If you love rock and roll, it’s practically impossible to ignore the influence of Aerosmith. These Boston boys first came onto the scene in 1970 with their self-titled debut album. That defining album then set the stage for decades of stadium-sized hits and classic songs that have influenced generations of artists after them. Aerosmith has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, with their numerous singles still ranking as the most-played songs on classic rock radio today.
Top 28 Aerosmith Songs of All Time
28. Come Together
Many consider Aerosmith’s “Come Together” to be the best Beatles cover ever, as the band gives it a new lease on life that makes the Beatles’ original rendition pale in contrast. This cover is included in the Sgt Pepper Soundtrack, which features many other renditions of the Beatles songs from different artists. Originally, John Lennon wrote “Come Together” as a political rallying cry for Timothy Leary, a writer, psychotherapist, and pro-drugs campaigner.
27. I Wanna Know Why
From 1977 through 1980, “I Wanna Know Why” was a staple in the band’s live shows. As one of the standout tracks from the critically acclaimed “Draw The Line” album, it’s hard to think that this fantastic song hasn’t been performed live since 1980. Tyler and Perry wrote only three songs for the album, and this track is one of them. I Wanna Know Why is an incredibly wonderful song, given the circumstances of the band at the time.
26. Draw the Line
The song, written by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, was released as the first single (and title track) from the album Draw the Line in 1977. “Draw the Line” reached number 42 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song features many of the trademarks of Aerosmith, such as Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer’s strong rhythm backbeat and guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford’s back-and-forth interplay. Before the song’s climax, it slows down and then builds up towards Steven Tyler’s signature scream. This song was also released as part of their Greatest Hits album.
25. You See Me Crying
This track comes from “Toys in the Attic,” which stands as Aerosmith’s most iconic album. “You See Me Crying” is the only ballad on the record, and it concludes it in a way that makes you want to hear it all over again. The song is a complex piano ballad with heavy orchestration. For this one, Aerosmith and producer Jack Douglas enlisted the help of a symphony orchestra, which was led by Mike Mainieri. Lead singer Steven Tyler and colleague Don Solomon co-wrote the song. Because of the many intricate drums and guitar parts, some band members grew frustrated with the track, which took a long time to finish.
One could say that “Pink” is a rare Aerosmith song that doesn’t have Joe Perry’s name on it. In this track, Steven Tyler collaborated with experienced songwriters Richie Supa and Glen Ballard instead. It was released as the third major single for the album “Nine Lives” in 1997. Steven Tyler’s harmonica performance is a highlight of the song, and the strong bass rhythm and a blend of acoustic and jangling electric guitars in the verses distinguish the tune. “Pink” received the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal in 1999. At the time, Aerosmith had won the award four times.
23. The Other Side
“The Other Side,” Aerosmith’s fifth single from Pump, became the band’s third No. 1 Mainstream Rock hit and the fourth song from the album to reach the Billboard Hot 100’s Top 40 (it reached No. 22). Holland-Dozier-Holland famously sued Aerosmith over the main hook’s resemblance to The Four Tops’ “Standing in the Shadows of Love.” Holland-Dozier-Holland won the case, and they now share songwriting credit with Steven Tyler and Jim Vallance. In 1991, the song received the MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video.
22. Toys in the Attic
“Toys in the Attic,” the album’s title track, is a whirlwind of distorted riffs and fast-paced beats. Written by Tyler and Perry, this is a real cage-rattling rocker that thumps hard and fast while still retaining that unique Aerosmith flavor of unmistakable swing. Here, Tyler goes off and screams, “All of the things that you learned from fears/Nothing is left for the years.” The song features crazy, racing riffs and Tyler is singing over them without waning in energy. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, “Toys in the Attic” is one of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
21. Love in an Elevator
In 1989, after their comeback hit “Permanent Vacation” album kicked off a string of hits, Aerosmith released “Pump,” which produced four top 10 singles. The album’s lead single was “Love in an Elevator,” co-written by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. With its smutty lyrics and infectious groove, the song was a musical fusion of many ideas they came up with during a jam session–and even Buddy Miles was an influence. This is a song about elevators, love, and the combination of the two. Aerosmith has some songs with deeper meanings in the lyrics, but they also have a lot of playful lyrics paired with tracks that show off their skills.
Aerosmith is the prototypical American hard rock band, but they had a surprisingly deep well of great ballads. “Angel” is arguably the best of them, with an almost gospel-style refrain and an aching, emotional vocal from Steven Tyler. This song was a ballad about love and loss, becoming one of Aerosmith’s most popular songs. You might hear a similarity between this song and Aerosmith’s early hit “Dream On.” It’s because when Steven Tyler sat down to write with Desmond Child, he played the chord to “Dream On” to get them going. A little later, they had the bones of “Angel” put together.
