Tuesday, June 29, 2021

"Rag Doll" by Aerosmith

Song#:  3539
Date:  06/04/1988
Debut:  86
Peak:  17
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Hard Rock, Blues-Rock

Pop Bits:  Aerosmith had been struggling throughout the 80s and were nearly on the verge of calling it quits when they decided to clean up their act and dial in on making a concentrated comeback effort. Their rally paid off when the first two singles from their album Permanent Vacation made the Pop Top 20, which included the big #3 hit "Angel" (#2 Rock). For a follow-up, this next track was issued out. It would be another solid winner for them cracking the Pop Top 20 while getting to #12 at Rock. By this point in time, the album had already peaked at #11 and gone double-platinum. Eventually it would sell over five million copies. It was quite the comeback for the band, but it was only the beginning. Their next two albums would do even better.

ReduxReview:  The one-two stomp that opened this song became instantly memorable. When the first measure played on the radio, you knew exactly what it was and the volume got cranked. Everything about the song worked. The big beat, the chorus, the production, and Steven Tyler's ad libs at the end. It was just a fun track and I truly thought it would go Top 10. Although it stopped short, the song remained popular for quite a long time and it is still one in their catalog that gets airplay.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  This song was first developed by lead singer Steven Tyler, guitarist Joe Perry, and hit making songwriter Jim Vallance. It was originally titled "Rag Time" as the song's feel was reminiscent of the ragtime music of the early 1900s. It was also a side reference to the many scarves that Tyler had on stage. Geffen Records exec John Kalodner heard the new tune and thought it was terrific, however he was not sold on the whole "Rag Time" thing. He didn't think a younger 80s audience would understand the references and suggested that they change a few things including the title. Tyler and Vallance attempted to come up with a new title, but nothing was working. So Kalodner brought in hit songwriter Holly Knight to see if she could help. After hearing the track, she suggested "Rag Doll" for the title along with a couple minor updates to the lyrics. Her suggestions made the difference and it earned her a songwriting credit on the tune.


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