Over the past couple of months, a friend and fellow fan of all music and I have been involved in an ongoing discussion. Who are the top ten rock and roll bands of all time? We laughed and joked about some bands that have come and gone off the music scene with little impact. Then our conversation turned serious as we started to really reflect on several bands and their entire bodies of work. Our list quickly went from top ten to top twenty as we could not find room for every band in the top ten. The trouble really starts with the end of our qualifying statement: “…of all time”. That means we had to look through almost a century of rock groups and their music. Interestingly, our agreed upon top five bands were all British. But then we really started to think about a select few elite American rock and roll bands. Of that few, we definitely had to include the featured musicians of this week: Aerosmith.
There is no denying Aerosmith and their place in musical history with over forty years of music for our listening pleasure. The best thing about all of their history is that it is still being written. Oh yes, they are very active and still performing live and recording music to a worldwide fan base. For all of you out there thinking of putting together your own greatest rock and roll bands of all time lists, you might consider some hard facts about Aerosmith. First, Aerosmith is the best-selling American rock band of all time, having sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, including 66.5 million albums in the United States alone. Second, they hold the record for the most gold and multi-platinum albums by an American group. They also have 21 Top 40 hits; four Grammy’s and in 2001 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to all the aforementioned facts Aerosmith is also referred to as “The Bad Boys from Boston” and yes, “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band”.
The debate about Aerosmith’s rank in the list of greatest Rock and Roll bands will continue, and all of you readers can have fun with your own lists. However, there is a lot more to discuss than Aerosmith record sales and awards. This band has a real love and concern for their fans that is something special today. On July 23, 2013 Aerosmith will release Rock for the Rising Sun, the band’s first video release in nine years. Take a moment to read what one of Aerosmith’s web sites said about the video:
In March 2011 Japan was beset by a huge earthquake, a monstrous tsunami and the subsequent meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant. In the autumn of 2011, despite advice to the contrary, Aerosmith brought their “Back On The Road” tour to Japan, a country with which they’d always had a special relationship. The Japanese fans came out in their droves and Aerosmith responded with some of the finest gigs of their distinguished career. This film follows the band on that tour combining full length live tracks with behind the scenes footage which is at times touching and emotional and at others humorous and insightful. More than anything else it demonstrates the Japanese fans’ love affair with Aerosmith and their music.
Steven Tyler, in his “common man” way of communicating, spoke in detail in a Huffington Post interview about the concert and why he and his band mates made this particular trip to Japan. “I think we took our fear and packed it away. With the conversations we had with each other, it was more about trying to bring Aerosmith music, bring a moment of joy over. It was time to get them happy, even for a moment. It was kind of like the USO, bringing what we’ve got over to them. This concert was a no-brainer. ‘Are we going to get hurt?’ Of course we went over there with antibiotics and whatever they say to take, but I don’t think the radiation was that bad. None of us has had anything checked out. It was more about making them happy. Get them out of the mood that they’re in and bring a little joy to a country that just saw the worst“.
Many musicians perform benefit concerts to raise money for certain causes near to their hearts. These are wonderful gestures that help the less fortunate. These types of performances tend to humanize the artists, and even non fans develop more respect for them. What I like about Aerosmith in situations like this is that they are moved to help out first, make money for those in need, and then bring a little joy to their fans. That’s what it’s all about.