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.