On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Aerosmith – Walk This Way (1975)
We’re saying farewell to Minnesota today, dear reader, and making our way across the US to Boston. Here we find Aerosmith who were first formed in 1970 and are still going to this day. Led by the unmistakable Steven Tyler, Aerosmith began with a bang in the 1970s, before drug addiction and internal feuding left them in the wilderness for years, before a resurgence in the 1980s. We join Aerosmith in the early days though in 1975 with the release of their album, Toys in the Attic, which spawned hit singles, Dream On, and today’s choice from 1001 Songs, Walk This Way.
Walk This Way was written by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry and was quite a difficult song to bring to life from what I have read. The title was actually inspired by the group watching Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein which included the line, “walk this way”, in one of many amusing moments in the comedy classic. Worth a look if you haven’t seen it. The title stuck and Tyler did the rest, penning lyrics to a song that became all about a high schooler losing his virginity. In the song, he explains that he hasn’t made it with a girl before but the chance ultimately comes along and the girl he ends up with has been here before, and is more than happy to show him what to do. I have read that on the surface the song seems sexual enough with its lyrics but apparently there is a deeper meaning to the phrase, “walk this way”, alluding to a certain action involved in lovemaking but I’ll leave that one to the imagination.
Walk This Way is considered one of Aerosmith’s best songs and it retains its power and energy to this day. It helped to propel the group to stardom in the 1970s along with Dream On. Strangely enough, Walk This Way also helped the group’s comeback in the 1980s. Run-D.M.C. covered the track with Tyler and Perry guesting on vocals and guitar in a peculiar mix of hip hop and rock. The combination worked and the song was a massive hit helping Aerosmith back to glory once again. They have remained a mainstay of American rock ever since and though Tyler is now in his 70s he shows no signs of slowing down just yet.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Doors – The End (1967)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Derek & The Dominos – Layla (1970)
David Bowie – Life on Mars? (1971)
Rod Stewart – Maggie May (1971)
Sparks – This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us (1974)
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (1975)
Bob Dylan – Tangled Up in Blue (1975)