‘Rocks’ is the fourth album by Aerosmith, released May 3, 1976. Released after the superb ‘Toys In The Attic’. It has been described as having ‘captured Aerosmith at their most raw and rocking’.
Written by: David Shaw
SERIAL: PC 34165
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Steven Tyler – lead vocals, bass, piano * Joe Perry – guitar, backing vocals * Brad Whitford – guitar * Tom Hamilton – bass * Joey Kramer – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Back In The Saddle * 02 Last Child * 03 Rats In The Cellar * 04 Combination * 05 Sick As A Dog * 06 Nobodys Fault * 07 Get The Lead Out * 08 Lick And A Promise * 09 Home Tonight
WEBLINKS: Site Link
I am going to make an assumption here, that everyone who reads this review has the album in his or her collection. And therefore needs no introduction to the Boston bad boys, as they were at the time. I played this CD over the weekend and realised that ‘Rocks’ had not been reviewed on this site. How could this masterpiece been overlooked? So I decided to put it right. ‘Rocks’ is the fourth album by Aerosmith, released May 3, 1976. Released after the superb ‘Toys In The Attic’. It has been described as having ‘captured Aerosmith at their most raw and rocking’.
‘Back In The Saddle’ is the album opener, the intro builds up with Steven Tyler screaming ‘I’m bacccckkkkkkk.’ Joe Perry wrote the main riff to this song while on the floor of a hotel, stoned off heroin. This song has been a stable concert opener for the band for many years. Next up is ‘Last Child’ with Brad Whitford pulling off some great guitar soloing, then they return to a funky groove. The song ends with police sirens fading out (Kelv Hellrazer would enjoy that!.. Ed).
The fading sirens, takes us into ‘Rats In The Cellar’. A fast paced rocker that has guitar solos galore, the outro just builds upon layer over layer and gets faster and faster. The ending has been likening to Fleetwood Mac‘s ‘Rattlesnake Shake’. ‘Combination’ follows with Steven and Joe on vocals, another great tune. ‘Sick As A Dog’ was co-written by bassist Tom Hamilton, who incidentally plays guitar on the song while both Perry and Tyler play bass.
‘Nobody’s Fault’, which for me is the highlight of the album, and in my opinion one of Aerosmith’s greatest songs. It begins with a guitar fading in and out then leaps into the most monstrous riff. I have read that the song is about earthquakes, due to the recent earthquake that happened in California, before Steven wrote the song. A bit apt as to what has been happening over here in New Zealand recently. Brad himself did all the guitar work. This track is worth the money spent alone for the album, classic and genius.
‘Get The Lead Out’ is a good song, about halfway though the song Steven begins playing harmonica and there’s a cowbell involved. ‘Lick And A Promise’ is another good song with catchy lyrics; there is a part of the song that sounds live, but from reading about the making of this album, it is in fact six guys, (a drug dealer, a friend, and a few guys who worked at the studio), and got them to say the word ‘more’ into a microphone. They had the technology to make six guys sound like a whole amphitheater, which is why it sounds like Aerosmith is playing live at the end of the song.
‘Home Tonight’ sounds like a twin sister to ‘You See Me Crying’ from ‘Toys In The Attic’. A heartfelt ballad, with some good piano playing from Steven. A short song, climaxing in some great fret work and finally fading out.
This is Aerosmith’s finest hour. Along with ‘Toys In The Attic’ this was the pinnacle of Aerosmith. Sure I did enjoy ‘Live Bootleg’, ‘Draw The Line’ and even ‘Night In The Ruts’, but they finally imploded, due to drugs. The straw that broke the camels back was a row between two of the bands wives. I don’t listen to anything Aerosmith have produced since the very early 80’s, I just slap on ‘Rocks’ and hark back to a time when hard rock was exactly that and a world filled with drugs, booze and groupies.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)