Albums of the ’80s: Aerosmith – Permanent Vacation

25 years ago, with the huge comeback album, Permanent Vacation, Aerosmith let the world know that they were back for good. The legendary band was a rock staple of the ’70s featuring hits such as “Dream On”, “Back in the Saddle”, and and “Sweet Emotion”.
Then in 1979, lead guitarist Joe Perry left the band to form The Joe Perry Project. Aerosmith’s 1979 album,
Night in the Ruts, quickly fell off the charts, and the band’s popularoty faded away. In the meantime, Steven Tyler’s drug abuse continued to get worse and worse, and affected their concerts, as he was prone to collapse on stage. There was another setback in 1980 as Tyler was involved in a motorcycle accident, and was sidelined until well into 1981. In 1981, rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford also left the band to record Whitford/St. Holmes with former Ted Nugent vocalist/guitarist Derek St. Holmes.

In 1984, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford saw Aerosmith perform at Boston’s Orpheum Theater. They hung out with Steven Tyler, and were inspired to re-join the band. The reunited band tried to come back, but drug abuse continued to hold them back. They released Done with Mirrors, in what they hoped would be a huge comeback album. But there was little interest, and there wasn’t a single hit off of that album.

Then in 1986, they finally got some attention when Tyler and Perry appeared on Run D.M.C.’s cover of “Walk This Way”. This song resurrected Aerosmith’s career by introducing the band’s music to a new (aka, “our”) generation. According to the band’s tell-all autobiography, Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith, the band’s manager, Tim Collins pledged in September 1986 he could make Aerosmith the biggest band in the world by 1990 if they all completed drug rehab. So in 1986, Tyler completed a successful drug rehabilitation program, and the rest of the band did the same over the next couple of years. Because their attempt at a comeback album, Done with Mirrors, flopped, they knew the next album would be crucial to their careers. So they worked hard on the album, and at staying clean, and the result was a legendary album.

Permanent Vacation was released in 1987, and became a smash hit, eventually selling over 5 million copies. It was the first album where Aerosmith took advantage of MTV, and received heavy airplay. The three singles they released off of the album, “Rag Doll,” “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” and “Angel”, all became major hit singles. Each one was a Top 20 hit. In addition to those hit songs, the rest of the songs on the album were also excellent.

With that, let’s Return to 1987, and go on a Permanent Vacation:

1. Heart’s Done Time

Welcome to the new and improved Aerosmith, proving that they are rockin’ better than ever!

2. Magic Touch

The first track rolled nicely into this one. OK, two awesome songs in a row! Proving that this comeback is no fluke.

3. Rag Doll

This was the third and final single released from the album. After the radio stations and MTV played the crap out of “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” and “Angel”, this was a welcome change – until this got overplayed as well. The song peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100, #12 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and #42 on the UK charts. Years removed from the initial release, I’m back into this song.

4. Simoriah

5. Dude (Looks Like a Lady)

Aerosmith burst back on the scene and became relevant again when they released this song. Steven Tyler says in the book Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith, “One day we met Mötley Crüe, and they’re all going, ‘Dude!’ Dude this and Dude that, everything was Dude. ‘Dude (Looks Like a Lady)’ came out of that session.”.

According to an interview with Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe done for Swedish television, the title of the song originated from a New York bar crawl where Steven Tyler and Vince Neil had drinks at a bar where the waiters were dressed in women’s clothes. This, according to Vince Neil, prompted Tyler to comment; “Dude looks like a lady!”.

“Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100, #41 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, #4 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and #45 on the UK Singles Chart in 1987, but was re-released in early 1990 and reached a new peak of 20.

6. St. John

Aerosmith is considered one of the best rock bands of all time. Like most of the great ones, Aerosmith have some Blues in them. This song definitely has a Bluesy feel to it:

7. Hangman Jury

This was always one of my favorite songs on the album. I listened to this one over and over:

8. Girl Keeps Coming Apart

9. Angel

Lift up your lighters! This power ballad was the most successful single on the album, peaking at #3. This was always popular for dedications at school dances.

10. Permanent Vacation

Pretty good title track. I love that you can hear a steel drum in this too. Steel drums always make vacations better!

11. I’m Down

Aerosmith did a great job covering The Beatles “Come Together”, so it was fitting that they did another Beatles cover. And they did an awesome job on this very underrated Beatles song.

12. The Movie

This is the only video that I could find for this song, that I could post. Pretty good instrumental.

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