|Studio album by|
|Released||May 14, 1976|
|Singles from Rocks|
Rocks is the fourth studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released in May 1976. AllMusic described Rocks as having "captured Aerosmith at their most raw and rocking." Rocks was ranked number 366 on the updated Rolling Stone 's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2020. It has greatly influenced many hard rock and heavy metal artists, including Guns N' Roses, Metallica, and Nirvana. The album was a commercial success, charting three singles on the Billboard Hot 100, two of which reached the Top 40 ("Back in the Saddle" and "Last Child"). The album was one of the first to ship platinum when it was released, and has since gone quadruple platinum.
Previously, Aerosmith had recorded three albums: Aerosmith (1973), Get Your Wings (1974), and the breakthrough LP Toys in the Attic (1975), which produced Top Ten hit "Walk This Way" and the popular "Sweet Emotion." Although often derided by critics, the band had amassed a loyal fanbase from relentless touring and their ferocious live shows. They also began living the rock-and-roll lifestyle to the hilt, indulging their already considerable appetite for drugs. However, their hedonistic lifestyle did not appear to hamper them creatively; Rocks was considered by many fans, critics, and fellow musicians to be one of the highlights of their career. Guitarist Joe Perry later recalled, "There's no doubt we were doing a lot of drugs by then, but whatever we were doing, it was still working for us."
In the 1997 band memoir Walk This Way, guitarist Brad Whitford states that the band began work on the album by backing the Record Plant's mobile recording truck into their rehearsal space, named the Wherehouse, and "let fly ... We were living the high life and not paying attention to anything except making this record. I had the beginnings of 'Last Child' and 'Nobody's Fault.' Tom [Hamilton, bassist] had 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' that became 'Sick as a Dog.' We had 'Tit for Tat' ... which turned into 'Rats in the Cellar.' We cut all the basic tracks except two there." Producer Jack Douglas later insisted:
Rocks was the album where Tom and Brad had a lot more input and songs ... This was a big album for Aerosmith. It had to make a big statement about how loud and hard they were, how unapologetic they felt about being who they were –this brash, rude, sexual, hard-core rock band.
The album's opening track, "Back in the Saddle", recalls the Gene Autry song "Back in the Saddle Again" (vocalist Steven Tyler yodels on the fade) and features the sound of a whip by whirling a thirty-foot cord in the middle of six Neumann mikes and adding a cap gun for the cracking sound effect. A real bullwhip was intended to be used for the whip effects and hours were spent trying to get it to crack. The band members ended up cut up and hurt without making any progress. The first verse features the sound of clinking spurs, which was actually produced using bells and tambourines strapped to Tyler’s cowboy boots by Perry and New York Dolls singer David Johansen. ... I'm such a Byrds fan; it comes from that." In the same interview Perry added:The song is also notable for the slow buildup of the drum beat and guitar riff in the beginning of the song, as well as the sound effects of a galloping horse. In 1997, Perry explained to Alan di Perna of Guitar World that he was inspired by Peter Green to write the riff on a Fender Bass VI and admitted that he was "very high on heroin when I wrote 'Back in the Saddle.' That riff just floated right through me." Brad Whitford plays the lead guitar part. "Back in the Saddle" also features one of the heaviest and noticeable bass lines by Tom Hamilton. When the song is performed in concert, Steven Tyler often makes more noticeable lyrical and visible references to sex. Although the lyrics, composed by Tyler, were written with the simple idea of cowboys and sex, this song took on new meaning after Aerosmith reunited in 1984 and embarked on their Back in the Saddle tour. Today, the song remains a staple on classic rock radio and in concert. It is arguably one of the heaviest songs of Aerosmith's Top 40 singles, and is cited by rock musicians Slash and James Hetfield as among their favorite rock songs. Hamilton, who had written "Sweet Emotion" with Tyler, collaborated with the singer again on "Sick as a Dog." In 1997 the bassist explained to Guitar World, "I think I came up with the verse part first. And then I did the parts for the intro, the B to E part, and then came up with this little, jangling arpeggio thing
Tom played rhythm guitar on "Sick as a Dog." I played bass for the first half of the song. Then I put the bass down and played guitar in the end, and Steven picked up the bass and played it for the rest of the song –all live in the studio! One take.
