In 1970, the first incarnation of Aerosmith formed when vocalist Steven Tyler met guitarist Joe Perry. Tyler, who was originally a drummer, and Perry decided to form a power trio with bassist Tom Hamilton. The group soon expanded to a quartet, adding a second guitarist named Ray Tabano; he was quickly replaced by Brad Whitford, a former member of Earth Inc. With the addition of drummer Joey Kramer, Tyler became the full-time lead singer by the end of year. Aerosmith relocated to Boston at the end of 1970. After playing clubs in the Massachusetts and New York areas for two years, the group landed a record contract with Columbia Records in 1972.
Aerosmith’s self-titled debut album was released in the fall of 1973, climbing to number 166. ‘Dream On’ was released as the first single and it was a minor hit, reaching number 59. The performance of Get Your Wings (1974), the group’s second album benefitted from their constant touring, spending a total of 86 weeks on the chart. Aerosmith’s third record, 1975’s Toys in the Attic, was their breakthrough both commercially and artistically. By the time it was recorded, the band’s sound had developed into a sleek, hard-driving hard rock powered by simple, almost brutal, blues-based riffs. Steven Tyler’s lyrics were filled with double entendres and clever jokes, and the entire band had a street-wise charisma . Toys in the Attic captured the essence of the newly invigorated Aerosmith. ‘Sweet Emotion,’ the slyly funky first single from Toys in the Attic, broke into the Top 40 in the summer of 1975, with the album reaching number 11 shortly afterward. Its success prompted the re-release of the power ballad ‘Dream On,’ which shot into the Top Ten in early 1976. Both Aerosmith and Get Your Wings climbed back up the charts in the wake of Toys in the Attic, peaking at number 21 and 74 respectively. ‘Walk This Way,’ the final single from Toys in the Attic, was released around the time of the group’s new 1976 album, Rocks. Although it didn’t feature a Top Ten hit like ‘Walk This Way,’ Rocks went platinum quickly, peaking at number three. Released late in 1977, Draw the Line was another hit, climbing to number 11 on the U.S. charts.
In addition to another tour in 1978, the band appeared in the movie Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, performing ‘Come Together,’ which eventually became a number 23 hit. Aerosmith recorded Night in the Ruts in 1979, releasing the record at the end of the year. By the time of its release, Joe Perry had left the band to form the Joe Perry Project with vocalist Ralph Morman, basssist David Hull, and drummer Ronnie Stewart. Night in the Ruts performed respectably, climbing to number 14 and going gold, yet it was the least successful Aerosmith record to date. Brad Whitford left the group in early 1980, forming the Whitford-St. Holmes Band with former Ted Nugent guitarist Derek St. Holmes. As Aerosmith regrouped with new guitarists Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay, the band released Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits in late 1980; the record would eventually sell over six million copies. Perry and Whitford returned to the band in 1984 and the group began a reunion tour dubbed ‘Back in the Saddle.’ In 1986, the pair appeared on Run D.M.C.’s cover of ‘Walk This Way,’ along with appearing in the video. ‘Walk This Way’ became a hit, reaching number four and receiving saturation airplay on MTV. ‘Walk This Way’ set the stage for the band’s full-scale comeback effort,Permanent Vacation (1987).
Tyler and Perry collaborated with professional hard rock songwriters like Holly Knight and Desmond Child, resulting in the hits ‘Dude (Looks like a Lady),’ ‘Rag Doll,’ and ‘Angel.’ Permanent Vacation peaked at number 11 and sold over three million copies. Pump, released in 1989, continued the band’s winning streak, reaching number five, selling over four million copies, and spawning the Top Ten singles ‘Love in an Elevator,’ ‘Janie’s Got a Gun,’ and ‘What It Takes.’ Aerosmith released Get a Grip in 1993. Like Permanent Vacation and Pump, Get a Grip was as successful as the band’s previous two records, featuring the hit singles ‘Livin’ on the Edge,’ ‘Cryin’,’ and ‘Amazing.’ In 1994, Aerosmith released Big Ones, a compilation of hits from their Geffen years; it went double platinum shortly after its release.