Toys in the Attic (album)

Last updated

Toys in the Attic
Aerosmith - Toys in the Attic.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 8, 1975 [1]
RecordedJanuary–March 1975
Studio Record Plant, New York City
Label Columbia
Producer Jack Douglas
Aerosmith chronology
Get Your Wings
Toys in the Attic
Singles from Toys in the Attic
  1. "Sweet Emotion"
    Released: May 19, 1975 [2]
  2. "Walk This Way"
    Released: August 28, 1975 [2]
  3. "You See Me Crying"
    Released: November 11, 1975

Toys in the Attic is the third studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released in April 1975 by Columbia Records. [1] Its first single, "Sweet Emotion", was released on May 19 and "Walk This Way" followed on August 28 in the same year. [2] The album is the band's most commercially successful studio LP in the United States, with eight million copies sold, according to the RIAA. [3] In 2003, the album was ranked No. 228 on Rolling Stone 's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. [4] 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". [5]



For Aerosmith's previous album, Get Your Wings , the band began working with record producer Jack Douglas, who co-produced that album with Ray Colcord. In the liner notes to the 1993 reissue of Greatest Hits , it was said by an unnamed member of the group that they "nailed" the album. [2]

According to Douglas, "Aerosmith was a different band when we started the third album. They'd been playing Get Your Wings on the road for a year and had become better players - different. It showed in the riffs that Joe [Perry] and Brad [Whitford] brought back from the road for the next album. Toys in the Attic was a much more sophisticated record than the other stuff they'd done." [6] In the band memoir Walk This Way, guitarist Joe Perry stated, "When we started to make Toys in the Attic, our confidence was built up from constant touring." [7] In his autobiography, Perry elaborated:

Our first two albums were basically comprised of songs we'd been playing for years live in the clubs. With Toys, we started from scratch. Making this record, we learned to be recording artists and write songs on a deadline. In the process, we began to see just what Aerosmith could accomplish. With everyone throwing in ideas, Toys was our breakthrough. That breakthrough was facilitated by Jack Douglas ... In the studio he moved into the slot of the sixth member of the band. [8]

Composition and recording

Aerosmith's third album includes some of their best-known songs, including "Walk This Way", "Sweet Emotion" and the rollicking title track. "Walk This Way" starts with a two-measure drum beat intro by Joey Kramer, followed by the well-known guitar riff by Perry. The song proceeds with the main riff made famous by Perry and Brad Whitford on guitar with Tom Hamilton on an early 1960s Fender Jazz bass. The song continues with rapid-fire lyrics by Steven Tyler. The song originated in December 1974 during a sound check when Aerosmith was opening for the Guess Who in Honolulu, Hawaii. During the sound check, Perry was "fooling around with riffs and thinking about the Meters", a group guitarist Jeff Beck had turned him on to. Loving "their riffy New Orleans funk, especially 'Cissy Strut' and 'People Say'", he asked the drummer "to lay down something flat with a groove on the drums." [9] The guitar riff to what would become "Walk This Way" just "came off [his] hands." [9] Needing a bridge, he:

played another riff and went there. But I didn't want the song to have a typical, boring 1, 4, 5 chord progression. After playing the first riff in the key of C, I shifted to E before returning to C for the verse and chorus. By the end of the sound check, I had the basics of a song. [9]

When singer Steven Tyler heard Perry playing that riff he "ran out and sat behind the drums and [they] jammed." [9] Tyler scatted "nonsensical words initially to feel where the lyrics should go before adding them later." [9] When the group was halfway through recording Toys in the Attic in early 1975 at Record Plant in New York City, they found themselves stuck for material. They had written three or four songs for the album, having "to write the rest in the studio." They decided to give the song Perry had come up with in Hawaii a try, but it didn't have lyrics or a title yet. [9] In 1997, Perry recalled that the idea for the funky, James Brown-influenced "Walk This Way" was inspired by the film Young Frankenstein , which the band had gone to see around the time they were working on the track:

We were working on that song and we took a break to go see the movie in Times Square... and we came to the part where Marty Feldman as Igor limps down the steps of the train platform and says to Gene Wilder, "Walk this way," which Gene does with the same hideous limp. We fell over ourselves because it was so funny in a recognizably Three Stooges mode. [9]

