It’s perhaps fitting that I should start this blog with a review of an album by Aerosmith, the band that first turned me onto music. I had toyed with music before I discovered Aerosmith, but once I heard this band it was like an addiction.
I can’t remember what I first heard this album, their debut. I can get very anal when collecting music, and I’ll tend to collect a band’s back catalogue in chronological order where possible. I remember buying 1989’s Pump first – on CD – followed by 1975’s Toys In The Attic – on cassette while on holiday. I had a well-thumbed article on them from a music magazine (published around 1993) which listed all of their albums, and this probably sent me back to Aerosmith (1973) next, to hear how it all began.
It’s an odd album in comparison to the rest of their 1970s output. The most startling thing is Steven Tyler’s voice – sounding very different to the raspy vocals he would later be known for, and sounding more like a black vocalist. Thankfully he had dropped this by the time of their sophomore effort, 1974’s Get Your Wings.
The songs are a solid bunch of R&B rockers, more in the style of English rock n’ roll than the post-Woodstock tired psychedelia coming out of the rest of America in the very early 70s. Like other debuts, the material sounds very grounded and you can imagine the band having toured the hell out of these songs before they even stepped near a recording studio.
I have a great bootleg of the band doing a radio performance of this album just after its release in 1973 (the same radio performance that lends I Ain’t Got You and Mother Popcorn to 1978’s Live! Bootleg). It’s fantastic, and really shows that they knew the songs inside out by the time they were promoting the album.
There must be loads of albums like this from the 1970s – solid rock n’ roll efforts showing a lot of promise but maybe haven’t endured long enough to survive into the digital age. Upon release this album only did local business – enough to keep the band on tour and afloat until they could get back in the studio – but Dream On was re-released in 1976, hit the US Top Ten and by then Aerosmith was one of the biggest rock bands in the country.
Hit: Dream On
Hidden Gem: One Way Street