Steven Tyler has never been shy about sharing his opinions. The loud-mouthed rock and roll shouter has been fronting Aerosmith for more than 50 years, and during almost the entirety of that time, Tyler has let his thoughts fly to just about anyone who will listen.
One topic that Tyler certainly is an expert in is Aerosmith’s music – as the band’s leader and frontman for their entire existence, Tyler is the man who does the biggest amount of pushing when Aerosmith are searching for direction. So when Tyler was asked by Uncut about the best and worst of the band’s output, the singer had some strong thoughts on the matter.
“The best would have to be Toys in the Attic (1975) or Rocks (1976). Then again Pump (1989) is pretty amazing,” he said. “There’s a few Aerosmith albums I choose not to remember anymore. But the worst would have to be one of those many ‘Greatest Hits’ that the record company put out in the ’90s without our permission when we should have had our eyes on the ball but were, ahem, otherwise occupied.”
Tyler, like much of the band’s fanbase, seems to gravitate towards Aerosmith’s classic period in the mid-1970s. Toys in the Attic and Rocks caught the group at the height of their creative powers where the self-written hard rock songs seemed to come more naturally than any time before or since. With tracks ‘Walk This Way’, ‘Sweet Emotion’, ‘Back in the Saddle’, and ‘Sick as a Dog’ spread out between them, it’s no wonder these two albums usually rank towards the top of any ‘Best Aerosmith Albums’ list.
Pump falls into Aerosmith’s later period when additional songwriters began to contribute to the band’s music, but it still has classic tracks like ‘Love in an Elevator’ and ‘Janie’s Got a Gun’. The glossy late-1980s and early ’90s aesthetic that was adopted by the band is relatively mild on Pump, at least compared to the albums that immediately followed it like Get a Grip.
Tyler’s view contrasts guitarist Joe Perry’s opinion on what the worst Aerosmith album is. Perry opted for 1985’s Done with Mirrors, the first Aerosmith LP during the band’s reunion with their classic lineup after Perry originally left in 1979. Following that album, Aerosmith began working with professional songwriters, beginning a new more pop-focused era for the band.
Despite his willingness to play ball with the music industry, Tyler appears to have a clear disdain for the chicanery and consolidation of songs that go into a record label’s favourite package: the greatest hits album. It wasn’t uncommon for labels to release compilation albums without consulting bands, especially during the height of physical media sales.
All told, there are more than ten different Aerosmith greatest hits albums that you can buy right now. That seems to prove that Tyler’s distaste for the compilations hasn’t stopped the band from signing off on them time and again. Since the 1990s ended, Aerosmith have released seven greatest hit compilations, showing that Tyler’s least favourite kinds of albums are still very much at the forefront of their discography.
Check out Tyler’s favourite records from Aerosmith, Rocks, down below.