At the hotel that night, Tyler wrote lyrics for the song, but left them in the cab on the way to the studio next morning. He says: "I must have been stoned. All the blood drained out of my face, but no one believed me. They thought I never got around to writing them." Upset, he took a cassette tape with the instrumental track we had recorded and a portable tape player with headphones and "disappeared into the stairwell." He "grabbed a few No. 2 pencils" but forgot to take paper. He wrote the lyrics on the wall at "the Record Plant's top floor and then down a few stairs of the back stairway." After "two or three hours" he "ran downstairs for a legal pad and ran back up and copied them down." [9] The lyrics, which tell the story of a high-school boy losing his virginity, are sung quite fast by Tyler, with heavy emphasis being placed on the rhyming lyrics.

It was bassist Tom Hamilton who came up with the main lick on "Sweet Emotion". In 1997 during a band interview with Alan Di Perna of Guitar World the members discussed the evolution of the song, which owes a debt to the Jeff Beck composition "Rice Pudding" from the album Beck-Ola . [10] Hamilton recalled:

I wrote that line on bass, and I realized I should think of some guitar parts for it if I was ever going to get a chance to present it to the band. I didn't think I ever would ... Steven had the idea of taking that intro riff, which became the chorus bass line under the "sweet emotion" part, and transposing it into the key of E, and making it a really heavy Led Zeppelinesque thing. [10]

Many Aerosmith fans believe that Tyler wrote all of the lyrics to "Sweet Emotion" about the tension and hatred between the band members and Joe Perry's wife. Tyler himself has said that only some of the lyrics were inspired by Perry's wife. It was stated in Aerosmith's tell-all autobiography Walk This Way and in an episode of Behind the Music that growing feuds between the band members' wives (including an incident involving "spilt milk" where Elyssa Perry threw milk over Tom Hamilton's wife, Terry) may have helped lead to the band's original lineup dissolving in the early 1980s. [11]

Hamilton and Tyler also collaborated on "Uncle Salty", with Tyler recalling in his 2001 autobiography, "Here I was thinking about an orphanage when I wrote those lyrics. I'd try to make the melody weep from the sadness felt when a child is abandoned." [12] Of the title track, Tyler added, "Joe was jamming a riff and I started yelling, 'Toys, toys, toys ...' Organic, immediate, infectious ... I just started singing and it fit like chocolate and peanut butter. Joe plays his ass off on that song." [12]

Perhaps the most ambitious recording on the album is "You See Me Crying", a complex piano ballad that was heavily orchestrated. Jack Douglas brought in a symphony orchestra for the song, which was conducted by Mike Mainieri. The song itself was written by Tyler and outside collaborator Don Solomon. Some of the band members became frustrated with the song, which took a long time to complete, due to the many complex drum and guitar parts. The band's label, Columbia Records, was nonetheless very impressed with the song and the recording process. Bruce Lundvall, then-president of Columbia Records walked in on the recording sessions for Toys in the Attic when the band was working on the song and remarked: "You guys got an incredible thing going here. I just came from a Herbie Hancock session and this is much more fun." [13] While Aerosmith were planning the "Back in the Saddle" concert tour and recording the Done with Mirrors album during 1984, a radio DJ played the song. Tyler, who was suffering memory loss at the time from years of drug use, liked "You See Me Crying" so much, he suggested his group record a cover version, only to be told by his bandmate Perry, "It's us, fuckhead." [14]

The album also features a cover of Bullmoose Jackson's "Big Ten-Inch Record," an R&B hit recorded in 1952 and first heard by the band on a tape of Dr. Demento's radio show on KMET. Rather than produce a rock reimagining, Aerosmith's cover largely stays true to the original song, down to its jazz-style instrumentation. In the liner notes to Pandora's Box , Tyler insists that he sings "'cept on my big ten inch..." not suck on my big ten inch," but laments that no one on earth believes him. [15]

In the 1997, Tyler shared his memories about writing and recording several of the LP's tracks with author Stephen Davis:

At the beginning of 1975, the band started working at The Record Plant in New York City for the album that became Toys in the Attic. The sessions for Toys in the Attic were produced by Douglas without Colcord the album was engineered by Jay Messina with assistant engineers Rod O'Brien, Corky Stasiak and Dave Thoener. The songs for Toys in the Attic were recorded with a Spectrasonics mixing board and a 16-track tape recorder. [19]

Perry has stated that he wanted to call the LP Rocks , which would be used for their next studio album. [18]

