kick in the teeth to American rock at the time, one that the mainstream probably wasn’t ready for. By the end of the 70s, they were true rock royalty.
The band didn’t do quite as well in the 1980s because of personal issues but they rebooted with Rock in a Hard Place in 1982 and Done with Mirrors in 1985. Drug use and the band’s inner turbulence hit them hard but they came back even harder when rappers Run-DMC released their version of “Walk This Way” featuring an appearance by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. The video took off on MTV and launched the next phase of Aerosmith’s career. Their real comeback came with their album Permanent Vacation and the single “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” in 1987. Pumpreleased in 1989, and Get A Grip in 1993, spawned hit singles and earned Grammy Awards. Nine Lives followed in 1997 and then came Just Push Play in 2001, Honkin’ On Bobo in 2003, and Music From Another Dimension in 2012.
If you’re relatively new to Aerosmith, and listen to rock bands like Dirty Honey, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, Guns N’ Roses, The Black Crowes and more, it’s fun to discover their influences.
Lists are subjective, as is all music. These are just some of our favorite Aerosmith albums and our way of celebrating the band. Each album features a short description plus a hand-picked song.
Ranked from 1 to 10, we welcome your comments and opinions in the comments section below. I chose one song for each album that’s a personal favorite. Hope you enjoy it!
Toys In The Attic (1975)
This was my first introduction to blues-based rock that I discovered myself. No older sibling turned me onto it like Led Zeppelin or Jeff Beck. Released in 1975, the album features songs like “Sweet Emotion” “Walk This Way,” and the title track. Those tracks plus Tyler’s voice and Joe Perry’s guitar riffs grabbed me and I became a die-hard Aerosmith fan. This album drove me to their previous two albums. Toys In The Attic was the band’s most commercially successful studio LP, selling 9 million copies. It gained more traction when Run-DMC covered “Walk This Way” and helped propel the band into the 1980’s mainstream. Listen to “Sweet Emotion” Here
The fourth studio album by Aerosmith was released in 1976 and influenced Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, and Nirvana. With the band’s singles on the Billboard Hot 100, Rocks eventually went quadruple platinum. Critics didn’t love Aerosmith but I sure did and this album was one of my favorites. Songs like “Back In The Saddle” and “Last Child” were hard to beat in this era. Listen to “Back In The Saddle” Here A fan of B-side songs, “Get The Lead Out” is one of my favorites. See it Here
Get Your Wings (1974)
Early Aerosmith rocks. Get Your Wings is the band’s second studio album and their first to be produced by Jack Douglas. It was certified triple platinum by the RIAA. Blues-infused and rocking, there’s still a Stones influence, but Tyler’s songwriting was stronger than ever. “Seasons of Wither” is a brilliant song. Tyler nailed the vocals, and Joe Perry and Brad Whitford did the same on guitars. With its sinister feel, it was a bold move for a blues/rock band at that time. “Same Old Song and Dance” and The Yardbirds’ “Train Kept A Rollin'” maintained the band’s signature sound. This song still holds up today. “Seasons of Wither” Here
Aerosmith Self-Titled Debut (1973)
The album debut, self-titled studio album was originally released in 1973 and re-released in December of 1975. Even with spare production and only two guitars, bass, drums, harmonica and occasionally piano, it contained “Dream On,” a sure -fire hit and primordial power ballad. One song that never received much attention is “One Way Street.” By later albums, you can hear the growth and development of Tyler’s vocals. The band members all sound a bit stiff but you can’t erase a couple of truly great songs. Listen to “One Way Street” Here. Personally, this is one of my favorites on the album.
