Aerosmith – Draw the Line
Today we wrap up the Aerosmith section of my collection with their 1977 effort ‘Draw the Line’. Again, I have the exact same thing so say about ‘Draw the Line’ as I did about ‘Rocks’ and ‘Toys in The Attic’. They’re great records with a few songs that have been a little overplayed, but the non-radio songs are stronger than most of the hits. Highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t heard it. (I am well that with most records I cover, if you had an interest in the band, then you are probably already familiar with all the music on it, I just needed a concluding sentence for that paragraph, and that’s the best I could come up with.)
Last night I was working on photographing and editing various covers for this project, I try to do at least 10 or 15 a day. While I was doing that, I played all four of my Aerosmith records back to back for the hell of it. I concluded that ‘Rocks’ and ‘Draw the Line’ are my favorites of the four. I think I like the both equally, with ‘Toys in The Attic’ just behind them. ‘Get Your Wings’ is good too, but they weren’t quite there yet. (Though one of my favorite Aerosmith songs, ‘Spaced’ comes from GYW.)
It seems it took them about three albums to truly get their groove, and from there they maintained it for at least a three-record stretch. My buddy Nick has a theory that any band that can put out three killer records in a row, usually established themselves of a classic band or something to that effect. I must say Aerosmith achieved that with ‘Toys in the Attic’, ‘Rocks’, and ‘Draw the Line’. (I really can’t comment on any of the records that came afterward, because I don’t own them and aren’t familiar with them.) If the band were to have broken up after these three records they would probably still be considered one of the greatest hard rock bands from the 1970’s.
The fact that they managed to survive the 1970’s and carry on until the 21st century is an amazingly impressive feat. And when I say survive, I don’t only mean their career. It’s well established that at one point they nearly drank themselves to death. So, the fact they could sober up, revive their career in the late 80’s, and keep it going for another 20 years is unheard of. I may not like anything they did in the last 27 years…Holy fuck I just realized ‘Permanent Vacation’ will be 30 years old this year!!! FUCK I’m old…Anyway, where was I? Oh Yeah, I may not like anything they’ve done in the last 27 years, But I can’t deny that they were very successful and managed to grow their audience to span several generations of music lovers. And it’s not how bands like them, Journey and even Metallica are now. Where people come to their shows because they’re a classic band and it’s just a thing to do and nobody cares about their current records. No from 1987 to at least 1997 Aerosmith were putting out new records that were selling insanely well and had a shit ton of hits on each one. They were just as relevant in the 1990’s as they were in the 1970’s. I can’t think of another band that can claim that.
Another thing I noticed during last night’s spins was that Aerosmith’s fondness for overproduced and overblown ballads did not start in the late 80’s as I always thought it did. It seemed to me through the 90’s Aerosmith keep rewriting and releasing the song ‘Angel’ from ‘Permanent Vacation’ repeatedly. What I realized was it wasn’t ‘Angel’ they were rewriting, no it was actually ‘Seasons of the Whither’ from 1975’s ‘Get Your Wings’. It seems it was with ‘Seasons’ that they stumbled across that formula of ballad writing and they somehow managed to milk that formula for the next 40 odd years with at one imitation of it after another on every album ever since. Hey if ain’t broke, don’t fix it…I guess.
And finally, after hearing all these early Aerosmith records over the last week, I realized that the 80’s hard rock and hair metal scene got its start with this band. Particularly Guns N Roses. Though GNR were their own band with their own sound, they were working off the template that Aerosmith created a decade earlier. When you consider this, it only makes sense that it would have been in the late 80’s that Aerosmith could make such a killer comeback and remain on the scene when all the other 80’s hair metal bands disappeared.
So, to sum this all up, Aerosmith was and is a great band, whose legendary status was earned back in the 1970’s. Whether you like them or not, you can’t deny their success and claim they didn’t work for it. They deserve their place as a pillar in the Pantheon of Rock N Roll. That said, radio has totally killed them for me and I probably won’t listen to these records anytime soon.