Aerosmith is an American rock band that started in New Hampshire in 1970 before moving to Boston in a push to make it to the big time. Their path to success proved to be a long one. Although they developed a local cult following in Boston they were having trouble breaking out of that local market. The band finally took things into their own hands inviting Clive Davis of Columbia Records fame to see them at Max’s Kansas City in New York City. Unfortunately, Aerosmith was not scheduled to play in the club that night and ended up having to pay to perform. Their investment was rewarded with a Columbia recording contract.
Aerosmith’s self titled first album was released on January 13, 1973 but it failed to garner critical acclaim or significant sales. They released their best song from the album, Dream On, as a single but it also failed to have any significant success (we will talk more about Dream On in a later post). Fortunately the band didn’t give up! They hit the road touring, taking their case to the American people. Their relentless touring was a major factor in them eventually achieving the level of success that they deserved..
While Dream On clearly had the best chance of becoming a hit single for Aerosmith, the song that immediately caught my attention on their first album was Mama Kin. Let’s listen….
From the first time I heard Aerosmith, I kind of thought about them as America’s answer to the Rolling Stones. This feeling was reinforced when I caught them on one of their early tours. The on-stage interplay between Steven Tyler and Joe Perry was great and Steven was a fearless performer. There was a big curtain blocking the stage as Aerosmith’s equipment was set up the first time I went to see them around 1974. When the curtain finally started to rise Steven danced out to edge of the stage as the band started to play. The curtain malfunctioned about half way up and it rolled back down trapping the band behind the curtain and Steven on the edge of the stage in front of the curtain. No one missed a beat! Steven spent the whole first song dancing on about 6 inches of stage in front of the curtain until the roadies fixed the problem and finally got the curtain raised. It was a great moment….Steven acted like that was exactly the way they planned it. He was super cool and I was impressed.
I wish I had a video of that performance to show you but unfortunately I don’t. Instead, here’s a TV appearance from 1974 with the band playing Train Kept A Rollin.
While Aerosmith’s first album is by no means my favorite it was certainly enough to get my attention and make me look forward to better things that I knew would come in their subsequent albums. If you are interested in hearing more of their first album, you can listen to the whole thing below. I think you will say it was time well spent.