Aerosmith is a long-running hard rock band, originally forming in Boston, Massachusetts in the early 1970s, and enjoying a later resurgence in popularity in the late 1980s.
The original lineup included Steven Tyler (lead vocals), Joe Perry (guitar) and Tom Hamilton (bass guitar), soon adding Ray Tabano as a second guitarist, then replacing him with Brad Whitford (formerly of Earth Inc.). Tyler, who was originally a drummer and singer, became a full-time vocalist when drummer Joey Kramer joined. After some local success doing live shows, Aerosmith signed with Columbia Records in 1972 and issued a debut album, Aerosmith that included a minor hit single, "Dream On". After constant touring, the band released Get Your Wings (1974), which did quite well on the charts.
It was 1975's Toys in the Attic that established Aerosmith as international stars. Originally derided as Rolling Stones knockoffs, Toys in the Attic showed that Aerosmith was a talented band in their own right. Part heavy metal, part glam rock, and part punk music, Toys in the Attic was an immediate success, starting with the single "Sweet Emotion", then a successful re-release of "Dream On", and a new song from the album, "Walk This Way". Both of the band's previous albums re-charted. Aerosmith's next album, Rocks, went platinum swiftly and featured two FM hits, "Back in the Saddle" and "Last Child".
The next album, Draw the Line, was not as successful, though the title track proved to be a minor hit (and is still a live staple). While continuing to tour and record into the late 1970s, Aerosmith acted in the movie version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, covering the Beatles hit "Come Together." As their popularity waned and drug abuse began affecting their output, Joe Perry left the band during the recording of their sixth studio album Night in the Ruts in 1979 and formed The Joe Perry Project. Perry was replaced first by longtime band friend and songwriter Richie Supa and then by guitarist Jimmy Crespo (formerly of the band Flame) who recorded the remainder of the album.
Aerosmith released its mammoth-selling Greatest Hits album in 1980 and in 1981 the band suffered another loss with the departure of Brad Whitford. Whitford was replaced by Rick Dufay and the band recorded their seventh album Rock in a Hard Place. The album was considered a relative failure.
On Valentine's Day 1984, Perry and Whitford saw Aerosmith play. They were officially re-inducted into the ranks of Aerosmith once more in April of that year. Steven Tyler recalls, "You should have felt the buzz the moment all five of us got together in the same room for the first time again. We all started laughin'—it was like the five years had never passed. We knew we'd made the right move."
Aerosmith embarked on a lucrative reunion tour entitled "Back in the Saddle", which produced the live album Classics Live II. Their problems still not behind them (Tyler collapsed onstage due to drug problems early in the tour), the group was signed to Geffen Records and began working on a comeback.
1985 saw the release of Done with Mirrors, their first studio album since the much-publicized reunion. It fared relatively well commercially, but it did not produce a hit single or generate much buzz. By the time the record was released, Tyler and Perry had exited drug rehabilitation. The group appeared on Run D.M.C.'s massively successful cover of "Walk This Way", blending rock and roll and hip hop and beginning Aerosmith's comeback. The group's next release was Permanent Vacation (1987), which included the hits "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)", "Rag Doll", and "Angel". Their next album was received even better; Pump featured four Top Ten singles: "Janie's Got a Gun", "What It Takes", "Love in an Elevator", and "The Other Side", reestablishing Aerosmith as a serious musical force again.
Despite significant shifts in mainstream music at the beginning of the 1990s, the band's 1993 follow-up to Pump, Get a Grip, was just as successful commercially. Though many critics were unimpressed by the focus on power-ballads in promoting the album, all three ("Cryin", "Crazy" and "Amazing") proved to be huge successes on radio and MTV. The music videos featured then up-and-coming actress Alicia Silverstone; her provocative performances earned her the title of "the Aerosmith chick" for the first half of the decade. Steven Tyler's daughter Liv Tyler was also featured in the "Crazy" video.
Aerosmith signed to Columbia Records again in the early 1990s, but they had to complete two contractual albums for Geffen before recording for the new label. The next album, Nine Lives, was plagued with personnel problems, including the firing of manager Tim Collins. Reviews were generally mixed, and Nine Lives initially fell down the charts quickly, though it had a long chart life and sold double platinum in the US alone. It was followed by a series of late '90s releases (live and retrospective) that sold respectably but began a second decline in popularity and critical respect. Yet Aerosmith's biggest hit of the '90s, and its only #1 single to date, was the love theme from the film Armageddon, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (conceived by Joe Perry and Diane Warren, though Warren alone received songwriting credit). (Perhaps coincidentally, Steven Tyler's daughter Liv was featured in the movie.)
In 1999, they were featured in the Disney-MGM Studios (and later in a Disney Studios Paris version in 2001) ride, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, providing the soundtrack and theme of the ride, which is based on their recording session and following concert.
The band entered its next decade with Just Push Play in 2001, which charted well. They were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the same year.
Their long-promised blues album, Honkin' on Bobo was released in 2004. Honkin' on Bobo continues to be a success for the resurgence of blues and roots music across the US and Europe. The album was followed by a live DVD, You Gotta Move in December 2004. The band also lent its seminal "Dream On" to an advertising campaign for Buick in 2004, targeting that marque's audience which is now composed largely of people who were teenagers when the song first charted.
In 2005, guitarist Joe Perry released his eponymous solo album. Many claim that it is in many ways truer to the Aerosmith of the '70s than any of their recent output, mostly because no song doctors were used. Personnel around the band confirmed in the spring of 2005 that the band was sifting through material for a live CD and DVD release and are planning a tour in the fall of 2005, followed by a studio album release of new material.