Iconic films have always inspired artists from various backgrounds, including several musical pioneers such as David Bowie and Bob Dylan among others. In the case of Aerosmith, one of their most famous songs was actually influenced by a comedy horror classic but the actual connection to the film itself is hilarious.
Titled ‘Walk This Way’, the original version of the song was instrumental in Aerosmith’s entry into the mainstream cultural frameworks of the 1970s. However, it wasn’t until Run-D.M.C. collaborated with the band on an iconic cover that ‘Walk This Way’ became a cultural phenomenon – combining the supposedly disparate worlds of rock and hip hop.
During the recording of Toys in the Attic, the band members felt that their creative process had come to a standstill and that they weren’t really going anywhere. In order to take a step back and re-evaluate, they decided to attend a screening of a film at Times Square which actually ended up inspiring them to continue with their work in a weird way.
That film was none other than Mel Brooks’ beloved work Young Frankenstein, starring Gene Wilder as Doctor Frankenstein’s grandson who ends up inheriting his infamous relative’s castle. After finding the diaries of his grandfather, he embarks on a bizarre journey while attempting to recreate those strange experiments.
One scene tickled the band members the most and it ended up becoming the source of inspiration for the song’s title. The sequence where Marty Feldman orders Wilder to follow him by saying “walk this way” was so entertaining to the members that they kept on laughing about it even after returning to the studio when their producer Jack Douglas suggested it as the title.
Steven Tyler finished writing the lyrics for the song that very night but ended up losing them very soon. According to Tyler, he lost the piece of paper in the cab he used to travel to the studio but none of the band members believed him when he tried to explain what had happened the next day.
“That night at the hotel, I wrote lyrics for the song and stuck them in my cloth shoulder bag,” Tyler recalled. “But when I arrived at the studio the next day, I didn’t have it. I had left it in the cab. I must have been stoned. All the blood drained out of my face, but no one believed me. They thought I never got around to writing them.”
Very upset at the incidents that followed, Tyler grabbed pencils and went to the studio’s top floor in order to gather his thoughts. While listening to the instrumentals, he was inspired once again and the lyrics started flowing in his mind. Even though he did not bring paper, he started writing on the walls and copied them down later.