Aerosmith is an American hard rock band, sometimes referred to as "The Bad Boys from Boston" and "America's Greatest Rock and Roll Band". Their style, which is rooted in blues-based hard rock, has come to also incorporate elements of pop, heavy metal, and rhythm and blues, and has inspired many subsequent rock artists. The band was formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1970. Guitarist Joe Perry and bassist Tom Hamilton, originally in a band together called the Jam Band, met up with singer Steven Tyler, drummer Joey Kramer, and guitarist Ray Tabano, and formed Aerosmith. In 1971, Tabano was replaced by Brad Whitford, and the band began developing a following in Boston.
They were signed to Columbia Records in 1972, and released a string of multi-platinum albums, beginning with their 1973 eponymous debut album. In 1975, the band broke into the mainstream with the album Toys in the Attic, and their 1976 follow-up Rocks cemented their status as hard rock superstars. By the end of the 1970s, they were among the most popular hard rock bands in the world and developed a loyal following of fans, often referred to as the "Blue Army". However, drug addiction and internal conflict took their toll on the band, which resulted in the departures of Perry and Whitford, in 1979 and 1981 respectively. They were replaced by Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay. The band did not fare well between 1980 and 1984, releasing a lone album, Rock in a Hard Place, which went gold but failed to match their previous successes.
Although Perry and Whitford returned in 1984 and the band signed a new deal with Geffen Records, it was not until the band sobered up and released 1987's Permanent Vacation that they regained the level of popularity they had experienced in the 1970s. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, the band scored several hits and won numerous awards for music from the multi-platinum albums Pump (1989), Get a Grip (1993), and Nine Lives (1997). Their comeback has been described as one of the most remarkable and spectacular in rock 'n' roll history. After 40 years of performing, the band continues to tour and record music.
Aerosmith is the best-selling American rock band of all time, having sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, including 66.5 million albums in the United States alone. They also hold the record for the most gold and multi-platinum albums by an American group. The band has scored 21 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, nine #1 Mainstream Rock hits, four Grammy Awards, and ten MTV Video Music Awards. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and in 2005 they were ranked #57 in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Hamilton and Perry moved to Boston, Massachusetts in September. There they met Joey Kramer, a drummer also from Yonkers, New York who had also known Steven Tyler, with whom he had always hoped to play in a band. Kramer, a Berklee College of Music student, decided to quit school to join the band. In October 1970, they met up once again with Steven Tyler, who had been a drummer and backup singer, but adamantly refused to play drums in this band, insisting he would only take part if he could be the frontman and lead vocalist. The others agreed, and Aerosmith was born. The band took the name Aerosmith, suggested by drummer Joey Kramer, after considering The Hookers and Spike Jones. Aerosmith played their first gig in Mendon, Massachusetts at Nipmuc Regional High School in 1970.
The members of the band used to sit around every afternoon getting stoned and watching Three Stooges reruns. One day, they had a post-Stooges meeting to try to come up with a name. Kramer volunteered that when he was in school he would write the word Aerosmith all over his notebooks. The name had popped into his head after listening to Harry Nilsson’s album Aerial Ballet, an homage to Nilsson’s grandparents’ aerial circus act, that featured jacket art of a circus performer jumping out of a biplane. Initially, Kramer’s bandmates were nonplussed; they all thought he was referring to the Sinclair Lewis novel they were forced to read in high school English class. “No, not Arrowsmith,” Kramer explained. “A-E-R-O...Aerosmith.”
The band added Ray Tabano, a childhood friend of Tyler, as rhythm guitarist and began playing local shows. In 1971, Tabano was replaced by Brad Whitford, who also attended the Berklee School of Music and was formerly of the band Earth Inc. Brad Whitford, being from Reading, Massachusetts had played at Reading's AW Coolidge Middle School. Other than a period from July 1979 to April 1984, the line-up of Tyler, Perry, Hamilton, Kramer, and Whitford has stayed the same.