Aerosmith “Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits”

It’s 1980 and time to be old. This record looks like they were feeling old, or else being pressured to pay their coke bill. There are enough good songs from their 2nd and 3rd album to make a single greatest hits record, sure, but the problem is trying to come up with songs from the rest of them. Though, actually, “Dream On,” which starts this collection, sounds better to me now than it ever did. “Last Child,” from Rocks, which I’ve never heard before, sounds okay. “Back In The Saddle,” however, is something I’m afraid I HAVE heard before but had stored in some dark recess of my mind where things like images of repair guys’ butt cracks and squashed animals, and backed up public toilet smells, and TV shows from my childhood go, hopefully never to be dredged up.

Even as late as the late 1970s, I guess popular musicians weren’t able to escape the Lennon/McCartney cover curse, as in EVERYONE had to do one, and they are usually the most unlistenable songs on the record. “Come Together” isn’t horrible, it’s pretty much exactly like The Beatles version but about ten percent less fresh. That they included “Kings and Queens” on this record completely baffles me, but hey, a few days ago I’d NEVER heard it, and now I’ve listened to it several times, so I guess the jokes on me! “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” could pretty much mark the beginning of the Eighties, lamest decade of all time, or the End of Rock’n’roll, or the end of Aerosmith, or the end of all humanity, or it could just be a series of bad decisions (writing it, learning it, playing it, recording it, putting it on a record, putting it on THIS record).

The best two songs, “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk This Way” happen to be from Aerosmith’s best record, Toys in the Attic. This is why I love the internet; listening to “Walk This Way” compelled me to search for “cowbells in music” and I pretty much spent a couple of hours then reading crazy people writing about how great the cowbell is, including in this song. Of course, I agree– and I’ve always thought that little cowbell bit was what made a good song a great song. Boy, they really knew how to not overdo it, on this song, as excessive as it is in many ways.

You always have to wonder what it would be like to do some kind of art, like say playing rock music, and suddenly find yourself a commodity. To have some completely soulless money counters putting out a “greatest hits” of your work. I mean, I can’t imagine how weird it must feel! This record kind of documents, for me, the problem of the whole endeavor. Listen to side one, then side two—it’s an amazing illustration of what LEAN sounds like, and what BLOATED sounds like, side by side.


3 Responses to “Aerosmith “Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits””

  1. April 21, 2008 at 11:03 am

    I’m no Aerosmith fan, but they were just one of a number of bands you couldn’t avoid in hi-skule in the 70s or kollidge in the early 80s. Some of their songs I didn’t mind hearing on the radio sometimes, but I dont’ have any of their records and I doubt I ever will. My comments though: “Remember (W.I.T.S.)” is a cover of an old 60s girl group song – I think the same group that did “Leader of the Pack”, but I’m not sure. The original is still really weird, but but way better than Aerosmith’s.
    I had completely forgotten that they’d had a hit with that Beatles cover. I remember hearing it on the radio, and, being a big Beatles fan, totally hating it.

    Oh, but I really did like it when Run DMC did a cover of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” and even had whatshisface from Aerosmith sing on it. They kind of forced Aerosmith out of retirement too, I think, and back into active rocking status for like a whole nother decade and a half after that. THANKS Run DMC. Not.

  2. 2 Kiki
    May 12, 2008 at 1:42 am

    That’s so smart to search cowbells in music.
    And I agree with Jeff, Run DMC had a huge impact on Aerosmith’s career. Those dudes ought to pay a commission.

  3. May 14, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    There was this kind of cheap, dive apartment building in downtown Portland where I looked at a scary one room windowless apartment, and I looked at the sign board where the names of the residents (all men) were listed and there were THREE Steven Tylers! I figured that one of them HAD to be the singer for Aerosmith, you know, sharing a bathroom down the hall with alcoholics, keeping it real.

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