306: AEROSMITH

They’ve touched upon just about every rock subgenre in their 50+ years, and are often called “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band”.

Such is the longevity of their cultural influence that, for different generations, Aerosmith mean different things. Someone in their sixties might have discovered them as a teenager, right as they were starting out, and know them as a heavier blues rock band. Someone in their fifties might have discovered them via hits like “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” and “Janie’s Got a Gun” and think of them as more of a glam band. Someone in their forties is more likely to know them from their genre-breaking collaboration with Run DMC, or you might be in your thirties and know them as the band with a song in ‘Armageddon’. The point is, for many people in all of these age groups, Aerosmith really are one of the greatest bands of all time.

I’ve spoken in the past about bands who were able to shift their sound as they saw fit, and the success that brought them, but with Aerosmith it always seemed more effortless. Their sound was always such an ever-changing, swirling mix of rock, that was never stationary long enough to adequately affix any labels.

After seeing enormous success throughout the 70s, Aerosmith’s popularity began to wane – first with the departures of Joe Perry and Brad Whitford. But even a much lauded reunion tour five years later was plagued with substance abuse issues.

The latter half of the 80s saw somewhat of an Aerosmith resurrection, however. The success of Run-DMC’s take on ‘Walk This Way’ introduced them to a whole new generation, the band members all completed stints in rehab, and Aerosmith went on to release their most successful album in a decade in ‘Permanent Vacation’.

The subsequent period saw the band embracing a more glam sound and releasing multiple huge singles (which, to this day, are considered iconic songs).

Aerosmith hit a point in the 80s that lesser bands would not have survived. But rather than call it a day and leave behind an (admittedly influential and successful half a dozen albums, they got clean, came back, and went on to even bigger success. They could’ve been a band from the 70s that may have left a mark, but instead today they are one of the biggest rock bands on the planet, having influenced multiple generations,