Aerosmith's early recordings are the sound of legends-in-waiting

Aerosmith's 1971: The Road Starts Hear shows Tyler, Perry and co. itching to get their wings

Aerosmith: 1971: The Road Starts Hear cover art
(Image: © UME)

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Originally coming out as a very limited edition 2021 Record Store Day release on cassette and vinyl, this recently discovered demo/rehearsal tape from Aerosmith’s Vindaloo Vaults captures the band in all their crude and nascent beauty. They’re still two years from releasing their debut, but nevertheless showcase a raw, embryonic talent for cutting some seriously smoking grooves. 

A recording apparently completely forgotten about by pretty much everyone, it’s dirty and grimy with the dust of years, but still good enough to send shivers up your spine as you hear early takes of just over half of what would become their self-titled debut, plus a couple of out-takes. 

Somebody, Movin’ Out and Mama Kin are gritty and tight rockers, the latter sounding particularly loose and juiced up; Dream On, meanwhile, is a genuine, although wobbly sounding, diamond in the rough and winds up with a fascinatingly different ending; Walkin’ The Dog, however, is the best of these future classics, being slower, longer and meaner-sounding than the officially recorded studio version, Steven Tyler also providing some enjoyably psychedelic wood flute action. 

Of the other songs, versions of Major Barbara would eventually end up on Classics Live and Pandora’s Box, while Reefer Head Woman has far more energy here than the polished version on Night In The Ruts. Not so much a lost gem as a rough-and-ready must-have historical curio, The Road Starts Here is the sound of a legend-to-be, taxiing on the runway, waiting for permission to take off.

Essi Berelian

Whether it’s magazines, books or online, Essi has been writing about rock ’n’ metal for around thirty years. He has been reviews editor for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, rock reviews editor for lads mag Front and worked for Kerrang!. He has also written the Rough Guide to Heavy Metal and contributed to the Rough Guide to Rock and Rough Guide Book of Playlists, and the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (13th edition). Most fun interview? Tenacious D – Jack Black and Kyle Gass – for The Pick of Destiny movie book. An avid record/CD/tape collector, he’s amassed more music than he could ever possibly listen to, which annoys his wife no end.