Boston hard rocker’s Aerosmith have been in the game for a while now – releasing fifteen studio albums, touring the world, being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 – Aerosmith has sold a certified 84.7 million units, making them one of the top 30 best selling music artists of all time!
That all started 45 years ago with the release of their debut album Aerosmith. Released on Columbia Records in January 1973, Aerosmith had been recorded in a month at Intermedia Studios in Boston and produced by Adrian Barber.
When the album was released in 1973, it and it’s biggest single, “Dream On,” didn’t catch on at first. It wouldn’t be until the album was re-released in 1976 that “Dream On” would become a top ten single and the album itself would reach 21 on the Billboard 200 that same year. The album has gone on to be certified 2x Platinum in the United States and Platinum in Canada as well (though it would ultimately be overshadowed by the band’s third album Toys in the Attic).
Only one song on this album is a cover, Rufus Thomas’s “Walkin’ the Dog.” The rest are written primarily by Tyler, with Steven Emspack co-writing on “Somebody,” and Joe Perry co-writing on “Movin’ Out.”
Without further ado, check out my thoughts on this album on its 45th anniversary here.
I’ve got to be careful about drawing comparison’s between Aerosmith’s “Make It,” and another band out of Boston’s “Rock & Roll Band.” The lyrical themes are similar, but sonically Aerosmith distinguishes themselves with their very bluesy style of hard rock (not to mention that Aerosmith came out three years before Boston).
“Make It,” which opens up Aerosmith opens itself with the lyrics: “Good evening people, welcome to the show // Got something here I want you all to know // When laughin’ people bring on primal screams // You got to think of what it’s gonna take to make your dreams”
The chorus of the song implores the listener (who may be an audience member at an Aerosmith concert) to “Make it // don’t break it.”
The second track “Somebody” is standard Aerosmith blues rock fare, but it doesn’t stand out to me as one of the stronger tracks on the album (no worries there, of course).
“Somebody” ends and the intro to “Dream On” begins. This song, described by some as a power ballad, is seismic. The repetition of Tyler imploring the listener to “Dream on / dream on / dream on / dream until your dreams come true,” seems to pick up on the theme of “Make It.” It’s empowering to know that Tyler wrote that song in his late teens or twenties, it has such emotional depth. The song opens with the lyric: “Every time when I look in the mirror // All these lines on my face getting clearer // The past is gone // It went by, like dusk to dawn // Isn’t that the way // Everybody’s got the dues in life to pay.”
As far back as I can remember listening to “Dream On,” I’ve always known that it has affected me deeply, and I’ve always appreciated it driving insistence.
The album continues with its original first single “Mama Kin,” which has also always been a favorite of mine. It may be the most consistently rocking, most sonically complete song on the album.
The album wraps up with “Write Me A Letter,” “Movin’ Out,” and “Walkin’ The Dog.”
Though there are three songs on this album that I really like, and one that is in Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs Of All Time”, I would have to say that because the rest of the songs don’t particularly strike me, I give this Aerosmith classic a 2.5 on its own merit. Though, for influence on the genre of rock ‘n’ roll and popular culture, Aerosmith certainly has earned its place in the canon.