In his memoir, Tyler stated that he wrote "Rats in the Cellar" as a "tip of the hat, or an answer to 'Toys in the Attic' ... Meanwhile, in real life, 'Rats' was more like what was actually going on. Things were coming apart, sanity was scurrying south, caution was flung to the winds, and little by little the chaos was permanently moving in." Although it was never a popular Aerosmith number, "Nobody's Fault" remains a favorite of the band's, with Tyler calling it "one of the highlights of my creative career" and Kramer insisting "it's some of the best drumming I did." Tyler claims the lyrics have to do with the band's fear of earthquakes and flying, while "Lick and a Promise" is about the band's determination to deliver a rocking live show. "Combination" features Perry sharing lead vocal duties with Tyler for the first time, and the guitarist admitted in 1997 that the song was "about heroin, cocaine, and me". In his memoir, Tyler calls the line "Walkin' on Gucci wearing Yves St. Laurent/Barely stay on 'cause I'm so goddamn gaunt" the best lyric Perry ever wrote: "It was the truth, it was clever, and it described us to a tee". Regarding his vocal on the song, Perry later commented, "This was touchy because singing was Steven's jealously guarded territory ... Beyond that, anytime the spotlight shone on me I detected a bit of jealousy from the other guys. After a while, though, the band came around and supported me, as long as I sang the song as a semi-duet with Steven." "Home Tonight" features Tyler on piano, Perry on a lap steel guitar as a lead guitar and his Les Paul for the rhythm guitar, and has drummer Joey Kramer, Tom Hamilton, and producer/arranger Jack Douglas performing backing vocals. Of the song Perry recalled, "Steven could always be counted on to come up with some little piano riff that would be our ballad for the record. And that was it."
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|
|The Village Voice||A−|
|The Daily Vault||A|
Contemporary reviews were mixed. John Milward of Rolling Stone wrote that "the material is Rocks’ major flaw, mostly pale remakes of their earlier hits"; concluding that the return to the "ear-boxing sound" of Get Your Wings and Tyler's vocal performance cannot save the album from mediocrity.In The Village Voice , Robert Christgau wrote that Aerosmith were doing a good job of imitating Led Zeppelin, and that after this album the band began to lose steam.
Modern reviews are very positive. Greg Prato of AllMusic describes Rocks as "a superb follow-up to their masterwork Toys in the Attic" that captures "Aerosmith at their most raw and rocking". He writes that "Back in the Saddle" and "Last Child" are among their most renowned songs, but all the "tracks prove essential to the makeup of the album".Ben Mitchell of Blender said that the members' drug use actually helped Rocks. He also called the album "raw." In a November 1994 Los Angeles Times review of Rocks, Jon Matsumoto opined that the record was "arguably is the best heavy metal opus ever concocted".
Many musicians have cited Rocks as a favorite:
I was in seventh grade and just going through the whole 1978 music thing that was happening for kids –which was like Cheap Trick and the Cars. Anyway, there was this chick that I was going after that was considerably older than me ... I'd been trying to be cool enough to take her out and have my way with her ... Finally, I sort of weaseled my way into her apartment. So we're hanging out and she put Rocks by Aerosmith on, and I was mesmerised by it. It was like the be-all-and-end-all, best-attitude, fuckin' hard rock record ... I'd grown up with music, but this was like my record. I must have listened to it about half a dozen times, completely ignored her, and then got on my bike and rode. I was totally in there. I was at least gonna get a decent French kiss out of it, and I completely dropped the ball for Aerosmith, and that was that. It's probably one of the records that sums up my taste in hard rock bands to this day. Meanwhile, she's out there somewhere and I missed it. But it was worth it."
