Forgive me my obsession,
For just a piece of heaven
Throughout their almost 50 year career, these guys have made a living of leaving their mark. Sometimes that mark has been on walls of hotel rooms, or stairways of recording studios, or the backside of some chick’s ass. But that mark has always had an edge to it. Not necessarily a rough edge, although it does have that too. Not necessarily hard edge, although it has that too. The mark they leave is not just a remembrance of a song or a concert or an album… it has an edge, a personality, a contagious disease that you want to spread. Some just don’t understand, but for those of us that do, we wear it.
If you’re an Aerosmith fan, it’s in part because of the inner attitude you’re born with. It’s in part because of the road you’ve travelled. That doesn’t mean that it was always a hard road, or even an easy road, but it’s usually a direction that had a lot of roadside attractions along the way. The music these guys create, and cover (the way, only they can) is part of a vital fluid that secretes like sweat from our skin. It’s a part of you; it’s a part of me.
Aerosmith puts this mark on all that they do. Sure there’s some that’s better than others. If that wasn’t true, I could never put a list like this together. There’s one quote from Joe though, that I carry with me in mind, at all times. And it’s not the only one, but for this song, along with others it works. It’s the aura that Joe was putting out, that was hovering over him as he walked from limo along the pier in S.F. for his Book Signing. It’s a complex but comfortable persona. He says; “Aerosmith s the world’s most successful ‘Garage Band’”… That means so much to me as a fan in so many ways. First; yes they’re as famous as a band can possibly get! You just can’t be more famous!… But more than that, they still know who they are, they are still the same 5 guys doing covers of their favorite songs, and mixing in some of their own stuff to see if the audience likes it. They get off, on their fans getting off! They still feel it. There is no “act”, only pure love of what they do, and the desire to entertain…. Sure the stages are different now, but when you meet Joe and look him in the eye, he’s humble and appreciative, that ‘YOU’ came to se ‘HIM’…
With that mindset, anytime they took the stage, it was to do a show that fans would remember, for not only the artistic and musical masterpiece that they would experience, but also to come away with something different. That mark! There are few others over the course of history that were able to leave that kind of mark. To not just play kick ass rock n roll or blues, because 100s of bands did that, but to leave a mark on you… Elvis, The Stones, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, and a few others along the way… but let’s face it most were up there just playing a brand of music, not unlike 100s of others….
Enter Aerosmith, they don’t just cover a song, they play the song as if it were written for them to pour over their fans like oil on fire… We’ve heard and seen a few of these such as Train, Come Together, Walkin’ The Dog, Rattlesnake Shake, but in 2004 they did an album that a lot of tend to forget a little bit, although NOBODY will forget the tour! But the album was 90% covers. Something they’ve wanted to do, for how long??? Steven said, in essence; “We’re not just gonna’ play the blues, we’re gonna’ Fuckin’ Aerosmith it up!” (paraphrase)… And isn’t that what we all want from these guys? If they cover a song, you can pretty well bet, it’s gonna’ be better than the original, and they’re gonna’ fuckin’ own it! This particular song was written by Ronnie Shannon for a woman to sing about a man, way back when… the song helped a previously unkown girl become perhaps the most legendary Female R&B singer of our time. In 1967 the song rose to #9 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and #1 on Billboard’s R7B charts, so doing this song was not just pulling from the low hanging fruit, they had to blow this out of the park. I think they did just that! Keeping with that original Muscle Shoals feel and personality to it, but also putting that Aerosmith edge, personality… that Aerosmith mark on it, this one has all that and more.
It gives Joe and Brad both the time to just blend together those slow R&B rhythms, with a few horns mixed in. Joey knows this stuff well, this is what he cut his teeth on, it fits him like a glove, and Steven…. Fuck! He was born for this shit! Steven bleeds this stuff, it oozes from his soul, and he gets it all over you.
The song may have been written for a Prima Donna before she was a ‘Donna”, But one thing about Prima Donna’s, sometimes they get in the way of the song. Aerosmith performed the song in a way that let the song come alive. As big and bold, as much character as these guys have, they gave the song character, they gave it life that it never had before. When they performed the song ion the Bobo Tour, it came alive. Joe and Brad’s guitars are just two guys on a porch talking to each other about a chick, the same chick that stole their hearts; Steven was singing about a woman that he knew personally, or at least that’s what he sells us, and we’re fucking standing in line buyin’ it! The song IS an Aerosmith song…
Don’t play this song halfway… Let it bleed… Feel its breath… hear its desperate cry…
This is “Never Loved a Girl”