Aerosmith - purveyors of Corporate Rock

I think Aerosmith is terrific. Their original greatest hits cassette (the one with the red and white logo, from 1980) is something every fan should have. Aerosmith can also make a claim that few if any other bands with over 20 years under their belt can make: They have the exact same line up. That is no small accomplishment for a group of 5 (admitted) drug addicts over the course of 30 years. Odds are one dies, sad but true. Anyhow, I had to write this piece because I was perusing CNN this evening and I found this quote here "
There's a huge wave right now of everybody following the trend, which makes everything sound the same
Tyler said. I found this very interesting because Aerosmith has spent the last 20 years playing one song over and over. They perfected the power ballad and have been doing nothing but making more and more goddamn power ballads. I wish I could say the invented the power ballad, but I think that honor goes to the Zep for 'Stairway'.

I remember the moment it happened, the birth of corporate rock. Aerosmith had a comeback hit with 'Dude, looks like a lady'. Well, the second track released (and it is always done this way folks... write it down: rocker first, ballad second - it is some kind of federal law) was Angel. It was a great and beautiful and catchy song. There is nothing wrong with that. They never really released anything other than that. We got Amazing, Crazy, Crying (you may remember a dead on Tyler impersonation from SNL by Adam Sandler promoting 'ama-crazy-cryin'), I don't want to miss a thing... etc. Now, Aerosmith never got a grammy until 'I don't wanna miss a thing', which is a crime. First off, that song sucks. Secondly... they have an amazing back catalogue of really great rock. I saw Aerosmith on that tour, Permanent Vacation, and it was a fantastic show. After that, they just coasted on power ballads for next 20 years.

Here is some sound advice if you dig Aerosmith, and want to know what they did before power ballads... yet while you were alive. Find a copy of Permanent Vacation, or just download this song 'Hangman Jury'. To me, this defines that absolute greatness of Aerosmith. It also denotes the last time they bothered to do anything of consequence musically. By the way, while we throw the term 'sell out' around... is there a single commercial that Steven Tyler is not in?


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