You would be hard-pressed to find a more iconic rock ‘n’ roll voice than that of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler – unless, of course, we’re talking about Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones. It’s a good thing then that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. The two have some strong similarities; both Tyler and Jagger exist in the public’s mind as both lizard-like, effeminate, drug-taking, hell-raising frontmen – and they both rose from obscurity to stardom capitalizing on their status of sex symbols.
The Rolling Stones came first: they became famous during the 1960s and by the early ’70s, when Aerosmith hit the scene, the Stones had already solidified themselves as international rock ‘n’ roll outlaws.
Both are famous for their debauchery – although, if we were drawing direct comparisons, Tyler would probably take the cake for the most amount of drugs ever taken – and that’s saying something. He once admitted to TV host James Corden that he has probably spent roughly two million dollars on drugs in his lifetime, saying, “I sniffed half of Peru.”
While the two bands certainly share some strong connections as they both were influenced by the early greats, such as, Elvis Presley and the Delta bluesmen, both approach the medium from different angles – you can certainly tell which one is British and which one is American.
They both offer different styles of rock ‘n’ roll and they have also been around for ages, surviving and successfully navigating one of the most cutthroat industries imaginable. Understandably so, there have been a lot of comparisons drawn in the past between Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler.
Tyler has expressed his love for the Stones and chose nine of his favourite tracks from the British bluesmen, which we have listed below. But first, let’s dive into the connections between the two.
Who’s better: Rolling Stones or Aerosmith?
While Steven Tyler has expressed his consummate love for the British rockers, not all the members of Aerosmith share his enthusiasm. Aerosmith drummer, Joey Kramer has said before that he “never cared for the Stones,” adding that when playing live, “They’re not so good,” according to Radio X.
Kramer, when on to postulate to Louder Sound, added: “First of all, as far as Aerosmith goes, there is no band that has been around for nearly 50 years that still has the original five guys in the band.” It is not the first time that a band has fired shots at others.
Kramer continued: “Everybody is always raving about the Stones, saying the Stones this and the Stones that. I’ve never cared for the Stones. They never had anything to offer me musically, especially in the drumming department.”
Varying opinions, of course, do differ especially within a band itself; Tyler admires Jagger as a frontman and singer and it does come as a slight surprise that Kramer does not admire Charlie Watts, drummer of the Stones, in the same way.
It will never be quite possible or 100 per cent objective to say one band is better than another – it depends entirely upon taste. That doesn’t stop people, as is the case with drummer Joey Kramer, to make bold claims such as ‘Aerosmith is better than the Stones’.
Why does Kramer think this? He claims that his band, Aerosmith, always blows the Stones out of the water when it comes to playing live. “The Stones is not the original band and I do not care for them,” he added.
“I think if you came to see an Aerosmith concert, people would realise that we play so much better than them that it’s silly because they’re not so good live.”
Why does Steven Tyler like the Rolling Stones?
Meanwhile, the singer of Aerosmith, the infamous ‘dude who looks like a lady’, does not share this sentiment, saying: “I learned from the Stones and from Janis Joplin that it’s not about hitting the notes, it’s about having style,” according to Ultimate Classic Rock.
It is clear that for Tyler, Jagger cannot do wrong by him.
In May of 2012, Mick Jagger was featured as the host of Saturday Night Live, where he did an impression of Steven Tyler. “I thought he looked good with long hair,” Tyler said according to Ultimate Classic Guitar. Adding, “I’ve always wanted him to grow it back.”
Tyler has claimed in the past that during his first visit to rehab, he found a new drug, one that was a little safer and healthier. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Tyler said that upon listening to the Stones’ ‘Rip This Joint’ from their groundbreaking album, Exile On Main Street, he felt a sensation akin to that of getting high on drugs.
From a list of nine Rolling Stones songs that Tyler chose as his favourites, he said that ‘Something Happened To Me Yesterday’ – a more obscure track from an even obscurer Stones album, Between The Buttons – is “so fucking cool.”
Stones song, ‘Spider and the Fly’ from their 1965 album, Out of Our Heads’ inspired Tyler to start writing his own lyrics.
Does Steven Tyler get compared to Mick Jagger?
In an interview that Steven Tyler and Aerosmith guitar player Joe Perry did with Rolling Stone, Tyler spilt the beans about how he feels when people compare him to Mick Jagger. Despite his love and admiration for the Stones singer, it seems like it cuts him deep.
“The ‘cheap imitation of the Rolling Stones’ criticism was constant. And it hurt for the first couple of years,” Tyler confessed, adding, “It was constantly Mick Jagger this and Mick Jagger that – that I copied him, and Janis Joplin too. Mick was the cheapest, easiest shot. ‘Well, he looks like him, so let’s write about that.'”
In the same interview, Joe Perry shared his thoughts on this comparison albeit it being neutral: “You could tell that they weren’t listening because we definitely weren’t sounding like the Stones.”
Because of the nature of neutrality, Perry seems to be a voice of reason as he shared his thoughts with honest clarity. Perry added, “We steal from everybody. Amateurs copy and pros steal, and we’re professionals. We make no bones about the fact that we took from the people that came before us.”
Whether the Stones are better than Aerosmith or vice versa, and whether Steven Tyler is a cheap imitation of Mick Jagger – you decide for yourself.
In the meantime, here is the list of Tyler’s nine favourite Stones songs.
Steven Tyler’s nine favourite Rolling Stones songs
- ‘I’m a King Bee’
- ‘Brown Sugar’
- ‘Rip This Joint’
- ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’
- ‘Something Happened To Me Yesterday’
- ‘Hot Stuff’
- ‘Memory Motel’
- ‘The Spider And The Fly’
- ‘She Said Yeah’