Written by Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and Desmond Child, “Crazy” was released in 1993 as the band’s final single from their hugely successful 1993 album, “Get a Grip.” This song is about a guy who misses his girlfriend after she packs her belongings and goes. It was one of those songs that took off on its own — so much so that it became Aerosmith’s first No. 1 hit in nine years. The track won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1994. It’s also one of their most popular singles outside the United States, having charted at number one in Australia, Iceland, Canada, and Venezuela. The music video for “Crazy” features Alicia Silverstone, who would later star in “Clueless”.
18. Rag Doll
“Rag Doll” was featured on Aerosmith’s “Permanent Vacation” album, released in 1987. Featuring a strong drum intro, the song is one of the first songs that prove that Aerosmith could still be relevant after becoming popular in the 1970s. This song, like many others by Aerosmith, is about sex. Most of the lyrics were written by Steven Tyler and Jim Vallance, a Canadian songwriter whose credits include “Summer Of ’69” and several other Aerosmith songs. The riff was created by Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, and the bass line was created by Vallance.
17. Kings and Queens
This was the band’s second single off their fifth studio album, “Draw The Line.” On this track, Aerosmith goes medieval, with Steven Tyler singing about a time of lords and maidens as if he was there in a previous life. It’s hardly a pretty view at this era, with the chorus line “Kings and queens and guillotines” and loads of violent imagery, as he concentrates on the capricious bloodshed and widespread battles at the time. According to Brad Whitford, this was one of the most difficult Aerosmith songs to modify for live performance. As a result, the band doesn’t perform it often, but fans are often surprised when it emerges from the attic.
“Amazing” is one of the most successful ballads of a hard rock band. This song is about recovering from addiction and climbing back to the top after hitting rock bottom. It was co-written by Steven Tyler and Richie Supa, who worked with the band in the late 1970s and co-wrote the song “Chip Away the Stone.” It was also one of the few Aerosmith songs produced by Bruce Fairbairn, who produced Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet.” The song was a hit, reaching number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Aerosmith’s last top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 remains one of their best songs from this century. According to lead singer Steven Tyler, he wrote this song while reflecting on his youngest daughter. He thought about how much he missed her childhood due to his touring schedule. He believes that the jaded her and himself by not being available due to band commitments or drug problems. “Jaded” was released as a single in 2001 and peaked at No. 7. It’s one of the more successful singles from their “Just Push Play” album.
Aerosmith went through a serious funk phase in the ’80s, culminating in this 1993 smash that has held up remarkably well over time. The band released it as a single from their eleventh studio album, “Get a Grip,” on June 20, 1993. The song peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and it finished the year at number 60 overall. The song’s music video was a major hit on MTV, becoming the most requested video in 1993 and earning the band multiple Video Music Awards nominations.
13. Same Old Song and Dance
Aerosmith released “Same Old Song and Dance” as a single for their third album “Get Your Wings” in 1974. It was written by Steven Tyler and lead guitarist Joe Perry. It was somewhat revolutionary because it featured an extended guitar solo, which was unusual for hard rock songs at the time. Aerosmith later re-recorded the song and several others from their early albums for their greatest hits album. This version of the song was released as a single in 1994 as part of the promotion for the compilation.
12. What It Takes
Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and Desmond Child write the power ballad “What It Takes.” The song was released in 1989 as the third single from the critically and commercially successful album “Pump”, and it peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. This song is about breaking up with a girlfriend and figuring out how to get over it. When the band was initially putting the song together, the track sounded like a twangy country ballad. Good thing they added electric guitars, which then made it more reminiscent of the signature Aerosmith sound.
Next: 25 Songs About Regret
11. Livin’ on the Edge
“Livin’ on the Edge” was released as a single from their 1993 album “Get a Grip”. It peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is one of Aerosmith’s signature songs. “Livin’ on the Edge” is about how the world is wild, but people refuse to change because they are trapped in their routines. According to Aerosmith’s autobiography “Walk This Way,” the song was inspired by the Los Angeles riots of 1992, which occurred after white police officers accused of beating black motorist Rodney King were acquitted. In 1994, this song won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. It was only Aerosmith’s second Grammy, following their triumph for the same category in 1991 with the song “Janie’s Got A Gun”.
10. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
If you remember the film “Armageddon,” then it’s hard to not think about this song that prolonged Aerosmith’s reign as the hottest rock band of the 1990s. The ballad, written by Diane Warren and performed by Steven Tyler, is about appreciating every moment spent with someone else. Tyler’s daughter Liv starred in the film, which was one reason Aerosmith was chosen to perform the song. It peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, becoming the band’s first and only number-one single in the US. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” has also been the go-to song for weddings, and it still holds up as one of Aerosmith’s best.
9. Last Child
Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Brad Whitford wrote this swaggering, blues-infused song. It was the lead single from the 1976 album Rocks, and it peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is about the band’s lives at the time, and the amount of time they spent on the road. Tyler explores new ground by rhyming “Tallahassee” with “Sassafrasse.” The song was a modest hit, but it rapidly became a live favorite and has remained in Aerosmith’s setlists throughout their tour. In addition, it is frequently used as a showcase song for Whitford at concerts.
