And it started with a little kiss, like this
The 1960s-1980s era marked the dawn of album rock and a time period of what I believe built up to be full of some of the best artists producing influential albums, leading up to the 80’s era of heavy metal. One of my personal favorite albums released during this time, specifically in 1975, was Aerosmith’s Toys in the Attic. Not only did this album contain a fusion of elements of blues and rock, but also two of Aerosmith’s greatest hits “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk This Way.”
“Sweet Emotion” happened to be the first song I ever heard from Aerosmith and I can thank my dad for that. With a tattoo of the band’s logo on his leg, my father can quite possibly be one of the biggest Aerosmith fans I know and is the reason why I took such a profound liking towards this type of music being introduced to it at such a young age. I grew up listening to him banging his hands on the steering wheel to the beat of the song blasting in the car, thinking he was Joey Kramer himself. And how could I forget the memory of us two screaming the lyrics to this song as it came on the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster featuring Aerosmith in Disney when I was first able to ride it?
Many believe that Steven Tyler wrote the lyrics to this song regarding the tension building up between the band members and Joe Perry’s wife Elyssa. “Sweet Emotion” reached Number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100, which beat their previous Number 59 single “Dream On” in 1973. One of the greatest aspects of this song is Perry’s use of the talk box used to modify the sound of his guitar to a more warped-like sound and apply speech to the sound of the guitar as heard when he speaks the words “sweet emotion” over the bass riff. This is deemed as one of the most famous uses of the talk box within music.
“Walk This Way” was created by Perry fooling around with riffs during a sound check while they were on tour in Hawaii. After spitting out random words to get a feel for the song, Tyler eventually came up with lyrics to the funky yet fun beat that tells the story of a high school boy losing his virginity. This song ultimately set Aerosmith into the mainstream realm and reached Number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977. Nine years later, Run DMC did a cover of this song.
“Uncle Salty” and “Big Ten Inch Record” are the two songs on this album out of the nine that I feel embody the most aspects of the blues genre. “Big Ten Inch Record” was originally an R&B song by Bull Moose Jackson recorded in 1952, in which Aerosmith kept the original sound and swing of the song, rather than wash it out with a heavier rock sound. The concept of toys comes from Tyler’s writing of lyrics from the perspective of an orphaned girl for the song “Uncle Salty.” The album opener, “Toys in the Attic,” is a frantic and fast paced song featuring Tyler’s dragged on sung lyrics setting the stage for the rest of the album. Toys in the Attic sold 8 million copies and is, in my opinion, one of Aerosmith’s best albums next to Get a Grip and Just Push Play.