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Diary Extra: Aerosmith’s Self-Titled Debut Turns 40

Matt Dolloff / 100.7 WZLX
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Courtest Columbia Records

Courtest Columbia Records

Forty years ago today (January 5), Boston’s favorite bad boys Aerosmith burst onto the rock & roll scene with their self-titled debut record, and immediately established themselves as one of the transcendent American rock bands of their time.

Pure, hard blues rock was nothing new to pop culture in 1973; we already had Led Zeppelin. America wasn’t short of good homegrown bands, either, with bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Doors riding to the forefront. But it could be argued that Aerosmith were the first American pure blues rock band to hit it big and remain big.

Despite the band’s obvious penchant for catchy blues licks from Joe Perry, the defining track from their self-titled LP (and arguably of their whole career) was “Dream On,” a smooth ballad with a memorable central riff that doesn’t necessarily scream blues. Four decades later, you can hear this song somewhere on classic rock radio every day.

One tidbit about “Dream On” and the rest of the album that may shock Aerosmith fans is that Steven Tyler was so insecure about his singing voice at the time he would sing lower on purpose and avoid singing in what he called his “real” voice – that is, the raspy screaming we all know and love by now.

It’s hard to believe that someone as charismatic as Tyler would lack confidence, but that would apparently explain the drastic difference in his he sounds on Aerosmith’s first album. Good thing he eventually stuck to the screaming.

Despite the changes his Tyler’s singing voice, the album would eventually chart and launch Aerosmith’s career, which is still as strong as ever. What’s your favorite track off Aerosmith’s debut album? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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