The year is 1976 and Aerosmith is becoming a household name especially with their aforementioned hits “Dream On”, “Sweet Emotion”, “Toys In The Attic”, and “Walk This Way”. “Toys In The Attic” sold over eight million copies in the United States alone, and “Rocks” also did very well, selling over four million copies in the United States alone and peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart! Granted, this album had the hits “Back In The Saddle” and “Last Child”, but this album was proven to be more influential as time went on in the world of classic rock.
“Rocks” packs a powerful punch as it hits the listener in between the eyes from the inception with the classic song “Back In The Saddle”. I always felt that “Back In The Saddle”, along with “Last Child” were two of the most underrated Aerosmith songs in their catalog. While the album “Toys In the Attic” was proven to for Aerosmith in terms of beginning to find their identity as a band, “Rocks” solidifies that identity so to speak. We start seeing them step away from blues driven songs and going to pure classic rock with powerful riffs led by Joe Perry with Brad Whitford backing him up on the guitars, case in point is with the song “Lick And A Promise”.
In “Lick And A Promise”, this really showcases Perry and Whitford’s twin guitar attack and Aerosmith has really found its groove in terms of its hard hitting classic rock style. We do see a bit of return to the roots in terms of Blues and a stoner rock sound in the song “Home Tonight”. We start seeing elements of Aerosmith becoming known for creating rock ballads like this, which they will have trademarked in their later years, in which I call the post-drug binge era of Aerosmith.
From a lyrical standpoint, we start seeing songs more about sex, drugs, and debauchery in “Rocks”, such as “Sick As A Dog”, which they really sing about their fast lifestyle as rock and rollers, and how they feel the next morning, which is probably the worst hangovers and comedowns the world has ever known. In “Back In The Saddle”, vocalist Steven Tyler states that he was incredibly high on heroin when he penned that song, and was thinking about Gene Autry’s song “Back In The Saddle Again” at the time. Joe Perry stated that they were consistently high on drugs during this album and everything clicked while they were high on drugs.
Overall, the “Rocks” album has influenced Aerosmith for their sound moving forward, we see a complete solidifying of that signature Aerosmith sound, and it’s their best record to date(as in from 1973 to 1976). It is packed full of amazing guitar work and Steven Tyler’s game is absolutely on point, along with the rhythm section sounding more grooving and thundering at the same time. Madness To Creation gives “Rocks” by Aerosmith a 9 out of 10 stars. Here is the track listing below!
- Back In The Saddle
- Last Child
- Rats In The Cellar
- Sick As A Dog
- Nobody’s Fault
- Get The Lead Out
- Lick And A Promise
- Home Tonight
Here is the live video for “Last Child”