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FORTY and still going strong

Aerosmith is one of the few rock bands that has stood the test of time.


SUSTAINING THE popularity of a band for 40 years is by no means an easy task. No wonder Aerosmith's faithful fans still believe in its music. Though the style of the band has changed with time, the lyrical power and energy has remained consistent. And to think the band began business in the 1960s!

In 1964, a band called The Strangeurs (that's how it was spelt!) hit the American music scene with its cover versions of popular songs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Yardbirds. Stephen Tyler was the leader of this band, who after a couple of years, renamed the band as Chain Reaction.

Apart from doing opening acts for high-profile bands of the time, Chain Reaction released a few Garage Rock numbers that caught the attention of listeners. In the meanwhile, though, a group called Jam Band was doing similar sort of music, and as a result of a surprise merger between the two bands, Aerosmith was born.

Till around 1974, the combined musical talent from the two bands produced impressive Garage tunes, which included songs such as "Dream On," "No Surprise," and "Pandora's Box." By the time Aerosmith entered the 1980s, they had slowly but surely risen to become a rock band with a different groove, especially because of the extensive tour programmes of the band. The band targeted venues which the other rock biggies such as Led Zeppelin and The Stones never bothered to explore, which gave them an exclusive turf, in certain areas of the U.S.

The 1990s marked boom time for the band. Chartbuster songs such as "Crazy," "Falling in Love is So Hard on the Knees," and "Nine Lives" back to back marked Aerosmith's graduation from a Garage band to a mainstream hard rock group. The next milestone came in the form of the Armageddon movie soundtrack featuring Aerosmith's song, "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" which stormed the music charts worldwide. By now, the music had begun to mellow down while the lyrics became more powerful, and the next few songs released by the band were more of the "unplugged" variety.

This month, Aerosmith's new album Honkin' On Bobo (Sony Music, cassette, Rs. 99) hits music stores across the country. According to a note by the band on their official website (www.aerosmith.com) , the sound of the album goes back to the 1960s' "snarling guitars" and "thunderclap drums." Hear the first two singles ("Road Runner" and "Shame, Shame, Shame") and you would know exactly what they mean. The album brings a sweet remembrance of good ole' Sixties rock music, powerful vocals, and pleasantly aggressive sounds.

Aerosmith has changed with the times, but has made sure that their fans like what they do. With "Honkin' On Bobo," the group takes listeners back to some hard old-school rock sounds, while keeping the themes modern. Now, that's an impressive combination and very few bands get it right.

The members: Stephen Tyler on vocals and the harmonica, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford on guitars, Tom Hamilton on bass and Joey Kramer on the drums.

A. VISHNU

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