Lead singer of the Boston-based rock group Aerosmith, Steven Tyler is an accomplished musician and songwriter known for his great wit and ability to connect with people.
Born Steven Victor Tallarico, his lifelong passion for music began when he used to sit beneath the piano as a little boy while his classical pianist father honed his craft. He went on to sing in a Presbyterian Church choir in the Bronx, and several years later formed his first “serious” band, Three Strangeurs. Later renamed Chain Reaction, the group enjoyed occasional moments in the spotlight as the opening act for The Beach Boys and the Yardbirds – a long way from the international rock icon he’d eventually become known as years later.
It wasn’t until Tyler met future bandmates Joe Perry and Tom Hamilton at a rock show in New Hampshire that the makings of Aerosmith took shape. The group moved to Boston and struggled to make ends meet as they played the club circuit and sought out other local gigs. In 1971, they saw their break and signed their first record deal. With the release of such albums as Get Your Wings, Toys in the Attic, Rocks, and Draw the Line, Tyler and the band were instantly thrust into the international spotlight.
Rocks was hailed by critics as a classic American rock album and their most sophisticated work to date. Simultaneously, “Dream On” from their debut album and “Walk This Way” from Toys in the Attic became their first national top ten hits. By 1977, the band was one of the top concert attractions in the country and was in the process of releasing yet another platinum album, Draw the Line.
Constant touring began to take a toll on the band, as they were faced with the stresses and bad influences of the rock star lifestyle. Joe Perry left the group and was replaced with Jimmy Crespo who co-wrote and produced the album Rock In A Hard Place. It was five years later, after a long period of well-publicized estrangement between Tyler and Joe Perry, that the two reconnected and the original Aerosmith lineup reunited for what was called “The Back in the Saddle Tour.” Tyler remembers, “It was like five years had never passed. We knew we’d made the right move.”
In 1986, the release of Run DMC’s rendition of “Walk This Way” garnered Aerosmith a new generation of fans. Tyler and Perry’s landmark collaboration with the group on the music video sparked an international hit that not only rekindled interest in Aerosmith’s career, but also forever changed the face of music by uniting hip-hop and rock ‘n roll.
In 1989, Aerosmith released Pump, which brought the group their first MTV Video Music Award for Best Metal/Hard Rock Video and the coveted Viewer’s Choice Award, as well as a Grammy for “Janie’s Got a Gun.” The song was often associated with the tragedy of child abuse and established Aerosmith’s capacity for insightful narrative and sensitivity to hard issues.
Honored with countless industry awards and hundreds of other accolades, Aerosmith was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was the first rock group recipient of MTV’s Icon Award. The band has scored numerous Billboard hits, including “Cryin,” “Amazing,” and their biggest hit to date, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” which spent four weeks at number one. Chart toppers “Livin’ on the Edge,” “Crazy,” and “Pink,” also earned them several Grammys.
With Tyler’s irrepressible style helping to make them an MTV staple, the band’s “Walk This Way” and “Janie’s Got a Gun” are included among the “100 Greatest Videos Ever Made.” 2001 brought the American Music Award’s prestigious International Artist Award, only given five times in the 28-year history of the Awards. Also that year, Aerosmith earned RIAA certifications making them the 10th most certified artists of all time and the 6th most certified band in music history (following the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Eagles, and AC/DC).
In addition to maintaining a steady tour schedule, Tyler has made a variety of appearances at several events. From singing the national anthem at the Indianapolis 500, to performing at the Super Bowl XXXV Halftime Show, to serving Thanksgiving dinner to the needy before an Aerosmith show in Florida, Tyler remains busy. Having undergone throat surgery, survived a 10-year battle with Hepatitis C, and been sober for more than 20 years, Tyler remains a positive, determined force in life. He has been recognized with an honorary degree from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Boston.
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