25 Best Aerosmith Songs Ever

Aerosmith is one of the greats, one of the biggest rock n roll bands of the last century. 

Big hair, shiny clothes, big stages, and bigger egos. 

They don’t do rock like they used to, that’s for sure, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy their music today. 

Below is a list of some of its most beloved songs of Aerosmith, enjoy.

1. What It Takes 

What it Takes is a power ballad, written by Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and Desmond Child. 

It was released in 1989 as the third single from their critically and commercially successful album, Pump. 

The lyrics to What It Takes are about getting over a past relationship and the resulting hurt feelings

Desmond Child had helped write the power ballad “Angel” for Aerosmith’s previous album, but the band wanted to make “What It Takes” distinct to their intended sound. 

  • There are two videos for the song. One features the band performing in the Longhorn Ballroom. The other is culled from scenes from The Making of Pump, a film that documented the process of creating the Pump album.
  • The song topped the Mainstream Rock Songs chart in 1990 and reached No.9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart

2. Dream On

Another power ballad, and from their 1973 self-titled debut album. 

This song is all about their big dreams and hunger for success, or as Steven Tyler puts it “Dreaming until your dreams come true.”

The song was actually written years before Aerosmith was even a band, written when Tyler was just around 18 years old. 

This song was also their first major hit and became a classic rock radio staple. 

  • In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song at number 172 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Strangely, it got moved around a lot in the coming years and has since been moved to spot 199 in 2021
  • The song was featured on Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, but they had to perform a re-recording of the song, amongst some of their other songs because the master track was missing during the game’s development.
  • The song has also received multiple platinum certifications as well as being a radio staple in the band’s native Boston.

3. Janie’s Got a Gun

“Janie’s Got a Gun” details the story of a young woman planning her revenge for childhood abuse. 

The song won the band a 1990 Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

Steven Tyler described the origin of the song: “I wrote the song in my basement…’ Oh, Janie’s got a gun.’” stating that that was the start of the song, but he sat for months with just that line until he read an article in Time magazine about child abuse.

  • The song peaked at number 4 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 Chart in 1989 and number 2 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks Chart in 1990.
  • On the album, “Jamie’s Got a Gun” is preceded by a 10-second instrumental called “Water Song”, which features instrumentalist Randy Raine-Reusch, and uses a glass harmonica, wind gong, and bullroarers to produce the special effects heard at the start of the song.
  • The song originally mentioned much rougher lyrics than what’s heard on the radio version. You can hear these lyrics sun on most live versions of the song. 

4. Mama Kin

Mama Kin is one of Aerosmith’s earliest songs and also the one that helped get them signed to Columbia Records. 

Steven Tyler even got a tattoo on his left bicep, beneath a winged heart of the song title, inked “Ma Kin.”

The song comprises a basic guitar riff, with a steady rhythmic backbeat, which comes in between the lyrics in the verse and throughout the bridge

There are also saxophones interspersed throughout the song.

  • The lyrics “Bald as an egg at 18 and working for your daddy’s a drag” were a dig at the band’s then-road manager, Mark Lehman, who quit later.
  • The song has been a live staple of the band’s concerts throughout their career. Live versions of the song appeared on “Live! Bootleg, Classics Live, A Little South of Sanity” and “The Road Starts Hear.”
  • Guns N’ Roses also did a cover of this song

5. Seasons of Wither

Seasons of Wither is another power ballad, written by Steven Tyler and released in 1974 on the band’s second album “Get Your Wings.”

The song is inspired by the Massachusetts landscape in wintertime, with slow and haunting vocals, and a strong rhythm to it. 

The album version starts with a crowd of people cheering, which slowly fades into the howling wind and acoustic guitar. 

Tyler tells how he wrote the song, stating that he used to lie in his bed at dawn, listening to the wind in the bare trees, and how lonely and melancholy it sounded. 

He was angry about his taxes and decided to go down into his basement and write while in that angry state.

  • The song has a long legacy to it since its creation, being featured on multiple greatest hits compilations as well as being a staple of the band’s touring setlist. 
  • The song was played on MTV’s unplugged in 1990 and has since been covered by numerous other bands, from Die Kreuzen to Tesla to Vitamin String Quartet, to name a few.

6. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing

This tune shows the enduring rock troupe happily giving in to the romance of Dianne Warren’s sweet songwriting prowess, with a dash of guitar-driven melodrama. 

It’s a high-voltage performance, only matched by the collision of rock-style instrumentation and grand classical orchestral sounds.

The song was originally written to be part of the soundtrack of the 1998 sci-fi disaster movie Armageddon. 

Warren wrote the song after being inspired by an interview where the interviewee stated that he missed his lover while they were asleep, at which point Warren wrote the famous words “I don’t wanna miss a thing.”

  • The song was Aerosmith’s biggest hit, debuting at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. It stayed there for four weeks in September
  • This was only one of four songs for the Armageddon soundtrack that Aerosmith sang, the other three were:
    • What Kind of Love Are You On
    • Come Together 
    • Sweet Emotion

7. Back in the Saddle

Back in the Saddle features one of the heaviest and most noticeable bass lines by Tom Hamilton. 

The song is also known for the slow drum and guitar buildup at the beginning of the song, as well as the sound effects of a galloping horse, whips, and lashing. 

The song is definitely one of the band’s more sexual songs, being written with the simple idea of cowboys and sex.

A fun fact about the whip sound effect: the band originally intended to record a real bullwhip for it, but after hours of trying to get it to crack, the band only wound up full of cuts and settled for using a pop gun and a studio cord to replicate the effect.

8. Walk This Way

Walk this way was really one of the songs that helped break Aerosmith into the mainstream. 

