Then & Now: Aerosmith’s Journey to Rock Legends

Aerosmith‘s career is now entering its sixth decade, further establishing its legacy as rock music royalty. From their debut, the band of frontman Steven Tyler, guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton, and drummer Joey Kramer quickly established their popularity with hits like “Dream On,” and their success only grew from there. The band’s legacy has also been shaped by several challenges and breakups (and makeups) over the years. It’s all culminating with the 2023 Peace Out: The Farewell Tour as Aerosmith celebrates its enduring legacy. Below, we look at some of the highs and lows through the years.

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1970s

The Aerosmith journey begins as two separate bands: Chain Reaction and Jam Band. After they all played the same show in 1970, Tyler insisted they join forces as one band with him as lead singer. The Boston-based Aerosmith was signed to Columbia Records in 1972, releasing their self-titled debut album in 1973. The album’s only single, “Dream On,” proved them to be an ear-grabbing act that set the stage for their superstardom. Over the next few years, they became international superstars with such hits as “Walk This Way,” “Sweet Emotion,” and “Home Tonight.”

1980s

Despite being at the height of their fame, Aerosmith endured some shakeups going into the 1980s. Drug use and arguments between Tyler and Perry caused Perry to leave the band in 1979, and the band saw a decline in popularity in the early ’80s. Whitford also left the band in 198l before all the original members reunited for the Back in the Saddle Tour in 1984. Excessive drug use continued to plague the group, with Tyler consistently passing out onstage. Aerosmith released four albums during this decade —Rock in a Hard Place, Done With Mirrors, Permanent Vacation, and Pump. They had a career rebound toward the end of the decade with the latter two albums that collectively spawned such hits as “Dude (Looks Like a Lady),” “Angel,” “Love in an Elevator, “Janie’s Got a Gun,” and more.

[RELATED: Behind The Meaning of “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” By Aerosmith]

1990s

Aerosmith took this energy into the 1990s and made a massive comeback. They won their first Grammy Award in 1991 for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for “Janie’s Got a Gun” and scored their first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with Get a Grip in 1993. This also marked the decade of the power ballad, with “Cryin,'” “Amazing,” and “Crazy” from Get a Grip all reaching the Top 10 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. They scooped up several more Grammys before the end of the decade that saw the release of one of their biggest hits, the Dianne Warren-penned theme song for the film Armageddon, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” which is their only single to hit No. 1 on the Hot 100.

2000s

Aerosmith entered the 2000s by co-headlining the 2001 Super Bowl with *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Nelly, and Mary J. Blige serving as surprise guests. In 2007, they embarked on the Aerosmith World Tour which saw them headlining stadiums and arenas worldwide. After Tyler stepped away from Aerosmith to focus on solo projects, leaving many confused as to whether or not he was quitting the band, the group reunited when they headlined the British rock festival, Download Festival, in 2010.

2010s – 2020s

Throughout the 2010s, the band split off into various solo endeavors, with Tyler joining the judges’ panel on American Idol in 2011. Aerosmith released their final studio album, Music From Another Dimension!, in 2012 and continued to tour throughout the decade. They headlined their first Las Vegas residency in 2019 which resumed in 2022. In 2023, Aerosmith announced their final tour Peace Out: The Farewell Tour which kicked off in September. However, many of the tour dates were postponed to 2024 due to Tyler’s vocal chord damage.

Photo Credit: Katarina Benzova / Courtesy of ID PR

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