[12] Aerosmith – Toys In The Attic

28 Jun

I mentioned in the comments section of the first post of this blog that I was unlikely to track a “Seen Live” stat since I feared it would stay at 0% until we reached “S” – sometime around 2028.

I had forgotten that this Aerosmith record made the list.

Days before I first set foot in the Summer Camp that has been my second home and career, I experienced another one of those magical moments that linger forever in memory – The Monsters of Rock Festival at Donnington Park.

With crowd of friends from the University of Sussex Rock Society I danced and sang along to performances by Skin, Terrorvision and – still one of my favorite bands – The Wildhearts.

[In fact I recently saw the Wildhearts play a magnificent 20th anniversary show in New York, performing their 1993 album, Earth Versus, in its entirety. Talk about an album that would have made my 1,000 . . . ]

The final support act was Extreme (a band I appreciated and enjoyed even before they made explicit their debt to Queen) and finally the headline act – a glorious 90 minutes or so from Steve, Joe, Tom, Joey and Brad.

Aerosmith have been a cornerstone of my music collection since the late 80s, and their collaboration with Run DMC on a remix of “Walk This Way” was included on one of the very first albums I ever owned.

Yet somehow I have never owned Toys In The Attic, the 1975 album that ushered Aerosmith into the mainstream and the only one that makes Tom Moon’s list.

Toys In The Attic

Toys In The Attic











I have undoubtedly heard every song hear many, many times, and not just the ubiquitous mega hits, “Walk This Way” and “Sweet Emotion”.

I guess it is possible I never bought it because every single person I knew already owned it.

I’m picturing a Steven Tyler, huge piercing voice screaming out into the night over thousands of fans, bright scarves dangling from his mic stand, doing back flips during his Donnington show as I press play on Toys . . .

And from the first chugging riffs I am transported back to that night. The opening couple of tracks sound like the music The Beatles might have produced in the mid-70s if they had stayed together, all psychedelic harmonies and analog guitar sounds.

Then Joe Perry starts soloing, and it couldn’t be anyone else but Aerosmith. Perry’s solos always work despite the fact that almost inevitably it sounds like he is hearing a different song in his head, so wonderfully loose and unrestrained is his playing.

Aerosmith hit on a formula here that has served them well for decades, the sleazy blues-inspired rock with a harsh electric edge driven by the tightest of rhythm sections. That Steve Tyler’s huge voice and personality gets to wail over some of the most seminal riffs in rock history is almost overkill.

Before I had (to borrow Pat Higgin’s term) “nailed my colours” to the Hair Rock mast, The Run DMC version of “Walk This Way” was a favorite track. The first time I heard Steven Tyler’s grittier, grimier original vocals I would no longer accept any substitute. Here is one of the top two or three frontmen in rock laying out his credentials over the most perfect intersection of rhythm groove, dirty guitar and flat out strut.

I can’t have been the only teenage boy who thought this might possibly be the blueprint for how to be a man.

The big band innuendo of “Big Ten Inch” sounds faithful in all but instrumentation to it’s 50s R&B roots until the moment Tyler’s harmonica drags it into a 12-bar-blues romp. This song, along with “Round and Round” would fit seamlessly on a Queen album of the era.

And then the underwater bassline of “Sweet Emotion” kicks in, and we are in the presence of genius. I just lay back and let the groove and attitude wash over me, and I am left with a feeling of nostalgic bliss.

Despite all of the above superlatives, Toys In The Attic is not my favorite Aerosmith album – I have had too long and sordid a relationship with Pump for a mere week’s fling to dent that love affair – but I agree with Moon that there really is no better place to start.

Owned before blogging? No. (1 of 12. 8%)
Heard before blogging? No. (3 of 12. 25%)
Recommend?                  Yes. (8 of 12. 67%)

Next Week: Mahmoud Ahmed – Ere Mela Mela

5 Responses to “[12] Aerosmith – Toys In The Attic”

  1. Dave Thacker June 28, 2013 at 3:19 PM #

    Joe Perry’s work on No More, No More is to this day one of my favorite bits of guitar playing of all time.

  2. nycavri December 18, 2014 at 8:05 AM #

    Reblogged this on . . . To Hear Before I Blog and commented:

    Throughout December I am going to revisit the first months of this journey, taking time at the end of this year to remember where I’ve been and what I’ve heard.


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    […] “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” respectively (the latter covered by Aerosmith for the Less Than Zero […]

  2. [101] Black Sabbath – Paranoid | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - March 13, 2015

    […] were plenty of vocalists who fared very well under these conditions – Steve Tyler and Brian Johnson to name just two explored to date in the 1,000 – projecting out over the […]

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    […] of Rock radio, this is so much more controlled and restrained that (for example) Aerosmith’s Toys In The Attic or AC/DC’s Back In […]

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