Reception and legacy

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [20]
Blender Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [21]
Christgau's Record Guide (B+) [22]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [23]

Contemporary reviews were originally mixed. Rolling Stone reviewer Gordon Fletcher compared negatively Toys in the Attic to Get Your Wings which, in his opinion, was "testimony to the band’s raw abilities"; he criticised Douglas' production and wrote that, despite "some good moments," the band did not avoid "instances of directionless meandering and downright weak material." [24] Robert Christgau was more positive and remarked the progress Aerosmith had done in such a short time, both musically and lyrically. [22] Greg Kot called the album a landmark of hard rock. [23]

Reviews have become more positive over time. AllMusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine remarked how Aerosmith "finally perfected their mix of Stonesy raunch and Zeppelin-esque riffing", thanks to "a combination of an increased sense of songwriting skills and purpose", creating on the album a new style which "fully embraced sleaziness" in Tyler's lyrics, backed by "an appropriately greasy" music. [20] In his review for Blender , Ben Mitchell found "Aerosmith firing on all coke-clogged cylinders" on Toys in the Attic, he lauded all the songs in the album and called the arrangement of "You See Me Crying" "a typical ’70s rock extravagance." [21]

When Toys in the Attic was released in April 1975, [1] it eventually peaked at No. 11 on the US Billboard 200 chart, 63 positions higher than Get Your Wings. [25] The single release of "Sweet Emotion" became a minor hit on the Billboard Hot 100 reaching No. 36 in 1975 and "Walk This Way" reached No. 10 on the Hot 100 in 1977. [26]

The album would gain renewed attention in 1986, 11 years after its release, when hip-hop group Run DMC covered "Walk This Way," which helped revive Aerosmith's then-flagging career as well as propel rap music to the mainstream.

Aerosmith make reference to the album and its lyrics in the song "Legendary Child" recorded in 2011. The line "But we traded them toys for other joys" refers to the title of the album and their struggles with addiction. It may also be referring to the title track of the same name. The line "I took a chance at the high school dance never knowing wrong from right" references lyrics from the songs "Walk This Way" and "Adam's Apple" respectively.

Track listing

Side one
1."Toys in the Attic" Steven Tyler, Joe Perry 3:05
2."Uncle Salty"Tyler, Tom Hamilton 4:10
3."Adam's Apple"Tyler4:34
4."Walk This Way"Tyler, Perry3:40
5."Big Ten Inch Record"Fred Weismantel2:16
Side two
1."Sweet Emotion"Tyler, Hamilton4:34
2."No More No More"Tyler, Perry4:34
3."Round and Round"Tyler, Brad Whitford 5:03
4."You See Me Crying"Tyler, Don Solomon5:12


Per liner notes. [19] Track numbers refer to CD and digital releases of the album.




RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada) [32] Platinum100,000^
United States (RIAA) [33] 8× Platinum8,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Related Research Articles

Aerosmith American rock band

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".

<i>Rocks</i> (Aerosmith album) 1976 studio album by Aerosmith

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. The album was one of the first to ship platinum when it was released, and has since gone quadruple platinum.

<i>Draw the Line</i> (Aerosmith album) Fifth (1977) studio album by Aerosmith

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.

<i>Night in the Ruts</i> 1979 studio album by Aerosmith

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 Tyler American singer, songwriter, keyboardist

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 performances, Tyler usually dresses in colorful outfits with his trademark scarves hanging from his microphone stand.

Joe Perry (musician) American musician

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.

Tom Hamilton (musician) American musician (born 1951)

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.

Walk This Way 1975 single by Aerosmith

"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.

<i>Aerosmith</i> (album) 1973 studio album by Aerosmith

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.

<i>Get Your Wings</i> 1974 studio album by Aerosmith

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.

<i>Pump</i> (album) 1989 studio album by Aerosmith

Pump is the tenth studio album by American rock band Aerosmith. It was released on September 12, 1989, by Geffen Records. The album peaked at No. 5 on the US charts, and was certified septuple platinum by the RIAA in 1995.

Sweet Emotion Song by Aerosmith

"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 Record Plant studio.

<i>Devils Got a New Disguise: The Very Best of Aerosmith</i> 2006 greatest hits album by Aerosmith

Devil's Got a New Disguise: The Very Best of Aerosmith is a compilation album by American hard rock band Aerosmith released on October 17, 2006. It has sold more than 265,048 copies in the U.S. as of May 2008.

