The Reason Joe Perry “Wasn’t Crazy” About Aerosmith’s Power Ballad “Dream On”

Dream On” was Aerosmith’s first big breakthrough hit. The song continues to be one of the hard-rock band’s signature songs. Yet, founding guitarist Joe Perry admitted that he actually wasn’t initially a big fan of the tune.

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In his 2014 memoir Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith, Perry recalled how he felt about the Steven Tyler-penned song as the band was working on its arrangement before they recorded it for their self-titled 1973 debut album.

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“I wasn’t crazy about the song—mainly because it was slow,” he wrote about the power ballad. My attitude was simple: The only good slow song was a slow blues. ‘Dream On’ was hardly a blues. It was a slow song in a genre that didn’t excite me.”

Perry added, “The five of us worked that song to the point where it became a live show-stopper with the right dynamics. So it fit in with the rest of the album.”

“Dream On” was released as the band’s first single in 1973, and initially peaked at No. 59 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also was a huge radio hit in Aerosmith’s native Boston.

[RELATED: Aerosmith 2024 Farewell Tour: How to Get Tickets]

In his memoir, Perry noted about the song being released as a single, “I had mixed feelings because I didn’t see the song as emblematic of the band. It was soft and we were hard. Yet the song hit the pop charts and started moving up.”

He continued, “I would have been happier if our first hit had been hard-core rock and roll, but a hit is a hit. A hit meant we’d have a better shot at survival.”

Steven Tyler Also Recalled Perry Disliking “Dream On”

Meanwhile, Tyler also acknowledged Perry’s disdain for the song in his 2011 autobiography, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?

“Joe didn’t like ‘Dream On’ from the start. Didn’t like the way he played,” Tyler recalled. “He felt we were a hard-rock band and here we were staking our reputation on a slow ballad. And to Joe, rock ‘n’ roll was all about energy and flash.”

Initially a minor chart success, “Dream On” became a smash when Aerosmith’s label rereleased it in late 1975. The song eventually climbed to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, given the group its first bona fide hit, and launching the group into rock stardom.

In his book, Tyler expressed pride in the success of “Dream On,” then noted “I would gladly have traded any gold album just to have [Perry] love that song.” He added, comically, “Wait a minute, I take that back!”

Accolades for Aerosmith’s “Dream On”

“Dream On” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2018. In December 2023, the song was acknowledged for being streamed more than 1 billion times on Spotify.

Aerosmith’s 2024-2025 Tour Plans

As previously reported, Aerosmith recently announced new dates for its Peace Out Farewell Tour. Most of the trek’s 2023 dates were postponed because Tyler was experiencing serious vocal issues.

The tour now is scheduled to resume on September 20 in Pittsburgh, and is plotted out through a February 26, 2025, concert in Buffalo, New York.

Tickets for Aerosmith’s shows are available now via various outlets, including StubHub.

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