Members: Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer, Joe Perry, Steven Tyler, and Brad Whitford
Origin: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Years Active: 1970 – Present
Inspired by British Rock acts like The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith formed in Boston in 1970. The band developed a Hard Rock sound and performed an exciting live show, which lead to a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1972. The group released their self-titled debut album in 1973. “Dream On” was issued as the single from the debut and it eventually became a hit. The band’s success would soon soar with their next several releases.
Aerosmith’s third album, 1975’s Toys in the Attic, remains one their most successful studio records in the United States at over 8 million copies sold. It contains two of the group’s most iconic songs, “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk this Way.” Aerosmith’s fourth album, Rocks, was released in 1976. On the record the band expanded their sound to include Heavy Metal and it was another commercial success, as well as being critically acclaimed.
In 1977, Aerosmith’s fifth album came out and by that point the band had written, recorded, released, and toured for a new album every year since 1973. The constant work cycle exacerbated by substance abuse wore down the camaraderie shared amongst the members. Guitarist Joe Perry left the band during the making of their sixth album in 1979. Similarly, guitarist Brad Whitford departed from the group in 1981 while Aerosmith recorded their seventh album. The band continued on with new members but their tours experienced dwindling attendance numbers and their album sales declined.
The original members of Aerosmith reunited in 1984 and resumed recording new material and touring but without much reward. The band’s fortunes changed when singer Steven Tyler and Joe Perry collaborated with the influential and popular Hip Hop group Run-DMC on a revamp of “Walk This Way” in 1986. The new recording brilliantly brought together Rock and Hip Hop. The single was a huge success and introduced Aerosmith to a new generation of listeners. They also became more familiar to their growing audience thanks to the enormous popularity of the song’s music video on the recently launched music video channel, MTV. This would not be the last time the band experienced renewal and success via the channel.
In 1993, Aerosmith released a trio of technically savvy music videos for each of their three new singles. This brought them to the attention of another new generation of younger music fans. The next year, they made history when they released their song, “Head First.” The track was the first single to be available for digital download. In 1998, and 25 years after the release of their first album, Aerosmith secured its first Number One single on Billboard with the power ballad, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” Over the next decades, the band continued to release new and successful albums as well as perform globally. In 2019, the group began a concert residency in Las Vegas and a subsequent tour in anticipation of their 50th anniversary.
According to numerous sources and certifications, Aerosmith is the best-selling American Hard Rock band, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide, with over 75 million in the United States. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Aerosmith’s influence can be heard in numerous bands, including Mötley Crüe, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, and The Struts.