In his autobiography Rocks, Joe Perry states the driving purpose of Rocks "was to reidentify us as America's ultimate garage band, with blistering guitars, blistering vocals, balls-to-the-wall smash-your-eardrums production ... The cover showed five diamonds, one for each of us. We saw that record as a jewel, the culmination of all our angst and anger and excitement and joy as go-for-broke rock and rollers."
|1.||"Back in the Saddle"||Steven Tyler, Joe Perry||4:40|
|2.||"Last Child"||Tyler, Brad Whitford||3:26|
|3.||"Rats in the Cellar"||Tyler, Perry||4:05|
|1.||"Sick as a Dog"||Tyler, Tom Hamilton||4:16|
|2.||"Nobody's Fault"||Tyler, Whitford||4:21|
|3.||"Get the Lead Out"||Tyler, Perry||3:41|
|4.||"Lick and a Promise"||Tyler, Perry||3:05|
Adapted from the liner notes.Track numbers refer to CD and digital releases of the album.
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||4× Platinum||4,000,000^|
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Aerosmith is an American rock band formed in Boston in 1970. The group consists of Steven Tyler, Joe Perry (guitar), Tom Hamilton (bass), Joey Kramer (drums) and Brad Whitford (guitar). Their style, which is rooted in blues-based hard rock, has also incorporated elements of pop rock, heavy metal, glam metal, and rhythm and blues, and has inspired many subsequent rock artists. They are sometimes referred to as "the Bad Boys from Boston" and "America's Greatest Rock and Roll Band". The primary songwriting team of Tyler and Perry is often known as the "Toxic Twins".
Toys in the Attic is the third studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released in April 1975 by Columbia Records. Its first single, "Sweet Emotion", was released on May 19 and "Walk This Way" followed on August 28 in the same year. The album is the band's most commercially successful studio LP in the United States, with eight million copies sold, according to the RIAA. In 2003, the album was ranked No. 229 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The album's title track and Run–D.M.C.'s version of "Walk This Way" are included on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame list of the "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll".
Draw the Line is the fifth studio album by American hard rock band Aerosmith, released in December 1977. It was recorded in an abandoned convent near New York City. The portrait of the band on the album cover was drawn by the celebrity caricaturist Al Hirschfeld.
Night in the Ruts is the sixth studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released in November 1979, by Columbia Records. Guitarist Joe Perry left the band midway through its recording. The album was initially produced at the band's Warehouse rehearsal space by Jack Douglas, who had produced Aerosmith's previous four albums, but later Columbia Records brought in Gary Lyons to replace Douglas as the producer.
Steven Victor Tallarico, known professionally as Steven Tyler, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, actor, and former television personality. He is best known as the lead singer of the Boston-based rock band Aerosmith, in which he also plays the harmonica, piano, and percussion. He is known as the "Demon of Screamin'" due to his high screams and his wide vocal range. He is also known for his on-stage acrobatics. During his high-energy performances, Tyler usually dresses in bright, colorful outfits with his trademark scarves hanging from his microphone stand.
Joseph Anthony Pereira, professionally known as Joe Perry, is an American musician and songwriter who is best known as the founding member, lead guitarist, backing and occasional lead vocalist of the American rock band Aerosmith.
Thomas William Hamilton is an American musician, best known as the bassist for the hard rock band Aerosmith. He has regularly co-written songs for Aerosmith, including two of the band's biggest hits: "Sweet Emotion" (1975) and "Janie's Got a Gun" (1989). Hamilton occasionally plays guitar, sings backing vocals and on rare occasions, lead vocals.
Bradley Ernest Whitford is an American musician who is best known for serving as the rhythm and co-lead guitarist for the hard rock band Aerosmith. He has also worked as a songwriter for the group, co-composing well-received tracks such as 1976's "Last Child".