8. Mama Kin
“Mama Kin” was the first single to be released by Aerosmith after they signed with Columbia Records. It was also the leadoff track on their 1973 self-titled debut album. It’s a bluesy track, which is why it’s often claimed to be heavily influenced by The Rolling Stones. It’s also been compared to Led Zeppelin, as Tyler has admitted that “Immigrant Song” inspired the song. “Mama Kin” was Steven Tyler’s concept of a spiritual force that drives creativity and pleasure. The lyric “Keep in touch with Mama Kin” means remembering the desires that drive you to excel.
7. Seasons of Wither
Seasons of Wither is one of the band’s most melancholy songs, a minor-key ballad with a simple but beautiful melody. Steven Tyler said he wrote this song during the winter. Believed to be inspired by his then-girlfriend/future wife Cyrinda Foxe, this song was released on the band’s 1974 “Get Your Wings” album. Although it didn’t become a hit until two years later when it was included on the band’s Greatest Hits album, it shot to No. 21 in 1976 and has remained one of Aerosmith’s most popular songs. Tyler’s lyrics are poetic and heartfelt as he sings about love found, love lost and the changing seasons of life.
6. Dude (Looks Like a Lady)
The fourth single from the “Permanent Vacation” album is Aerosmith at its best. This was Aerosmith’s first single after their comeback. After years of drug addiction and poorly selling recordings, they came clean with “Permanent Vacation” and went on to immense success in their second act. For this sing, the band was more concerned about offending the LGBT community than about their masculinity for this song. They didn’t want to come across as jackass rock stars mocking someone different, but songwriter Desmond Child pushed for the song. Throughout the years, the band has consistently rotated this into their setlists. It has long been a mainstay on rock radio and in concert.
5. Back in the Saddle
This hard-rocking song from “Rocks” is one of the first recorded with Brad Whitford, who replaced Joe Perry after he left in 1979. The song is about getting back on top, and it definitely helped Aerosmith get back on top of the charts. So many things make this song stand out: the slow buildup of the drum rhythm and guitar riff, in the beginning, the sound effects of a galloping horse and whips, and Steven Tyler’s shouts and yodeling towards the finale. The song is still played on classic rock radio and in concerts today. It is arguably one of Aerosmith’s strongest Top 40 singles. Rock artists Slash and James Hetfield lists it as one of their favorite rock songs.
4. Janie’s Got a Gun
The first single from “Pump” was released in 1989 and reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. With themes of incest, child abuse, and revenge murder, it was an uncharacteristically dark song for the band. According to Steven Tyler, the lyrics were inspired by a Time magazine cover story about gun violence in America and a Newsweek article about children being molested in affluent areas. This song won Aerosmith their first Grammy in 1991, taking home the award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.
3. Sweet Emotion
“Sweet Emotion”, a 1975 single from the album Toys in the Attic, features some of Steven Tyler’s best vocals and some masterful guitar work from Joe Perry. It’s a slice of classic rock that sounds as fresh today as it did when it was first released. The opening bass groove is one of the great lines in rock history. The rest of the song is just as strong, with an unshakable chorus and a fantastic guitar solo from Joe Perry.
2. Walk This Way
“Walk This Way” is a funk-rock hit with a classic blues groove and clever lyrics, performed by Aerosmith with Run-DMC. This song made rap-rock acceptable to mainstream audiences and led to many more examples of this musical hybrid. The track received substantial radio airplay while “Toys in the Attic” was still climbing the charts and became a classic rock radio staple. It also earned Aerosmith their first Grammy nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in 1977. In addition, “Walk This Way” is notable for being one of the first songs to fuse rap with hard rock and being one of many Aerosmith songs that achieved success in cinema soundtracks.
1. Dream On
“Dream On” is by far their most well-known song, and it’s often considered one of the greatest rock songs ever written. It was the leadoff track to Aerosmith’s self-titled debut album in 1973 and has been a staple of their live show ever since. It represents everything great about the band: the extreme dynamics, Tyler’s voice and lyrics, and a perfect blend of hard rock riffs with more melodic elements. Aerosmith’s first big hit remains one of the group’s most affecting tracks, thanks partly to Steven Tyler’s powerful vocal performance and because it’s so nakedly emotional. The group wrote “Dream On” in the early ’70s, and the song feels like a bridge between the band’s blues-rock roots and their later, more pop-oriented sound.
Next: 21 Songs About Hope
For a band that has been around for decades, Aerosmith and their music have certainly stood the test of time. While there will always be room for debate on what is the best Aerosmith song, there are some definitive classics in the band’s discography. From their ultimate classic “Dream On” to the title track of their grueling 1978 comeback album, Draw the Line, Aerosmith has given us some unforgettable musical moments that will live on long after they’re gone.