Aerosmith's Joe Perry

Today is the 48th birthday of Aerosmith guitarist Anthony Joseph Perry,

better known as Joe, who was born in Boston. Aerosmith were one of the most

popular hard-rock groups of the '70s and have enjoyed a creative and popular

resurgence since the mid-'80s.

Perry met singer Steven Tyler in an ice cream parlor and they decided to

form a band with bassist Tom Hamilton, with whom Perry had played in the Jam

Band. After adding guitarist Brad Whitford and drummer Joey Kramer, the

band gigged around Boston and named themselves Aerosmith in 1970.

Clive Davis, now head of Arista Records, signed Aerosmith to Columbia in

1972. On their eponymous 1973 debut album, Aerosmith created the mold for the

'70s power ballad with their classic "Dream On." Get Your Wings

(1974) spent 86 weeks on the Billboard album chart as Aerosmith

relentlessly toured the U.S. 1975's Toys in the Attic, filled

with spare riffs and sexual double entendres, broke the band big in America.

"Dream On" was quickly reissued and made the top 10 singles chart. After

releasing the popular, critically lauded Rocks (1976), Aerosmith

again hit the top 10 with "Walk This Way," the last release from

Toys. After a short break came Draw the Line (1977), which was

certified platinum despite critical drubbing. Aerosmith seemed tired at

this point, and performed the Beatles' "Come Together" in the disastrous

film "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

The aptly titled A Night in the Ruts (1979) appeared as Perry announced

he was leaving to form the Joe Perry Project. Whitford soon departed as well. Aerosmith carried on without them on 1982's Rock in a Hard Place. Meanwhile, various members battled debilitating drug addictions. Perry

and Whitford returned in 1984 and the band issued Done with Mirrors

(1985), which showed signs of rejuvenation. Tyler and Perry resurrected

Aerosmith's popularity by appearing on Run-D.M.C.'s rap cover of "Walk This

Way" and its accompanying video. Now signed to Geffen Records, Aerosmith began

taking the charts by storm again with Permanent Vacation (1987).

While Perry and Tyler had composed most of the band's songs in the past,

this album marked the start of collaborations with outside songwriters such as Holly Knight and Desmond Child. The results were such smashes as "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" and "Rag Doll," beginning one of the greatest comebacks in rock history. Pump (1989) was even more popular, selling four million copies and spawning top 10s such as "Love in an Elevator." Debuting at #1, Get a Grip (1993) sounded much like its two predecessors.

Switching back to Columbia via a much-hyped multimillion-dollar contract,

Aerosmith unveiled Nine Lives in 1997, after troubles with managers

and producers. The album sold poorly compared with the band's past few, but just when Aerosmith seemed headed for another slump, they rebounded with the #1

song "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing," from the film "Armageddon."

Aerosmith will release a live album, A Little South Of Sanity, next


Other birthdays: Roy Ayers, 58; Danny Hutton (Three Dog Night), 56; José Feliciano, 53;

Barriemore Barlow (Jethro Tull), 49; Johnny Fingers (Boomtown Rats), 42;

Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama, Shakespear's Sister), 38; and David Lowery

(Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven), 38.