"Walk This Way" is a song by the American hard rock band Aerosmith. Written by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, the song was originally released as the second single from the album Toys in the Attic (1975). It peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1977, part of a string of successful hit singles for the band in the 1970s. In addition to being one of the songs that helped break Aerosmith into the mainstream in the 1970s, it also helped revitalize their career in the 1980s when it was covered by hip hop group Run-D.M.C. on their 1986 album Raising Hell. This cover was a touchstone for the new musical subgenre of rap rock, or the melding of rock and hip hop. It became an international hit and won both groups a Soul Train Music Award for Best Rap Single in 1987 Soul Train Music Awards.
Aerosmith is the eponymous debut studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released on January 5, 1973, by Columbia Records. "Dream On", originally released as a single in 1973, became an American top ten hit when re-released in December 1975. The album peaked at number 21 on the US Billboard 200 album chart in 1976.
Get Your Wings is the second studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released in March 1974. The album is their first to be produced by Jack Douglas, who also was responsible for the band's next three albums. Three singles were released from the album, but none of them reached the singles charts.
Nine Lives is the twelfth studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released on March 18, 1997. The album was produced by Aerosmith and Kevin Shirley, and was the band's first studio album released by Columbia Records since 1982's Rock in a Hard Place. It peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. One of the album's singles, "Pink", won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Until, Music from Another Dimension!, Nine Lives was their longest album, tied closely with their previous Get a Grip both having total track time of 62 minutes.
"Sweet Emotion" is a song by the American rock band Aerosmith, released by Columbia Records in April 1975 on the album Toys in the Attic and was released as a single a month later on May 19. The song began a string of pop hits and large-scale mainstream success for the band that would continue for the remainder of the 1970s. The song was written by lead singer Steven Tyler and bassist Tom Hamilton, produced by Jack Douglas and recorded at the Record Plant.
"Dream On" is a power ballad by Aerosmith from their 1973 debut album, Aerosmith. Written by lead singer Steven Tyler, this song was their first major hit and became a classic rock radio staple. Released in June 1973, it peaked at number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 but hit big in the band's native Boston, where it was the number one single of the year on WBZ-FM, number five for the year on WRKO and number 16 on WMEX (AM). The song also received immediate heavy airplay on the former WVBF (FM), often showing up in the #1 position on "The Top Five at Five" in June 1973.
"Rag Doll" is a song by American rock band Aerosmith. It is from the 1987 album Permanent Vacation. It was released as the final single from the album in 1988. It was written by Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Jim Vallance, and Holly Knight.
"Back in the Saddle" is a song by American hard rock band Aerosmith. It was written by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. It is the first track on Aerosmith's hard rock album Rocks released in 1976. The song was also released as the third single from the album in 1977. It peaked at #38 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Live! Bootleg is a double live album by American hard rock band Aerosmith, released in October 1978. While most of the performances were drawn from concerts in 1977 and 1978, "I Ain't Got You" and "Mother Popcorn" were taken from a radio broadcast of a Boston performance on March 20, 1973.
"Nobody's Fault" is a song by American hard rock band Aerosmith. It is the sixth track on Aerosmith's fourth studio album Rocks, released in 1976. It was written by guitarist Brad Whitford and lead singer Steven Tyler. Whitford often cites it as his favorite Aerosmith song.
The Global Warming Tour, by American hard rock band Aerosmith, included 82 concert performances across North America, Oceania, Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
Music from Another Dimension! is the fifteenth studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released on November 6, 2012 by Columbia Records. This is their first studio album since 2004's Honkin' on Bobo and the first to feature all-new material since 2001's Just Push Play, marking the longest gap between Aerosmith's studio albums. The album was released in a single CD edition, along with a deluxe version. It is the last album in Aerosmith's recording contract with Sony/Columbia Records and was produced by Jack Douglas, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Marti Frederiksen. It is also their longest studio album with total track time of nearly 68 minutes.