Top 10 Aerosmith Songs of the ’70s
Whether it be a sick Joe Perry riff or a signature Steven Tyler howl, there's always something extraordinary on the Top 10 Aerosmith songs of the '70s. After breaking onto the scene in 1973, the group churned out classic track after classic track to become one of the decade's biggest bands. With stellar albums like 'Rocks,' 'Toys in the Attic,' 'Night in the Ruts,' 'Get Your Wings,' 'Draw the Line,' and their self-titled debut, there was no shortage of tracks to choose from. See what made the cut on our Top 10 Aerosmith Songs of the '70s list.
For a band known for their gritty, in-your-face attack, Aerosmith did occasionally show restraint. 'You See Me Crying' is such a track for the band, with Tyler showing a knack for rock ballads that would serve him well in the decades to come. The song finds the group utilizing piano and a backing orchestra, and due to this complex arrangement, it's rarely played live. The track is also notable for the fact that Brad Whitford plays lead guitar, while Perry takes a step back.
While Aerosmith took this Shangri-La's song and definitely made it their own, they did so with a nod to the past, hiring Mary Weiss from the Shangri-La's to provide backing vocals. 'Remember (Walking in the Sand)' was the lone single off the 'Night in the Ruts' album, and came during a turbulent time for the band. While in the studio, the band's label sent them back on the road to offset some of their growing debt. Joe Perry left the band during the tour after an argument, and 'Remember' became one of the tracks recorded after his exit.
Aerosmith is in fine form on this one, with guitarists Perry and Whitford working off each other to create some nasty guitar interplay, while Joey Kramer's drumming kicking things off with a jolt. In concert, the song has transformed with Perry getting an extended solo to utilize either his guitar or a theramin. Meanwhile, Tyler sings about a night out with a woman named Carrie and trying to keep up with how far the partying will go.
'Mama Kin' has long been one of Aerosmith's best tracks, representative of the period in which it was made. For a band that's known for their two-headed guitar work, 'Mama Kin' is one of the more basic tracks in the band's catalog. A listen to Tyler's vocals let you know this is 1973 and his rasp hasn't been fully developed yet. Though not a big hit for the band, 'Mama Kin' does hold a special place in their heart. They once opened a club named Mama Kin Music Hall in Boston, and Tyler got 'Ma' Kin' tattooed on his arm due to his love for the song and it's message.
The brilliance of Perry and Whitford are on display with 'Last Child,' a favorite from the 'Rocks' album. The song starts off with a slow chugging feel before going into a bluesy stomp. Perry plays the funk chords while Whitford delivers the low notes. In the live setting, this track often turns into Whitford's showcase, as he plays an extended solo before the rest of the band kicks in.
'Same Old Song and Dance' is a significant track in Aerosmith history, as it was the first single released to feature both Tyler and Perry as the writers. The track was built around a Perry riff, with Tyler reportedly coming up with lyrics on the spot as the guitarist played. The track, which would become the lead single off their sophomore set 'Get Your Wings,' has become a live staple, often extended to feature a Tom Hamilton bass jam and a display of Tyler's scatting ability.
The Tyler-Perry songwriting team were back at it on 'Back in the Saddle,' a longtime favorite and clearly one of Aerosmith's top '70s tracks. Perry ceded the lead guitar to Whitford once again and instead plays the song's famous rhythm line on a bass guitar, while Hamilton still gets one of his juiciest bass parts to date. Meanwhile, as is to be expected, Steven Tyler does a fine job of belting and scatting on this song.
Did you know Aerosmith were Mel Brooks fans? 'Walk This Way,' one of the band's biggest singles, came about after the group tired of the studio and went to see a late showing of 'Young Frankenstein' and found the line from the film stuck with them. At the time, the band had music but no lyrics for the song, with Tyler eventually coming up with the rhyme about a young boy trying to score with the ladies. Kramer's drumbeat and Perry's opening guitar riff are among the most recognizable in rock, and the track was selected by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll."
Was there ever a better breakout single by a band than Aerosmith's 'Dream On'? Though technically it followed 'Make It' and 'Mama Kin,' the track became the first song from the band to receive significant airplay. The tune itself came from the mind of Tyler, who claimed that years of lying beneath his classically-trained father's piano gave him the idea for the striking notes that opens the track. It also proved to be a showcase for Tyler's howl, as he reached the highest of highs when getting to the chorus of the anthemic song.
The swampy opening notes of 'Sweet Emotion' are among the most recognizable in music. Add in a little of Perry's talk box magic, and you've got an instant classic. Hamilton, who was the primary songwriter for the track, says he was inspired by Jeff Beck's 'Rough and Ready' and wanted to write something that evoked the way he felt listening to that song. As for the words, he says that was all Tyler: "When I first heard 'Sweet Emotion' with the lyrics on it, I just thought, 'Wow, this is unbelievable.'" We feel the same way too; in fact, we declared it the classic rock song of all time earlier this year.