Aerosmith have told the story behind three of their biggest hits – including how a bass guitar loaned from the Beastie Boys helped shape Walk This Way's transformation from rock to rap.
Joe Perry and Steven Tyler appeared on American daytime show The Talk where they discussed their debut hit Dream On, late-80s classic Love In An Elevator and Walk This Way – the track that brought rock music to a whole new generation while also helping to break rap into the mainstream in 1986.
Asked whether they thought about turning down the advances of Run DMC who wanted to cover Walk This Way, Perry says: “We did, for about three seconds. I thought rap was a natural progression from the blues, where our music is based. And then they called up Rick Rubin and said something about Walk This Way being proto-rap.
“I said, ‘I guess you could draw that connection.’ A couple of weeks later he called and said ‘do you wanna come down?’ We played, and these guys threw some lines back and forth. Then we needed a bass and one of the guys who was there, some teenager hanging around, said he had a bass at his house. He went back and got the bass… and it was the Beastie Boys. It was magic, between the two kinds of music. It was the first time, except for Michael Jackson, that they played black artists on MTV. We’re really proud of that.”
Tyler adds: “Who doesn’t love the Beastie Boys? They were scratching and rapping it. Joe grabbed the guitar and played the lick and I sang the song and the rest is history. That was the God shot.”
On their first big hit, Dream On, Tyler says he wrote it on an organ and that it was too soft to be used with the band. But finally it was introduced to the group and became the their breakthrough track.
Asked how the song was written, Tyler says: “On a pump organ in Sunapee, New Hampshire, when I was like 18 or 19. And then the band got together and we were a rock band, so this was too dreamy and too slow. But let me take a risk… and it was freaky. It was so freaky that it wasn’t a hit until the second record.”
Tyler also explains 1989 single Love In An Elevator, which he says was written following a drunken liaison in, unsurprisingly, an elevator.
He says: “We were somewhere between Florida and Washington DC up on a roof pool party. And as it was back then, lots of weed and booze. I met a girl and we got in the elevator and went down and on the way, something happened. I was in a blackout. But I did come to when the door opened up and it was the lobby. People were standing there going… and then the door closed. It was a true moment, it happened.”