Walk This Way: Run-DMC, Aerosmith, and the Song That Changed American Music Forever by Geoff EdgersI was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I had some reservations before reading because while I love the song they worked on together, I wouldnt say Im a big fan of either group. Thankfully, both the history of the groups and the backstory behind how this unlikely collaboration came to be made for an interesting read.
Most of the book is devoted to everything that led up to the making of the song including biographical info about the artists and the history of each group. While much of the info is probably known to fans, I did appreciate how the author interviewed both key and bit players for this book which gave it more of a fresh feel rather than relying on old quotes pieced together to tell the story.
One thing that did surprise me was how not everyone involved was in agreement that this was a smart move to bring these groups from different genres of music together. Despite the fact it was a hit song and certainly had a cultural impact, theres definitely mixed feelings among some of the participants. Reading their thoughts on the matter was quite fascinating.
If you like behind the scenes type entertainment books, I would give this one a chance. Fair warning, you will probably have the song stuck in your head while reading!
I won a free advance copy of this book but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
Walk This Way
Hip-hop reigns supreme in music today, but rewind to the early s and it was the faintest of blips on the national consciousness. Released in , the mashup—itself a foreign concept at the time—was the brainchild of a young producer named Rick Rubin. The rest is, as they say, history, and the song is a genre-busting track that bore our first rap superstars and fundamentally altered the musical landscape forever. In an interview with Esquire , Edgers recounts the wildest things he learned like just how little each group thought of each other and the most frustrating moments of his research wild discrepancies in accounts, for one , and shares two rare videos from the recording session. When Aerosmith and Run-DMC first got together, the two acts often talked about how much they admired each other and how long they'd been fans.
"Walk This Way" is a song by the American hard rock band Aerosmith. Written by Steven Tyler . Live in concert, Tyler often has the audience, combined with members of the band, sing "talk this way". There is . The chorus of Run-DMC's cover contains a pitch alternation that Aerosmith themselves adapted in most future live.
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Book Excerpt: 'Walk This Way'
Just like everything else in America, music is infused with racial politics. It shows up in who gets credit and compensation for their art, how the work is considered and awarded by professional organizations, whose music gets played on which radio station, even how individual songs are categorized by genre. You have this mashup of two groups that are opposite in a lot of ways. One is older white rockers, and the other black kids who are cultural upstarts. There is something to be said for the fact that Aerosmith for Run-DMC, they were a tool to get on the radio. That was about it.
Written by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry , the song was originally released as the second single from the album Toys in the Attic It peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot in early , part of a string of successful hit singles for the band in the s. In addition to being one of the songs that helped break Aerosmith into the mainstream in the s, it also helped revitalize their career in the s when it was covered by hip hop group Run—D. This cover was a touchstone for the new musical subgenre of rap rock , or the melding of rock and hip hop. The song starts out with a two measure drum beat intro by Joey Kramer , followed by the well known guitar riff by Joe Perry. The song proceeds with the main riff made famous by Perry and Brad Whitford on guitar with Tom Hamilton on bass. The song continues with rapid fire lyrics by Steven Tyler.
Yet in the s rap and rock artists only mixed when Americans outraged at the language of popular music protested outside the offices of record companies such as Time Warner and destroyed albums by groups including Slayer and 2 Live Crew. While a handful of artists such as LL Cool J and the Fat Boys found crossover appeal, rappers were as absent from the cultural landscape as their forebears, the blues musicians of the s and s. Hip hop was also exiled from sections of the African-American community that treated the genre as a passing phase, or crude. According to the script, the three members of the group — two rappers called Run and DMC and their DJ, Jam Master Jay — visit the Huxtables and gain the endorsement of Cliff Bill Cosby by speaking about the importance of school and hard work. The episode ends with the family patriarch and Run-DMC rapping together.