With AEROSMITH set for another massive summer tour, the iconic and pioneering band has one more reason to celebrate in 2015: the 40th anniversary of the release of their landmark album TOYS IN THE ATTIC. Released April 8, 1975 , the album was AEROSMITH’s third release, becoming an eight-time platinum album and yielding such immortal tracks as “Walk This Way” and “Sweet Emotion.”
Critical support for the album included:
Gordon Fletcher’s Rolling Stone album review (7/31/1975) noted: “a five-piece Boston hard-rock band with almost unlimited potential…Aerosmith can be very good…and material like ‘Walk This Way,’ ‘Sweet Emotion’ and the title cut adequately proves this…”
Robert Christgau gave the album a B+ review for Consumer Guide saying, “These boys are learning a trade in record time…Tyler has a gift for the dirty line as well as the dirty look–anybody who can hook a song called ‘Adam’s Apple’ around the phrase ‘love at first bite’ deserves to rehabilitate a blue blues like ‘Big Ten Inch Record.’”
All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine added: “The success of the album derives from a combination of an increased sense of songwriting skills and purpose. Not only does Joe Perry turn out indelible riffs like ‘Walk This Way,’ ‘Toys in the Attic”…but Steven Tyler has fully embraced sleaziness as his artistic muse. Taking his cue from the old dirty blues ‘Big Ten Inch Record,’ Tyler writes with a gleeful impishness about sex throughout Toys in the Attic , whether it’s the teenage heavy petting of ‘Walk This Way,’ the promiscuous ‘Sweet Emotion,’ or the double-entendres of ‘Uncle Salty’ and ‘Adam’s Apple.’ The rest of Aerosmith, led by Perry’s dirty, exaggerated riffing, provide an appropriately greasy backing. Before Toys in the Attic, no other hard rock band sounded like this…Aerosmith was a gritty, street-wise hard rock band who played their blues as blooze and were in it for a good time; Toys in the Attic crystallizes that attitude.”
Highlights from a VH1.COM (4/7/15) piece entitled “‘Toys in the Attic’ Turns 40: Ranking The Songs On Aerosmith’s Classic Album,” include: “You See Me Crying,” on which “rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford…cascades luscious licks atop the song’s crescendo, turning its closing moments–as well as the album’s–into a breathless rush of, indeed, sweet emotion.” On “Round and Round,” Joey Kramer’s “initial climbing drums that collapse into a cosmic stomp,” while “‘Sweet Emotion’ seems to float up out of a desert heat-storm, powered by Tom Hamilton’s looping bass-line…” And on “Walk This Way”: “Joey Kramer’s stuttering kick-off drumbeats on ‘Walk This Way’ blow open a path for Joe Perry’s guitar riff, which is arguably his most famous and inarguably one of the most perfect in all of rock.” The title track is “a tsunami of [Whitford’s] guitar and [Kramer’s] drums and [Hamilton’s] bass that somehow go backward and forward at the same time.”
Beyond the critical acclaim TOYS IN THE ATTIC generated, musicians have honored the work–which reached #11 on the Billboard album charts–by covering a variety of the album’s tracks. Most notably, “Walk This Way,” a 1986 Billboard Top 4 singlecollaboration with Run–D.M.C. and a pivotal song in the burgeoning rock-rap genre, featured TYLER (on co-lead vocals) and PERRY (guitar). The track went on to become an international hit and earned both groups a Soul Train Music Award for Best Rap-Single (1987). In 1999, AEROSMITH and Run–D.M.C. teamed up again to perform the song, this time with Kid Rock at the MTV Video Music Awards. A few years later, AEROSMITH again performed the song–accompanied by NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly–to an international viewing audience as part of the Super Bowl XXXV halftime show (January 2001). Additional accolades for “Walk This Way”include inclusions in: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll; Rolling Stone ranked the original version of “Walk This Way” at #346 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, while the version with Run–D.M.C. is ranked at #293; “VH1: 100 Greatest Rock Songs” included “Walk This Way” at #35 (2000); Q magazine placed it at #23 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks (2005); Rolling Stone ranked the original version of “Walk This Way” at #34 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time (2008); VH1’s “100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs” included “Walk This Way” at #8 and VH1 ranked the version with Run–D.M.C. at #4 on VH1 100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs (2009).
Other recorded covers from TOYS IN THE ATTIC include R.E.M.’s 1986 version of “Toys in the Attic,” a B-side to “Fall on Me”; the track also appears on the band’s Dead Letter Office, as well as the 1993 reissue of Life’s Rich Pageant; The String Cheese Incident’stake on “Walk This Way” appears on the jam/bluegrass band’s 1997 self-titled live album A String Cheese Incident; and Boston ska band The Mighty Mighty Bosstones included “Sweet Emotion” on their EP Where’d You Go? Other cover versions include Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon, The Answer, Warrant and Ratt on “Sweet Emotion”; Velvet Revolver on “No More No More”; and Sum 41 along with rappers Ja Rule and Nelly on “Walk This Way.”
Up next for AEROSMITH, beginning June 13, the band will return to the road with their“Blue Army Tour 2015.” The trek will take the band’s all original members–Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Joey Kramer, Tom Hamilton, and Brad Whitford–to 15 cities before concluding in Grand Rapids, MI on Tuesday, August 4. Immediately following the tour, AEROSMITH will perform on Friday, August 7 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s first-ever Concert for Legends. The concert–part of the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival–will pay tribute to the legends of the game on the eve of the Enshrinement for the Class of 2015.