Thursday, September 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Rocks, by Aerosmith


By the mid-70's Aerosmith had become a widely recognized and respected name in the world of rock n' roll. They had already gotten much notoriety with their third album Toys in the Attic and were now building up momentum. On May 3, 1976 the band released Rocks which captured them at their rawest and most hard rocking. It spawned three successful singles which are still kept in Aerosmith's live repertoire to this day and has since gone quadruple platinum.  

Rocks is also cited by bands like Guns N' Roses and Metallica as a direct inspiration for their own music. In a way it was the blue print for an entire generation of hard rock bands to come. What is interesting about Rocks is that many of the members of Aerosmith switched instruments for many of the songs. For example: lead guitarist Joe Perry plays six string bass on Back in the Saddle, bassist Tom Hamilton plays guitar on Sick as a Dog, vocalist Steven Tyler plays bass on Sick as a Dog and piano on everything else that had any keys in it, etc.

Last Child is one of the most popular tunes from Rocks. I remember it being one of the first songs I learned on guitar. It's quite funky, which was kind of odd for an Aerosmith song at that point. However, it has a nice slow to mid tempo groove that you can easily move to the rhythm of. Naturally when Steven Tyler wrote it with rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford he was sure to include as many double entendres in the lyrics as possible. Big surprise, right? Oddly enough this song has banjo in it, played by Paul Prestopino. I personally have never heard any banjo in it, but I suppose if you were to listen close enough you would find it.

The tune Nobody's Fault is arguably the heaviest song on the album besides Back in the Saddle. I personally like how ambient the intro is before it slams into an awesome rocking tune. I can't get over how Steven Tyler just howls over the heavy riff. Plus, Joe Perry's soloing makes you just want to get up and air guitar right along with him. I think it is at this point that Aerosmith really transcended to a whole new level of hard rock. I'm not the only one who has noticed this either. Slash and James Hetfield both cite it as their favorite Aerosmith song and has been covered to death by countless bands. Drummer Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford both list it as one of their absolute favorite Aerosmith songs.

Personally, I totally get why Rocks has been such a major influence on so many musicians and is even highly beloved by the general public. I remember when I first bought the CD as a teenager I had it on repeat the entire weekend because of how blown away I was. I also fondly remember that doing so pissed my dad off. It was great. If you want to hear Aerosmith at their prime, this is the album to go with. It's where I feel they hit their peek. It's all killer and no filler. Go get it if you don't have it already!

Rocks, by Aerosmith receives 5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Back in the Saddle
2. Last Child
3. Rats in the Cellar
4. Combination
5. Sick as a Dog
6. Nobody's Fault
7. Lick and a Promise
8. Home Tonight

Buy the album on Amazon:

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