The lyrics of the song tell the story of a high school boy losing his virginity, with lyrics like “…so I took a big chance at the high school dance” being sung quite fast by Tyler, emphasizing the rhyming lyrics.

Tyler wrote lyrics for the song at a hotel the night before heading to the studio to record, but he left the lyrics in the cab on the way. 

No one believed him, they thought he had never gotten around to writing them in the first place, so he disappeared into the stairwell with a cassette tape and the instrumental track for a few hours.

He had forgotten to take a notepad with him, so he wrote the words on the wall at “the Record Plant’s top floor and then down a few stairs of the back stairway.” And now, years later, it’s one of their signature songs.

9. Sweet Emotion

Sweet emotion is a pretty packed song, with a lot of references to Steven Tyler’s “anger and jealousy” about when Joe Perry moved out of the apartment the band shared to live with his then-girlfriend Alyssa. 

The lyrics refer to tension between the band member’s wives at the time as well as 20th-century references to pregnancies and groupies.

Sweet Emotion was released as a single on May 19 1975 and peaked at number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

The song was so successful that the band decided to re-release one of their first singles “Dream On” in order to capitalize on the moment, causing “Dream On” to hit No.6 after previously only hitting no.59 in 1973.

The song remains successful in the modern day, having sold more than 3 million digital downloads.

10. Last Child 

Last Child was written by Steven Tyler and Brad Whitford and was released in 1976 as the first single from the album Rocks. 

The song is mostly credited to Brad Whitford for his contribution, with Tyler stating “Whatever he put into ‘Last Child’, that’s his moment. He can take that and that’s his, forever.”

  • The song peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100, one of a number of consecutive hits for the band in the mid-1970s.
  • Last Child enjoys regular airplay long after its release, with it being a staple at Aerosmith’s concerts
  • Although it was assumed that the guitar solo heard on the studio recording was played by Joe Perry, it was originally believed to have been played by an uncited session musician the band hired. It was later revealed that Whitford had actually written and performed the solo himself.

11. Dude (Looks Like A Lady)

This song is a little more comical than a lot of Aerosmith’s other songs, but it’s also been called trans-phobic and offensive in recent days. 

However, we should consider the date of its release and the cultural atmosphere of the song.

More than that, it’s a song that was inspired by Motley Crue’s lead singer Vince Neil, where Steven Tyler mistook the singer for a woman with long blond hair. 

Tyler’s bandmates made fun of him, joking about how the “dude looked like a lady.”

Another reason why they used the word dude in the song was because of how frequently the word was used by Motley Crue. 

The song is most definitely about a transvestite though.

  • The song has been featured on multiple compilation albums, including 1994’s Big Ones, and 2002’s O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits and more.
  • The song also played in the 1987 film “Like Father Like Son.”
  • In 1993, the song was featured in the film Mrs. Doubtfire, with the writer of the movie stating that without the song, there wouldn’t have been a Mrs. Doubtfire movie.
  • The song has faced a lot of controversy in recent years, but despite that, it’s also been used positively by some trans people like Caitlyn Jenner, who called Dude(Looks Like a Lady) her theme song.

12. Crazy 

This song is about a guy whose girlfriend leaves him and just how much he misses her. 

Funny enough, this song was written around the same time as another of the band’s power ballads “Angel,” but they decided not to add it to the same album in order to maintain their status as a rock band.

The song was only released two albums later on Get A Grip. Set in A major with a 6/8 time signature (which is basically waltz time and perfect for a slow ballad). 

The video of the song spares no expense in its theatrics, with the video playing out like a film about two girls running away and heading on a joyride.

The music video runs alongside a stage performance of Aerosmith, paralleling the lyrics and the visual narrative.

Crazy was widely successful but was rarely performed on tour until it was added to international shows on their 2007 World Tour due to overwhelming fan demand. 

13. Cryin’

Another power ballad, Cryin’ was written by Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and Taylor Rhodes. 

The song has been described as country by Tyler, stating that they just “Aerosmithed” it. 

Cryin’ is a pretty soppy song, but it’s right up there with some of Aerosmith’s most famous and popular songs.

  • Released as a single, the song reached number 12 on the US Billboard Hot, falling to number 60 by the end of the year
  • The song is one of their most successful hits in Europe, reaching number 1 in Norway, 3 in Iceland, Portugal, and Sweden.

14. Jaded

This song was inspired by Tyler missing much of his daughter’s childhood while being on the road with his band. 

The song’s lyrics are about a girl who’s become jaded and how the relationship the narrator has with the girl is sometimes complicated, but it’s asserted that “I’m the one that jaded you.”

  • “Jaded” reached number one on both the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart and the UK Rock Chart, while reaching the Billboard Hot 100’s no.10 spot
  • The single’s artwork was somewhat controversial, featuring a naked woman holding an apple on the cover. The model featured is Nicole West

15. Line Up

Line Up has got a very country rock feel to it, with the song’s notable riff running throughout the majority of the song. 

Released on the 1993 album, Get a Grip, Line Up is a bit of an anthem. It’s considered alternative rock and even children’s music. 

  • Line Up was co-written by Lenny Kravitz and also scored a scene in the 1994 movie: Ace Venture: Pet Detective.

10 More Songs from Aerosmith

Bolivian RagamuffinRock in A Hard Place
Woman of the WorldGet Your Wings
Uncle SaltyToys in the Attic
S.O.SGet Your Wings
Hangman JuryPermanent Vacation
Let The Music Do The TalkingDone With Mirrors
Walk On DownGet A Grip
Rats in The CellarRocks
No More No MoreToys In The Attic
Hole in My SoulNine Lives