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Aerosmith: History of the Rock Band

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Formed in 1970 in Boston, Massachusetts, Aerosmith was signed to Columbia Records after performing local shows for a few years. They became stars only with their 3rd album and the single "Sweet Emotion" in 1975. Though their success was tainted by their sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyles, the band kept cranking out the hits. Their live shows sold well and their music videos were extremely popular in the 90s. Despite health issues, band tensions and outside projects, the band returned to the studio in the new century and continued to make music. In this video, we take a look at the history of Aerosmith.

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Rock band Aerosmith formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1970, when vocalist Steven Tyler partnered with guitarist Joe Perry, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer. After playing local shows together, they added rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford to the line-up the next year.


Soon came a Columbia Records deal, and Aerosmith’s 1973 self-titled debut. Critics liked it, but the blues rock album barely cracked Billboard. However, the effort did contain the future top ten smash “Dream On.”

Sophomore Effort

The band kept on truckin’ with live shows that helped Get Your Wings chart higher; however, that record was far from a hit.

“Sweet Emotion”

It was with 1975’s Toys in the Attic that Aerosmith became a household name. Bluesy riffs paired with cheeky double entendres colored this hard rocking LP, and top 40 singles like “Sweet Emotion” propelled it to number eleven on the Billboard 200 chart.

Top Five Success

The group unveiled the appropriately titled Rocks in 1976. The heavy metal and hard rock effort became their highest-charting record so far when it cracked the top five.

Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

Aerosmith was the living embodiment of the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle they sang about. Critics suggested this was taking its toll, as evidenced by their suffering live shows and 1977’s disappointing record Draw the Line. Even so, that album made the top twenty, and Aerosmith soon found more success with their Beatles cover for the movie “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”


Next came the turmoil: Perry and Whitford left the band, while Tyler’s drug problems caused him to collapse in concert multiple times.

More Music

But, Aerosmith kept cranking out tunes: they hit the top twenty with 1979’s Night in the Ruts. Their highest-grossing U.S. album, Greatest Hits, dropped in 1980, and the poorly-reviewed Rock in a Hard Place arrived two years later.

Reunion Shows

On the outside, things turned around in 1984: Perry and Whitford rejoined, and Aerosmith took their raw energy on tour with the “Back in the Saddle” reunion shows. But drug issues still troubled their performances, and 1985’s Done With Mirrors sold poorly.


The next year, Tyler and Perry united with rap group Run-D.M.C. to re-record their top 10 hit from the ‘70s, “Walk This Way.” That influential track paved the way for Aerosmith’s triumphant comeback in the late ‘80s.

Rehab and Working with Other Songwriters

After several members spent time in rehab, Aerosmith released 1987’s commercially successful Permanent Vacation, which featured collaborations with outside songwriters and numerous top twenty hits.


1989’s Pump mixed hard rocking tunes with ballads and instrumental interludes. The hit album’s many top ten smashes were accompanied by music videos that made Aerosmith an MTV mainstay.

“Get a Grip”

Next came a tour and 1993’s Grammy-winning Get a Grip. The number one CD increased Aerosmith’s popularity worldwide, and included more blues-rock hits with influential videos.

Media Appearances and “Big Ones”

After appearing in movies and video games, Aerosmith then showed off their impressive back-catalogue with the successful greatest hits compilation Big Ones.

“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”

Their next new work appeared on 1997’s Nine Lives, which topped Billboard and won Aerosmith another Grammy despite nay-saying critics. It was only the next year the band had their first number one single ever with the Oscar-nominated love theme for the movie “Armageddon.”

Super Bowl and “Just Push Play”

The new millennium opened with Aerosmith teaming up with other huge pop acts at the Super Bowl XXXV Halftime Show, where they played old hits and new songs from their 2001 album Just Push Play.

Blues Experimentation

Following the O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits compilation, the group sang the blues on Honkin’ on Bobo in 2004.

Outside Projects, American Idol and Return to the Studio

Band members spent the next few years on solo albums, movie appearances, performing and other projects. Aerosmith compilations were released, and the band even participated in the “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith” video game. However, Tyler’s health issues interrupted touring, and tensions remained high. This only intensified in 2010 when Tyler agreed to judge “American Idol.” But, things soon got back on track: the band returned to the studio and went back on the road.

Success and Greatness

Aerosmith has sold millions of albums, and boasts a boundless love of music. It’s no wonder these Bad Boys from Boston have been called America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.

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