Rough and raunchy, boasting the meanest riffs around and a penchant for writing transcendent ballads, Aerosmith strutted out of their hometown of Boston in the early 1970s with a flamboyant attitude and a locomotive, bluesy brand of rock ‘n’ roll boogie that owed a debt to both the Rolling Stones and the New York Dolls. In 1970, while working in a New Hampshire ice cream parlor, Steven Tyler, originally a drummer, met guitarist Joe Perry, and the toxic twins’ partnership was born. Aerosmith’s self-titled debut LP came out in 1973, and it peaked at No. 166 on the album charts, while the single “Dream On” climbed to No. 59. Two years later, Aerosmith delivered their breakthrough album, Toys in the Attic, a swaggering, sleazy classic that yielded the hits “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk This Way.” “Dream On” was later re-released and it soared into the Top Ten in 1976. Aerosmith became one of biggest-selling acts of the ‘70s, with albums such as Rocks and Draw the Line moving scads of units, and they packed arenas. Because of that road success, vintage Aerosmith tour t-shirts, concert programs and buttons have become hot items in rock memorabilia circles, as are guitar picks, drum sticks and backstage passes. Drug and alcohol addiction, however, soon took their toll on Aerosmith, commercially and artistically. After a rough go of it in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Aerosmith’s sagging fortunes got an unexpected boost in 1986 from hip-hop’s Run-DMC, whose video collaboration with Aerosmith on “Walk This Way” found its way into heavy rotation on MTV. Having come back from the dead, Aerosmith’s popularity spiked to unprecedented levels in the late ‘80s and 1990s, with LPs such as Permanent Vacation, Pump and Get a Grip all going platinum – making Aerosmith memorabilia highly sought after.
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