Monday, August 6, 2012

40 Year Itch: Aerosmith Nabs Record Deal

After catching their 40 minute energetic set at Max's Kansas City in New York City , Columbia head Clive Davis signed Aerosmith on August 5, 1972. The band would go on to sell 150 million records.

Aerosmith had been toiling in Boston bars before they got the break to play Max's. Of the legendary NYC club Steven Tyler says "You knew even the assholes were going to be famous someday. It was that kind of place … it was like lighting a whole pack of Black Cat firecrackers all at once and throwing it in the room."

At the time The New York Dolls was the band everyone was talking about but Aerosmith's manager had convinced both Clive Davis of Columbia and Jerry Greenberg of Atlantic Records to see the band's set. Greenberg brought Ahmet Ertegun. They were the favorites because they already had hard rock acts on the label like Led Zeppelin.

24 year old lead singer Steven Tyler almost blew the audition when he introduced an instrumental : "We call it 'We Don't Wanna Fuck You, We Just Wanna Eat Your Sandwiches'". The line was met with complete silence. However at the end of the show Clive walked up to Tyler, slung an arm around the young man and said "Steven, you want to know something?  You're gonna be a big star."

The night is celebrated on the Night In The Ruts cut "No Surprise".

Nineteen seventy one 
We all heard the starters gun 
New York is such a pity 
But at Max's Kansas City we won 
 We all shot the shit at the bar 
With Johnny O'Toole and his scar
 And then old Clive Davis said
 He's surely gonna make us a star 
I'm gonna make you a star
 Just the way you are

Guess Steven couldn't come up with a rhyme for "Nineteen Seventy Two" which would have been the correct year. But of course, if you're Steven Tyler,  it's all been a blur.

Aerosmith's debut , featuring the single "Dream On" , was released in January of 1973 and rose to #21 in the charts. In 1976, when "Dream On" was re-released following the success of Toys In The Attic  and rose to #6 on the singles chart.

By the way Jerry and Ahmet thought the band sucked.

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