[Review] Aerosmith (1973)

Glam, southern rock and hard rock come together on Aerosmith’s classic debut.

Kronomyth 1.0: The stuff dreams are made of.

Kronomyth 1.0 in the constellation of Aerosmith, in which a new pair of glimmer twins inched out of the rock forest from an unmythical place called Massachusetts. They brought with them the promise of a dream, a relative of some renown (Mama Kin) and a six-pack of steaming hot, revamped boogie rock in their parcel. At the head of the troupe stood Steven Tyler: a sexual sometimes sage-like creature with a rapid-fire delivery that could only come from such an improbably wide mouth. There was a glimmer of glam-like sauciness to them, a southern swagger and a northern malcontentedness in their music that marked them as a new breed. But they were young, their shimmering single belied their years, and while their first offing boded well it brought only a little reputation at first rather than riches.

The real adventures were waiting down the interstellar road apiece. What was here stoked only a small mythology about smoking tea and the dubious teachings of a would-be wizard named Tyler. Today, it’s hard to understand how the band didn’t make it right from the beginning. All I can say is that, initially, I bought this album for Dream On and was disappointed to find it was the proggy anomaly on a heavy blues-rock record. Maybe others felt the same. In the remastered future, however, Aerosmith sounds brilliant. Producer Adrian Barber (Allman Brothers) perfectly captures the combustible energy of Aerosmith: the dual-guitar interplay, Joey Kramer’s crackerjack drumming and Tyler’s remarkable voice.

Aerosmith was a unique band from the beginning. Somehow, their music and image found common ground between New York Dolls and Lynyrd Skynyrd (two bands that also released their debut albums in 1973). Aerosmith could move comfortably between the blues (Write Me a Letter, Walkin’ the Dog), hard rock (Make It) and drugged-out rock (“Dream On”). It made them a hard band to categorize initially, not that everything in the world needs to be neatly labeled. In fact, it’s the loose ends that make Aerosmith’s debut so interesting. If you haven’t heard this in its remastered form, you’re missing out on a classic rock record.

Original elpee version

A1. Make It (3:45)
A2. Somebody (Steven Tyler/Steven Emspack) (3:45)
A3. Dream On (4:28)
A4. One Way Street (7:12)
B1. Mama Kin (4:25)
B2. Write Me a Letter (4:11)
B3. Movin’ Out (Steven Tyler/Joe Perry) (5:03)
B4. Walkin’ the Dog (Rufus Thomas) (3:12)

Songs written by Steven Tyler unless noted.

The Players

Tom Hamilton (bass), Joey Kramer (drums), Joe Perry (lead guitar, backup vocals), Steven Tyler (lead vocals, harmonica, wood flute), Brad Whitford (rhythm guitar) with David Woodford (saxophone on B1/B2). Produced by Adrian Barber; production assisted by Buddy Verga; engineered by Adrian Barber and Caryl Weinstock; remix and additional recording supervision on A3/B2 by Ray Colcord.

The Pictures

Cover design by Ed Lee and Hiroshi Morishima. Front cover photo by Robert Agriopoulos. Front cover lettering by Joyce McGregor.

The Plastic

Released on elpee on January 5, 1973 in the US (Columbia, KC 32005).

  1. Re-issued on elpee and cassette in March 1976 in the US and Canada (Columbia, PC/PCT 32005) with different cover. Reached #21 on the US charts (RIAA-certified platinum record).
  2. Re-issued on elpee in 1977 in the US (Columbia, JC 32005).
  3. Re-issued on elpee in 1984 in the US (Columbia, PC 32005) [with barcode].
  4. Re-released on remastered compact disc in the US (Columbia, CK 57360).
  5. Re-issued on compact disc in the UK and the Netherlands (Sony, 474962).
  6. Re-issued on remastered compact disc in 1993 in Japan (Sony, MHCP-317).
  7. Re-packaged with Get Your Wings on 2-for-1 CD in Russia (CD-Maximum, CDM0301-56).
Aerosmith reissue album cover
US Columbia PC 32005 reissue album cover

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