1976–1984: Rocks to Rock in a Hard Place

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Posted on Sat, 03/07/2015 - 6:16pm
by Angie Spray

Member since: Sat, 01/03/2015

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1976–1978: Rocks, Draw the Line and Live! Bootleg 

Aerosmith's next album was 1976's Rocks, which "captured Aerosmith at their most raw and rocking". It went platinum swiftly and featured two FM hits, "Last Child" and "Back in the Saddle", as well as the ballad "Home Tonight", which also charted. Rocks has sold four million copies to date. Both Toys in the Attic and Rocks are highly regarded, especially in the hard rock genre, and appear on such lists as Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and are cited by members of Guns N' Roses, Metallica, and Mötley Crüe as having large influences on their music. Kurt Cobain listed Rocks as one of the albums he thought were most influential to Nirvana's sound in his journal in 1993. Soon after Rocks was released, the band continued to tour heavily, this time headlining their own shows and playing to several large stadiums and rock festivals.

Aerosmith's next album was 1977's Draw the Line. The album's recording was affected by the excesses of the band members, but the record still had memorable moments. The title track charted just shy of the Top 40 and remains a live staple, and "Kings and Queens" also charted. The album went on to sell 2 million copies. The band toured extensively in support of the album, however drug abuse and the fast-paced life of touring and recording began affecting their performances. Lead singer Steven Tyler and lead guitarist Joe Perry became known as "the Toxic Twins" because of their notorious abuse of drugs on and off the stage. While continuing to tour and record into the late 1970s, Aerosmith acted in the movie version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Their cover of the Beatles hit "Come Together" was included in the album's soundtrack and would be the band's last Top 40 hit for nearly 10 years. The live release Live! Bootleg, originally released as a double album, was put out in 1978 and captured the band's rawness during the heyday of the Draw the Line tour. The stand-alone single "Chip Away the Stone" was also released in 1978 and charted at number 77.

1979–1984: Departures of Perry and Whitford, Night in the Ruts and Rock in a Hard Place 

In 1979, the band started work on their next album, Night in the Ruts. Aerosmith decided to go on tour during a break in the recording schedule but tensions within the band were slowly coming to a head. The band's touring schedule brought them to Cleveland Stadium on July 28, 1979, where they headlined the World Series of Rock festival. In a heated argument backstage, Joe Perry's wife, Elissa, threw a glass of milk at Tom Hamilton's wife, Terry. Following the show, Tyler and Perry got into a heated argument when Tyler confronted Perry about his wife's antics, and after the course of the argument Perry quit the band and left (while Tyler claims in his autobiography that he fired Perry from the band). In leaving, Perry took some of the music that he had written with him. Shortly after his departure Perry formed a new band called the Joe Perry Project.

Since there was still work to be done on Night in the Ruts, Aerosmith needed fill-in musicians to take Perry's place on the songs that needed to be recorded to complete the album. Rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford took over some of the lead parts and Richie Supa, the band's longtime writing partner, filled in where needed until the band was able to hire Jimmy Crespo to take over as the full-time guitarist. Night in the Ruts was released in November 1979, but only managed to sell enough records to be certified Gold at the time (it would eventually sell enough to be Platinum certified in 1994). The only single the album spawned, a cover of "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las, peaked at #67 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The tour for Night in the Ruts commenced shortly thereafter but the band found themselves playing in smaller and smaller venues than they were before due to their popularity beginning to wane. Steven Tyler's drug issues were starting to affect his performance and songwriting, and he reached bottom when he collapsed on stage during a show in Portland, Maine in 1980 and did not get up for the remainder of the set. Also in 1980, Aerosmith released its Greatest Hits album. While the compilation didn't chart very high initially, it gained popularity later and has gone on to become the band's bestselling album in the United States, with sales of 11 million copies. In the fall of 1980, Tyler was injured in a serious motorcycle accident, which left him hospitalized for two months, and unable to tour or record well into 1981.

In 1981, Aerosmith began work on their next album, which was titled Rock in a Hard Place and saw them reunite with producer Jack Douglas. Once again, though, they would be forced to deal with another departure. After the first song for the album, "Lightning Strikes", was recorded Brad Whitford departed the band and decided to form a duo with Derek St. Holmes, with whom he recorded a self-titled album that failed to garner much interest. Whitford later joined up with the Joe Perry Project and played with them in 1984.

With Rick Dufay taking Whitford's place, Rock in a Hard Place was released on August 1, 1982. The album reached #32 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Only one single charted, the aforementioned "Lightning Strikes", which peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart. As with the tour for Night in the Ruts, Aerosmith was unable to book larger venues and instead had to rely on filling clubs and theaters, which they struggled to do. At a show in Worcester, Massachusetts, Tyler and Perry reunited and got high backstage before the show. Tyler was so intoxicated that he collapsed on stage again and like before could not get up.

On February 14, 1984, Perry and Whitford saw Aerosmith perform at Boston's Orpheum Theater. Shortly thereafter, discussions began to reintegrate the two into the band and several months later, the original members of Aerosmith reunited. Steven Tyler recalls:

You should have felt the buzz the moment all five of us got together in the same room for the first time again. We all started laughin'—it was like the five years had never passed. We knew we'd made the right move.

 

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Aerosmith - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerosmith http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/