Aerosmith


By Dave Jenison

Aerosmith is one of only 4 artists to perform at Woodstock '99 that played Woodstock 1994.

Aerosmith's career spans nearly thirty years with seventy million combined album sales, but they were never as huge as they were the year they played Woodstock. In 1994, the band was riding high on their five-times platinum number one album Get a Grip, which earned them a Grammy Award, their own video game, and a string of huge singles. The video for the Grip single "Cryin'" was even voted the number one video of all time by MTV viewers. Aerosmith was about a year into the Get a Grip tour when they hit the Woodstock stage, at that moment one of the biggest bands in the entire world.

Woodstockia
Saturday night's heavy downpour of rain couldn't dampen the band members' spirits as they unleashed a monster rock and roll set on the North Stage. Singer Steven Tyler moved across the stage with style, energy, and force that easily begged comparison to Rolling Stones' singer Mick Jagger. The band's set was so solid that even non-Aerosmith fans were blown away. Honoring the retro spirit of Woodstock, Aerosmith played hits dating back ot the 70s, "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)," "Walk This Way," "Sweet Emotion," "Dream On," "Janie's Got a Gun," "Love in an Elevator," "Living on the Edge," and the ironically titled "Eat the Rich." Steven Tyler said "it poured like a cow pissing on a flat rock," but the weather didn't manage to dismay a sea of cheering wet fans treated to hit after hit. As the band was ushered away from the stage around 3:30am, a tremendous fireworks display exploded in the dark night.

In 1972, following a big show at the New York club Max's Kansas City, Aerosmith was signed to Sony Records by (current Arista honcho) Clive Davis. From their debut album in 1973, Aerosmith steadily grew into mighty rock legends with a series of strong albums featuring hits like "Dream On" and "Sweet Emotion." In 1978, they joined Ted Nugent as co-headliners in California Jam II, one of the largest music festivals of the late 70s. The band also appeared as the Futur e Villain Band in the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. But come 1979, Aerosmith slowed down as guitarist Joe Perry left the band to pursue a solo career. Aerosmith's popularity diminished significantly for many years.

By 1986, Joe Perry was back in the band, and Aerosmith entered the next stage of their career by getting their first song on the charts in over six years. Ironically, it was a Rick Rubin-produced remake of their early hit "Walk This Way" with popular rap band Run DMC . Aerosmith used this new attention as a platform to release their Geffen Record s debut, Permanent Vacation, which went triple platinum. Aerosmith kept the ball rolling with 1989's Pump , an appearance on The Simpsons, a national TV campaign for Rock the Vote, and much more. Then, in 1993, Aerosmith released Get a Grip, their most enormous album ever, which set the stage for their massive Woodstock '94 performance.

Aerosmith has since moved back to Columbia/Sony, the original record label they signed to in 1972. In 1997, Columbia released their new album Nine Lives, which became a Grammy Award-winning, double platinum success, carrying over into 1998. Their pop-rock ballad "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" for the Armageddon film and soundtrack became a mega-smash, earned Grammy and Academy Award nominations, and sent the soundtrack sales into the stratosphere. More than that, "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" became, believe it or not, Aerosmith's first single ever to go to number one. It may have taken Grammy Awards, film and television appearances, platinum LPs, Woodstock, and thirty years of playing, but Aerosmith has finally had a number one song, and what better way than through a film about a rock force conquering the world.