Monday, February 1, 2021

"Angel" by Aerosmith

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3392
Date:  01/30/1988
Debut:  81
Peak:  3
Weeks:  25
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  This band seemed nearly kaput and ready for the rock 'n' roll junkyard in the mid-80s. Then Aerosmith got a boost via the trio Run-D.M.C., who took their classic track "Walk This Way" and turned it into a rap hit (#4 Pop). Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry guested on the recording and it helped bring a light back to the waning band. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, the band cleaned up their act and concentrated on making their comeback album, Permanent Vacation. The LP's first single, "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)," would become their biggest hit since the mid-70s reaching #14. This second single would do even better. The power ballad would hit #3 on the Pop chart, which was a career-best for them at the time. It would also get to #2 at Rock. The hit would help sell more albums and by May of '88, Permanent Vacation, would reach the double-platinum mark.

ReduxReview:  This was a different kind of tune for Aerosmith. Written by Steven Tyler and Desmond Child, the radio-friendly track was a definite change from the band's usual ballsy blue-rock/hard rock sound. However, the track was perfect for a time when hard rock/glam rock bands were earning hits with power ballads and it secured Aerosmith's comeback. It was their first Pop Top 10 since 1976. I thought it was a terrific track. If the band wanted to sell records, this was the way they had to go whether they liked it or not (apparently the band was not happy when the label hooked them up with popular songwriters). Desmond Child I'm sure did a lot to shape this song into something hooky and commercial while Bruce Fairbairn's meaty production framed the rock tune well.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The Permanent Vacation album included a Beatles cover. Aerosmith did their version of "I'm Down," a 1965 track written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon that the Beatles used for the b-side to their #1 hit "Help!" While the song was never included on one of the band's regular studio albums, they would often use it to close their shows during the last few years of touring. The rockin' song and McCartney's lead vocal were inspired by Little Richard. Around the same time Aerosmith was covering "I'm Down," another group was also doing a remake of the tune. The Beastie Boys recorded a raucous version of the track for their debut album License to Ill. At the time, the Beatles catalog was owned by Michael Jackson, so any use of the material had to be cleared by the King of Pop. It seems that when it came to Aerosmith's cover, MJ gave them a pass. However, he reportedly hated the Beastie Boys' version and didn't like the trio either, so he nixed their request. The Boys were then unable to use it on License to Ill or officially release it at all, something that group member Mike D was not happy about and publicly voiced his anger at MJ over the issue several times.


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