Draw The Line (1977)
Their fifth studio album, Draw The Line is one of Aerosmith’s best rock and roll records. It was released in 1977. Following Toys in the Attic and Rocks, fans weren’t happy with this record and the critics didn’t like it either. Since then, however, the reviews have become a lot more positive. The band’s excessive lifestyle combined with drugs and constant touring took its toll. Joe Perry said in Stephen Davis’ memoir of the band Walk This Way“Draw The Line was untogether because we weren’t a cohesive unit anymore.” Even though Tyler and Perry were not as involved in the songwriting and recording as they had been, it’s still a great record. The album went platinum in the first month of its release. Listen to “Get It Up” Here.
The tenth studio album by Aerosmith features the hit singles “Janie’s Got A Gun” and “Love In An Elevator.” The band earned their first Grammy Award for “Janie’s Got A Gun” and the album was the fourth best-selling album of the year in 1990. The band was going for more rawness and inserted instrumental interludes between the songs. A small rock band named Pump sued Aerosmith’s management company for service mark infringement. Give me a break! Now sober, the band sounded amazing. Although regarded as 80s sleaze metal by some, it did reboot some of the early Aerosmith sound. Listen to “Love In An Elevator” Here.
Permanent Vacation (1987)
The ninth studio album by Aerosmith, Permanent Vacation reflects more of a pop-metal sound. It was their first time using outside songwriters and is often considered the band’s true comeback. It was the first Aerosmith release to receive heavy music video airplay on MTV and has remained a popular album ever since. Selling over five million copies in the US, the album was released to mixed reviews, mostly positive, especially for the songwriting. Considered overproduced in typical 80s fashion, it still featured some songs like “Rag Doll” and “Dude (Looks Like A Lady).” See it Here.
Get A Grip (1993)
Get a Grip featured guests including Don Henley and Lenny Kravitz and became their best-selling studio album worldwide with sales of over 30 million. It also reached number one in the US. Two songs, “Livin’ On The Edge” and “Crazy,” won Grammy Awards for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1993/1994. Now a consistent presence on MTV, the band won a number of music video awards. The record received mixed reviews by critics but eventually the band became recognized for their individuality and style and not just as Stones clones. Their early blues-infused albums didn’t sound like The Rolling Stones to me, but it’s all perspective, I guess. The cover art caused some controversy with animal rights groups but the band claimed that the cover was digitally altered and no animals were harmed. Also, Aerosmith became the first major artist to release an exclusive digital download song “Head First.” See “Crazy” Here
Night In The Ruts (1979)
Joe Perry left the band in the middle of recording Night In The Ruts. The band was not in a good place at the time and Perry reportedly owed Aerosmith a lot of money. Originally produced by Jack Douglas, Gary Lyons was brought in by Columbia Records to replace him. Steven Tyler had a tough time finishing the lyrics and vocals. Rampant drug use plagued the band and they seemed at risk of falling apart. In-fighting between members led to missed performances on a tour they weren’t prepared for, as well. In 1979 at the World Series of Rock in Cleveland, OH, Perry left the band during the tour after an argument with Tyler. Although Perry had completed guitar parts for several of the songs, the remaining guitars were recorded by Brad Whitford, Richie Supa, Neil Thompson, and Jimmy Crespo. Crespo replaced Perry from 1979-1984. The album was panned by critics and dropped in the charts. Even so, the group’s cover of “Remember (Walking In The Sand)” was fun. See it Here
Honkin’ On Bobo (2004)
With Joe Perry back in the band, the album features one new song and 11 covers of blues and blues/rock songs from the 1950s and 1960s, before The Stones did the same thing. It pays tribute to the band’s earliest influences and is raw, more like their 1970s music. Produced by Jack Douglas once again, the album sold over 160,000 copies in the first week and was certified Gold by the RIAA in 2004. The band plays hard on this album and returns to the dirty blues sound we all love, including harmonica work by Steven Tyler. It includes songs by Bo Diddley, Sonny Boy Williamson, Aretha Franklin, Fred McDowell and more. “Never Loved A Girl” See it Here
Listen to Rock & Blues Muse Spotify Aerosmith Top 10 Albums Playlist HERE
I welcome your comments below!