Greatest Hits

Aerosmith

Columbia, 1980

http://www.aerosmith.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/19/2006

In one passage of the best Aerosmith book written, Walk This Way, Joe Perry recalls that he was walking the aisles of a grocery store, hopped up on some substance, and a kid asked him to autograph this record. Perry had no idea what the record was.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

When a band has a say in their hits releases, they turn out to be far better than if the record company had done it (witness Pearl Jam's Rearviewmirror or the Beatles' red and blue albums). But by 1980, Aerosmith was done for, in the throes of addiction, infighting and recording some really bad music, which started with Draw The Line and didn't stop until parts of Done With Mirrors.

This disc collects all the 70s hits; the CD remaster adds seven tracks missing from the original. So why the low grade for such good music? Editing.

As with the original 10-song album, the best-known hits are present in their single versions for absolutely no reason. Why chop 40 seconds out of "Same Old Song and Dance?" and lose the cocaine reference in the second verse? Why lop off the beginning and end of "Sweet Emotion?" Why lose the short intro to "Kings and Queens?" Why include the subpar covers of "Remember (Walking in the Sand)," a nadir for the group, and "Come Together?"

Now, let's say you only know Aerosmith from the 90s ballads or Steven Tyler from American Idol and wonder what the band used to be all about but don't want to buy a two-disc collection. This one will tell the story. "Dream On" is still gripping, "Walk This Way" and "Sweet Emotion" are stone classics, and "Back in the Saddle" has all the swagger and heft of a true rock band. The funky "Last Child" and rolling "Same Old Song and Dance" are superb as well.

You would be well served in getting the actual early Aerosmith albums, but for a primer of the early days, this has the most of the right songs. It's just a shame they aren't presented in their full versions.

Rating: B-

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