Aerosmith’s Self-Titled Debut Album Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary

Today marks the 40th anniversary of American hard rock group Aerosmith‘s self-titled debut album Aerosmith. Although not a success when first released, Aerosmith later became a big hit, while the band has gone on to become a somewhat musical institution in the annals of rock, especially anchored by the success of the album’s rock and roll classic musical stalwart track “Dream On.”

After playing a gig at the famed Max’s Kansas City, the former New York City restaurant/hip nightclub which showcased a virtual who’s who of acts ranging from Lou Reed to Patti Smith and other early pre-punk bands, Aerosmith caught the ear of Columbia Records’ czar Clive Davis, who signed the band to a record deal. Originally hailing from Boston, and kind of a cross between The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and even a little Yardbirds and old Alice Cooper Band and other hard rock acts of that skein, Aerosmith was anchored and propelled by two major factors: the rusting, rock-by-numbers attack of Joe Perry, who played his guitar with a sure-footed and self-assured smirking style, and the band’s front man, Steven Tyler, the engorged-lipped, uninhibited long-haired and charismatic singer, who while in current times has let his indulgences and bizarre career turns (American Idol judge) almost leaving him in extreme self-parody, is anything but here on the band’s first album, and a few albums that followed during the 1970s.

The album had a very slow, meticulous, but steady climb up the charts when first released on January 5, 1973. “Dream On,” the main single from the album, did rather mediocre when it peaked at just under #60 on the Billboard Top 100 in the summer of ’73. It wasn’t until 1976, that the band and the song was rediscovered, a by-product of touring, radio play, and subsequent albums that started to push Aerosmith into the rock mainstream of sorts.

But make no mistake, the debut release remains a grand piece of musical granite, a jet-black piece of sonic batholite, an atomic dirty electric blues thrust in the auditory canal of one’s soul and being. From the both barrels opening of “Make It” to “Somebody,” the shuffle of “One Way Street,” with its mama-get-your-groove-on-and-get-down on “Mama’s Kin,” the cover of Rufus Thomas’ “Walkin’ The Dog,” and of course the arguable apex of the record, the surrealistically naïve, wonderful strains of the still gets the lighters out swaying back and forth when played ballad “Dream On,” Aerosmith still holds up in any hard rock circle to this very day and now, with the 40th Anniversary of its release being reached, it also remains a milestone.

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