I’ve never seen nothin’ like before,
Nope I’ve never seen nothin’ like this before…
By now, we know the group’s, and mainly Steven’s obsession with “Obsession”.
We know ‘his’ perception of what makes people tick, is primarily sex, and I for one, don’t disagree, as a matter of fact I agree more than the average “Jolina“. I actually think the only people that don’t agree with my statement, are either way too busy in life to even enjoy subtle nuances of any given day, or they are wholeheartedly in denial.
But let’s go back to a time when maybe it wasn’t as easy to understand. Sure, we just went through the 60’s and the infamous “Summer of Love” in, of all years, “’69”. Yes, America was under some pretty heavy change as far as what was acceptable. But even so, most of that was on a visual level, with women wearing mini skirts, and Hot Pants, and guys even getting into fashions that may, or may not have shown off their manhood. Ladies relax!… I mean “Bare Chested” shirts. The reality though, at least in broadcasting, was that America still was not ready for anything close to what we see AND hear in today’s Arts and Entertainment. We should probably remind some of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th “Genners” that we still only had 4 or 5 channels on the TV, and very few radio stations, and there wasn’t even a hint of curse words or colorful language allowed over the air waves. Yes, the envelope was being pushed, but it was still sealed pretty frickin’ tight.
So, in 1973, how do you put lyrics to it? Well, if you’re Joe, Steven, Tom, Brad, and Joey, you use the old tricks. You sing about it in words that only a few understand, and those that don’t, well…. They’ll just either think it’s a catchy song, or they won’t… Steven wanted to sell sex. So besides the very subtle innuendos in “Somebody” off of the 1st album, this song was an introduction to who Aerosmith was, and who they will be.
The song was originally recorded by Rufus Thomas in ’63, which made it to #10 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and stayed in the Top 100 for 14 weeks. It’s said that Rufus’ recorded the song and created it to reference old children’s stories for more appeal. Funny how things get interpreted… Anyway, you can see why the boys might want to cover this one with it being a hit and all, but even so, I think it was the double entendres that got their attention. In fact, a lot of people have done this great blues tune, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Dead, even Green Day, so it’s certainly not unique to Aerosmith, but they do it in a very unique way, where as other bands and artists before them, may have known the true meaning of the phrase, they didn’t necessaraly do a very good job of conveying it. This is where Steven would stake his claim for the next 45 years. Not only did he understand the meaning of the phrase, he was going to do his damndest to help you understand. Steven found an avenue to express what all us really do know. Maybe some of us are slow to admit, but the fact is, sex is on the mind, and he was going to “play with those thoughts” in a lyrical dance that would continue for decades to come..
A lot has been said, especially in their early years of comparisons to the Stones, so it’s kind of ironic that they would put this song on their 1st album as the last song, just like the Stones did 9 years earlier. Did they do it on purpose to snub the critics? Did they do it to say; “thanks for the comparisons”? Was it just a coincidence?
In my opinion, the first album, which originally did not sell at all, was proof that they were NOT The Rolling Stones. They weren’t trying to be the Stones either, although Steven did at times get into clubs saying he was Mick. I think they did a great job telling the world that they are Aerosmith… The problem was that the comparisons were already made, and when they didn’t sound like the Stones, it was kind of a let down for those who had other expectations. I actually think the guys loved the comparisons at first, because they loved the Mick and Keith and Brian and Charlie and Bill, but when the criticisms were in a negative “compare & contrast” type of critique, well that just wasn’t cool.
The song was an absolute staple of concert set-lists for maybe, the first 15 years of their existence, and if they play it in a show now, it’s a pure treat. So, if are fortunate enough to se this one during the “Blue Army” Tour, please show the respect the song and band deserve, because this one is truly special. No, they didn’t write it, but when a band covers a song so well, that it becomes their own, when you identify the song with that band, it just doesn’t get any better. So, in the vain of “Train”, of “Come Together”, of “Don’t Stop Messin Round”, this song is Aerosmith from the root. This is who these guys were from day one. This is their blood. This Aerosmith’s character, from attitude to sexual innuendo, this song and the way they do it is early definition of what is to come for the next four decades.
So when your girlfriend back in high school said, she had to go home and “Walk the Dog”, maybe you should’ve offered to show her how…
“Well if you don’t know how to do it
I’ll show ya’ how to walk the dog…”