"Toys in the Attic" is a song by American hard rock band Aerosmith. Written by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, it is the first song and title track from the band's third album Toys in the Attic, their bestselling studio album in the United States. It was released as the B-side to the "You See Me Crying" single in 1975.

<i>Aerosmith Video Scrapbook</i> 1987 video by Aerosmith

Aerosmith Video Scrapbook is a video about the American rock band Aerosmith featuring live material, some promotional videos, and conversations between the band and their families. It was released on VHS in 1987 and laserdisc in 1990. There has yet to be a DVD release. In February 1988 the RIAA certified the release as Gold.

You See Me Crying 1975 single by Aerosmith

"You See Me Crying" is a power ballad by American hard rock band Aerosmith. It was released in 1975 as the last track on the band's breakthrough album Toys in the Attic. A shorter mix of the song was released as the third single from the album in November 1975, but failed to chart. Consequently, the original single is rather rare.

Permanent Vacation Tour

The Permanent Vacation Tour, by American glam metal band Aerosmith, lasted from October 1987 to September 1988. It supported the band's commercially successful comeback album Permanent Vacation, released in September 1987.

Get a Grip Tour

The Get a Grip Tour was a concert tour by American hard rock band Aerosmith that lasted over eighteen months, from early June 1993 to mid-December 1994. The tour was put on in support of the band's third consecutive multi-platinum album Get a Grip, released in April 1993.

Legendary Child 2012 single by Aerosmith

"Legendary Child" is a single by American hard rock band Aerosmith that was released May 24, 2012.

<i>Music from Another Dimension!</i> 2012 studio album by Aerosmith

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.


  1. 1 2 3 Huxley 2015, eBook.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Greatest Hits (CD booklet). Aerosmith. New York City: Columbia Records. 1993. CK 57367.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  3. "RIAA Gold & Platinum Database: search for Aerosmith". Recording Industry Association of America . Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  4. "Toys in the Attic - 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone . April 5, 2010. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
  5. "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame top 500 songs". Archived from the original on May 24, 2007.
  6. Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 226.
  7. Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 227.
  8. Perry & Ritz 2014, p. 146.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Myers 2016.
  10. 1 2 Di Perna, Alan (March 1997). "Aerosmith". Guitar World . Vol. 17 no. 3.
  11. Ford, Mark; Sadlek, Mark (June 26, 2016). Aerosmith: Behind The Music (Television production). VH1. Event occurs at 48:48. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  12. 1 2 Tyler & Dalton 2011, p. 116.
  13. 1 2 Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 231.
  14. Bienstock 2011, p. 119.
  15. Wild, David (1991). Pandora's Box (CD booklet). Aerosmith. New York City, New York: Columbia Records. C3K 86567.
  16. Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 230.
  17. Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 233.
  18. 1 2 3 Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 232.
  19. 1 2 Toys in the Attic (CD booklet). Aerosmith. New York City: Columbia Records. 1993. CK 57362.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  20. 1 2 Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Aerosmith - Toys in the Attic review". AllMusic . Rovi Corporation. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
  21. 1 2 Mitchell, Ben. "Toys in the Attic". Blender . Archived from the original on May 6, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  22. 1 2 Christgau, Robert. "Aerosmith- Consumer Guide Reviews: Toys in the Attic". Robert Christgau . Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  23. 1 2 Kot, Greg. "Aerosmith - Album Guide". Rolling Stone . Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  24. Fletcher, Gordon (July 31, 1975). "Toys In The Attic". Rolling Stone . Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  25. 1 2 "Aerosmith Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard . Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  26. 1 2 3 "Aerosmith Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard . Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  27. "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 24, No. 4, September 20, 1975". Library and Archives Canada. September 20, 1975. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  28. Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 . Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN   0-646-11917-6.
  29. "Top Singles – Volume 20, No. 17, August 09, 1975". Library and Archives Canada. August 9, 1975. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  30. "Aerosmith Chart History: Mainstream Rock Tracks". Billboard . Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  31. "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 19, February 05, 1977". Library and Archives Canada. February 5, 1977. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  32. "Canadian album certifications – Aerosmith – Toys in the Attic". Music Canada.
  33. "American album certifications – Aerosmith – Toys in the Attic". Recording Industry Association of America.