Aerosmith & The 1970s

After forming the band and finalizing the lineup in 1971, the band started to garner some local success doing live shows. Originally booked through The Ed Malhoit Agency of Claremont NH, Aerosmith signed with Columbia Records in 1972 and issued their debut album, Aerosmith, in 1973. The album was straightforward rock and roll with well-defined blues influences, laying the groundwork for Aerosmith's signature blues-rock sound. Although the highest charting single from the album was "Dream On" at #59, several tracks (such as "Mama Kin" and "Walkin' the Dog") would become staples of the band's live shows and receive heavy rotation on rock radio. The album eventually went on to sell two million copies. After constant touring, the band released their sophomore effort Get Your Wings in 1974, the first of a string of multi-platinum albums produced by Jack Douglas. This did better in the charts and produced the rock radio hits "Same Old Song and Dance" and "Train Kept A-Rollin'", a cover originally done by The Yardbirds. The album also produced several fan favorites including "Lord of the Thighs", "Seasons of Wither", and "S.O.S. (Too Bad)", darker songs which have become staples in the band's live shows. To date, Get Your Wings has sold three million copies.

It was 1975's Toys in the Attic, however, that established Aerosmith as international stars competing with the likes of Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. Originally derided as Rolling Stones knockoffs, Toys in the Attic showed that Aerosmith was a talented band in their own right, incorporating elements of blues, glam rock, heavy metal, punk music, psychedelia, and pop. Toys in the Attic was an immediate success, starting with the single "Sweet Emotion", which became the band's first Top 40 hit. This was followed by a successful re-release of "Dream On" which hit #6, becoming their best charting single of the 1970s. The 2nd song from the album, "Walk This Way", reached the Top 10 in early 1977. "Toys in the Attic" and "Big Ten Inch Record" were also rock radio staples. As a result of this success, both of the band's previous albums re-charted. Toys in the Attic has gone on to become the band's bestselling studio album in the States, with certified U.S. sales of eight million copies. Aerosmith's next album, 1976's Rocks was one of the grittiest and hardest rocking albums the band has made. It went platinum swiftly and featured two FM hits, "Last Child" and "Back in the Saddle", as well as the ballad "Home Tonight". Rocks has sold four million copies to date. Both Toys in the Attic and Rocks are highly regarded, especially in the hard rock genre, and appear on such lists as Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums, and are cited by members of Guns N' Roses, Metallica, and Mötley Crüe as having large influences on their music.

Soon after Rocks was released, the band continued to tour heavily, this time headlining their own shows and playing to several large stadiums and rock festivals, and becoming kingpins of American arena rock. The next album, 1977's Draw the Line, was not as successful or as critically acclaimed as their two previous efforts, although the title track proved to be a minor hit (and is still a live staple), and "Kings and Queens" also experienced some success. The album went on to sell 2 million copies. While continuing to tour and record into the late 1970s, Aerosmith acted in the movie version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Their cover of the Beatles hit "Come Together" was included in the album's soundtrack and would be the band's last Top 40 hit for nearly 10 years. The live release Live! Bootleg, originally released as a double album, was put out in 1978 and captured the band's rawness during the heyday of the Draw the Line tour; however, as the 1970s came to a close, the band's popularity waned and drug abuse and the fast-paced life of touring and recording began affecting their output. Lead singer Steven Tyler and lead guitarist Joe Perry became known as "The Toxic Twins" due to their notorious abuse of drugs on and off the stage. Just after the recording of their sixth studio album, 1979's Night in the Ruts, Joe Perry left the band, citing differences with Steven Tyler, and formed The Joe Perry Project. Perry was replaced first by longtime band friend and songwriter Richie Supa and then by guitarist Jimmy Crespo (formerly of the band Flame). Night in the Ruts quickly fell off the charts, its only single being the cover of The Shangri-Las' "Remember (Walking in the Sand)", which topped out at #67.