It’s been a wild ride for Aerosmith. The rock legends emerged in 1970s with a string of hit songs that remain staples on classic rock radio stations across the globe. Now, the legendary band is ready to say goodbye with a 2023-2024 farewell tour (tickets available here).
Having formed in Boston in 1970, and led by “Toxic Twins” Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Aerosmith have been going strong for more than 50 years. The band — also featuring Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton, and Joey Kramer — truly took off with 1975’s Toys in the Attic featuring the infectious “Sweet Emotion” (their first Top 40 placement) and the riffy strutter “Walk This Way.”
Aerosmith’s brand of hard rock was just a bit looser and perhaps a little more risqué than what contemporaries like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, or Journey were putting out, so it’s no wonder that many of the hard rock and glam metal bands of the 1980s — the Mötley Crües and Poisons of the world — cited the Massachusetts act as a major influence.
Despite a down spell in the late ’70s/early ’80s when Perry briefly left the band, Aerosmith have maintained commercial relevance over the years by surfing the shifting trends of the decades — if not downright embracing them (i.e. the pioneering rap-rock collab with Run-DMC on their “Walk This Way” cover). Perry and Tyler always seemed to have a radio-ready tunes up their sleeve, and whenever it seemed like Aerosmith were on the verge of fading from the cultural consciousness, they’d drop an inescapable song like “Janie’s Got a Gun” or “Jaded.”
While things have slowed down somewhat over the past few years as the band members get up there in age and deal with various health setbacks, Aerosmith still remain the best-selling American hard rock band of all-time. And their influence carries on, as newer acts like Dirty Honey and Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown (whose guitarist Graham Whitford is the son of Aerosmith axeman Brad Whitford) offer a modern take on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band’s raw and rockin’ sound.
It’s been a hell of a run, and with Aerosmith’s aforementioned farewell tour set to kick off later this year, we take a look back at their 10 best songs. No easy task for a band defined by a long résumé of hit singles.
Senior Staff Writer