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January 1982 was the musical education of my life. In the space of a fortnight I discovered more new bands and listened to more albums than I had the previous six months.
And it was all thanks to my University flat-mate Pete who decided that during the Christmas holidays, his vast collection of LPs would be safer being looked after by me at my family home than left in our empty student accommodation a few miles away.
I was only too happy to store such a treasure trove in my bedroom and between New Year and the start of the second semester, I discovered Jeff Beck, The Doors, Bob Seger, Robin Trower, Tommy Bolin and Cream.
And then there was Aerosmith.
Now Boston’s finest and yours truly did not get off to the best possible start and to this day, I still don’t know why.
A couple of years earlier, I’d sent off for a free LP, the weekly newspaper Sounds was giving away on collecting four vouchers. It’s name escapes me but it included tracks from Journey, Judas Priest, Ted Nugent, Mahogany Rush…and Aerosmith.
In fact, the album kicked off with Back in the Saddle from Aerosmith’s Live Bootleg double LP and I hated it.
Perhaps it had something to do with the fact a lad I knew who I didn’t like had Aerosmith emblazoned all over his denim jacket. On such petty adolescent prejudices are music tastes fashioned.
Anyway, three decades ago, I righted that wrong and got hooked on the band. To this day, Toys In The Attic and Rocks (which includes Back in the Saddle) remain two of my favourite albums.
And Draw the Line and Night in the Ruts are almost as good.
Aerosmith’s remarkable career can be split into two halves or, to be more precise the decadent, drug-fuelled decade when they released those albums and the next 25 to 30 years when a newly cleaned-up quintet embraced commercialism and the mainstream without ever turning their back on early roots.
Albums such as Get A Grip, Permanent Vacation and Pump feature rock anthems and ballads enjoyed by rock and pop fans alike.
Toxic Twins Steve Tyler and Joe Perry and their fellow band members Joey Kramer, Brad Whitford and Tom Hamilton flourished in the MTV era, rivalling Whitesnake in the popularity stakes across the pond.
But if their music took a change in direction, it was one which introduced new fans without really disenfranchising those who’d supported them in their formative years.
When I saw Aerosmith at Hyde Park a few years ago, their audience spawned all ages and while it is probably true that the ultra-poppy I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing raised the biggest cheer, there was sufficient there to satisfy both hardened rockers and fresh-faced new fans, including hundreds of teenage girls.
Anyone who has seen their excellent DVD You Gotta Move will be astounded by the adulation Tyler and Perry receive from a stunning array of female beauties, the vast majority of whom are young enough to be their daughters. Aerosmith, it seems, can have their cake and eat it.
Aerosmith release their first album since the blues cover Honkin On Bobo later this year and their first featuring new material since the hit and miss Just Push Play from 2001..
They promise it’s a return to their roots and while that will delight their older fan base, such is their popularity, it’s unlikely to put off their new fan-base.
My confident prediction? Aerosmith’s new album, set to be released, in March, will be the best-selling rock album of 2012.