An Alternative Best of Aerosmith Playlist

Aerosmith Greatest_Hits cover

With 2013 now a month old, it feels were are overdue a new Aerosmith Best Of / Compilation album.

Aerosmith Greatest Hits CDs are almost as numerous as Iron Maiden live albums, Mariah Carey tantrums or former members of The Sugababes. Sadly Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits, Oh Yeah, Big Ones, Essential Aerosmith and all the other best-of compilations tend to recycle the same dozen (or less) songs from the seventies, yet the seventies were when Aerosmith were at the height of their powers. They were writing great songs almost as often as they were consuming entire fields of cocaine. Almost.

Aerosmith also kept a stricter quality check on the number of Permissible Ballads per album (or PBpa as it is known) in the seventies. One per record – often at the end – a policy of which I heartily approve. It’s a little known rule in rock music, but bands would do well to stick to it, and let the likes of One Direction fill their boots with the soppy stuff. Take Metallica. Not only did they stick to One PBpa, but they always knew where it lived: fourth song on the album. That way everyone knew where they stood. Very sensible. Latter day Aerosmith have increasingly thwarted this rule. Indeed, they have ridden roughshod over it. Music From Another Dimension had Six! But I digress…

Whilst seldom a fan of “best of” albums, I have pulled together an Alternative Best Of Aerosmith which I think might introduce the vaguely-interested-sort-of-person who might, for instance, know the better known songs, but may lack the time or inclination to discover more. That sounds like quite a narrow demographic I appreciate, so let’s widen it. I’m doing this to help out lazy people, basically. You know who you are. To get them to listen to some more interesting and less well known tracks. My theory here is that there are at least two great unsung tracks on each classic ’70’s Aerosmith album (when I say unsung, I don’t mean it’s an instrumental. You knew that. Sorry. I’ll carry on). The rules are simple:

  1. No more than two tracks per album,
  2. The track can’t have appeared on a greatest hits collection and
  3. No more than 45 minutes running time (we’re going old skool here: it has to fit on a vinyl record).

Record #154: My Alternative Best-Of ’70’s Aerosmith Compilation.

Side 1:

SOS is from the band’s second album – other tracks I might have chosen from Get Your Wings include Seasons of Wither (but it does appear on the extended Greatest Hits record and is thus disqualified) and Train Kept A Rollin’ (the Johnny Burnette / Yardbirds classic).

Adams Apple and No More No More are from Toys in the Attic – the album that brought us Walk This Way. No More... is about life on the road. Lick and a Promise and Combination are both from Rocks (see previous post).

Side 2:

  • I Wanna Know Why
  • The Hand That Feeds
  • I Ain’t Got You
  • No Surprize
  • Bone To Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy)

The first two songs on side 2 of my Alternative Best Of come from 1977’s Draw The Line album. I Ain’t Got You is a Jimmy Reed cover from the Live Bootleg album recorded in 1973. The final two tracks come from Night In The Ruts, with No Surprize having been the subject of my attentions previously.

It may be, of course, that you are reading this somewhat unimpressed because (and there may be many reasons for that, but let’s just assume its this one) you are well versed in Aerosmith albums, and these obscure album tracks are not quite as obscure as you were hoping for.

Fret not. For you, I have something special. When Joe Perry left Aerosmith in May 1979, he formed The Joe Perry Project, and took some of his best songs with him. Three albums later, he returned to the fold. I bought these albums (on import) at Shades records and the first two in particular are excellent. Here’s my Alternative Best Of The Joe Perry Project:

You have to love this album cover: Perry takes a reel of tape to the record company. Says nothing. Looks moody.

You have to love this album cover: Perry takes a reel of tape to the record company. Says nothing. Looks moody.

Record #153: The Joe Perry Project: The Alternative Best of…

And if that doesn’t satisfy you, then let me point you in the direction of Aerosmith’s new album: Music From Another Dimension. But skip the ballads.

NB. Whilst writing this I re-discovered an old compilation called Gems – the track listing of which is excellent – effectively another “alternative best of”. It avoids the Greatest Hits and there are just two duplicates to my list – Lick and a Promise and No Surprize – but it suggests Aerosmith’s ’70’s output is thus strong enough for three “Greatest” collections! All the more reason to just buy the albums…

Categories: Hard Rock

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20 replies

  1. Nice list. My equivalent of the same album would probably have “Sight for Sore Eyes” from Draw The Line (sloppy, coked-out disco-metal roolz) and “Chiquita” from Night in the Ruts.
    However, those might be on one or another of the hits compilations — I don’t own any of ’em so I don’t know.
    (Like you said: Just buy the albums, people.)


  2. Great article, and brilliant band. Saddened you didn’t have Sick As A Dog on there, but it possible was omitted due to your rules of inclusion. No matter, it’s a great list.

    70s Aerosmith is great, and I was lucky enough to see them live in the US where 90% of the set was classic 70s tracks. A very different setlist to the UK tours.


  3. Great list. I love that you included Coney Island, and I Wanna Know Why. Me personally, I absolutely NEED Chip Away The Stone on mine.


  4. This is going to require proper attention. Which, for the lazy folk you refer to (I know you meant me) is a commitment. However, since your post made me laugh and the rules you suggest seem eminently sensible, I shall make that commitment.
    I observed the same rocker-friendly patterns of album construction on the Boomtown Rats first three albums – then they sort of ran out of steam.


  5. Honking great stuff – which is about to send me scuttling off to get out my big ten inch record of the band playing the blues.


  6. I have the red greatest hits album and there are some killer tracks on that. I really love ‘Walking on the Sand’. 🙂 It pisses me off with bands (I’m really thinking of The Eagles here) release a ‘new’ GH compilation like every couple of years. It tends to be the same line up of songs, give or take a substitution and a rejig of the running order. As for the cover, more often than not, it’s that same bloody Joshua tree, just a different coloured background… Sorry. Rant over. I actually really like the band. 🙂



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