Draw the Line (Aerosmith album)

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Draw the Line
Cover art by Al Hirschfeld
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 9, 1977
RecordedJune–October 1977
StudioThe Cenacle, Armonk, New York with the Record Plant Mobile,
The Record Plant, New York City
ProducerJack Douglas, Aerosmith, David Krebs, Steve Leber
Aerosmith chronology
Draw the Line
Night in the Ruts
Singles from Draw the Line
  1. "Draw the Line"
    Released: October 6, 1977
  2. "Kings and Queens"
    Released: February 21, 1978
  3. "Get It Up"
    Released: 1978

Draw the Line is the fifth studio album by American hard rock band Aerosmith, released December 9, 1977. It was recorded in an abandoned convent near New York City.[1] The portrait of the band on the album cover was drawn by the celebrity caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. Although the official website for Aerosmith lists the release date for Draw the Line as December 1, 1977, the album was released on December 9, 1977[2] and entered the music charts on December 24, 1977.[3]


By 1977, Aerosmith had released four studio albums, the two most recent - Toys in the Attic (1975) and Rocks (1976) - catapulting the band to stardom. However, as the band began recording its next album, Draw the Line, their excessive lifestyle, combined with constant touring and drug use, began to take its toll. "Draw the Line was untogether because we weren't a cohesive unit anymore," guitarist Joe Perry admitted in the Stephen Davis band memoir Walk This Way. "We were drug addicts dabbling in music, rather than musicians dabbling in drugs.[4] Although the LP would sell well more than a million copies in fewer than six weeks after its release, in 2014 Perry would refer to it as "the beginning of the end" and "the decay of our artistry..."[5]

Recording and composition[edit]

According to Steven Tyler's autobiography Does the Noise In My Head Bother You, manager David Krebs suggested that the band record its next album at an estate near Armonk, New York called the Cenacle, "away from the temptation of drugs." The plan failed miserably, however, with Tyler recalling, "Drugs can be imported, David...we have our resources. Dealers deliver! Hiding us away in a three-hundred room former convent was a prescription for total lunacy."[6] Largely due to their drug consumption, both Tyler and Perry were not as involved in the writing and recording as they had been on previous albums. According to Perry:

A lot of people had input into that record because Steven and I had stopped giving a fuck. "Draw the Line," "I Want To Know Why," and "Get It Up" were the only things Steven and I wrote together. Tom, Joey and Steven came up with "Kings and Queens," and Brad played rhythm and lead. Brad and Steven wrote "The Hand That Feeds," which I didn't even play on because I'd stayed in bed the day they recorded it and Brad played great on it anyway.

— [4]

Producer Jack Douglas, who had started producing the band with Get Your Wings in 1974, expressed similar feelings about the apathy that permeated the recording sessions:

So I started Draw the Line, and for a while gave it my all. But because they were half-hearted about the record, I was too. Steven wasn't writing at all. The lyrics to "Critical Mass" came from a dream I had at the Cenacle. I never expected Steven to record it, but he didn't have anything else, so he used my lyrics as written. Same with "Kings and Queens." Steven and I wrote the lyrics together, which was like pulling teeth.

— [7]

For his part, Tyler has maintained that it was the band's lethargy, not his, that slowed his progress, because "I wasn't Patti Smith writing poetry. I write exactly to the music, and when the music ain't coming, neither were the lyrics."[7] However, Tyler confessed to Alan di Perna of Guitar World in April 1997, "What I specifically remember was not being present in the studio because I was so stoned. In the past, I always had to be there and hear every note that was going down - who was playing what and were they out of tune...I just didn't care anymore." Tyler's condition is evident in some of his lyrics, such as the line "pass me the vial and cross your fingers that it don't take time." In the VH1 Behind the Music episode on the group Douglas states, "People were shooting, bullets were flying. It was insane. People, drugs and guns. You know, they don't go together," with drummer Joey Kramer adding, "I don't know if we did any of those sessions, or made any of that record, straight." In his autobiography Rocks, Perry admits that he had misplaced a cookie tin full of demos for the band that he had prepared in his basement studio, irritating Douglas, but they were eventually found by Perry's wife Elyssa:[8]

Among those tapes was not only the fully realized "Bright Light Fright," but tracks that led to other songs like "I Want To Know Why," "Get It Up" and "Draw the Line," the title tune. Something I'd started with David Johansen became "Sight for Sore Eyes." But the lyrics literally took months for Steven to write, and by then we were back at the Record Plant in New York.

— [9]

Relations deteriorated further when Perry presented "Bright Light Fright" to the band and they "didn't like it. I said, 'Do you want to do it or not?' They said no."[7] Perry, who has stated the song was inspired by the Sex Pistols,[4] sang the song himself on the LP. (He had shared lead vocal duties with Tyler on "Combination" from their previous album Rocks.) Of "Draw the Line," Tyler later recalled, "Joe had this lick on a six-string bass that was so definitive, the song just about wrote itself. It reached down my neck and grabbed the lyrics out of my throat."[10] The song encompasses many of the typical things Aerosmith is known for, including the strong rhythm backbeat and the back-and-forth interplay between guitarists Perry and Brad Whitford. The song slows down before building to a climax showcasing Tyler's trademark scream. The B-side of some versions of "Draw the Line," "Chip Away the Stone", was not on the LP but eventually surfaced on the compilation album Gems. It was written by Richard Supa, received a fair amount of radio airplay after the release of Gems and found its way into Aerosmith's live set-lists for a while.

Kramer explained in 1997 that "Kings and Queens," the LP's second single, was a "typical session at the Cenacle. It was recorded in the chapel with the pews out, the drums on the altar. Jack was in the confessional, hitting the snare drum by himself."[7] In his memoir, Tyler writes that the song's lyrics were inspired by a "medieval fantasy" that featured "a stoned-out rock star in his tattered satin rags lying on the ancient stone floor of a castle - slightly mad, but still capable of conjuring up a revolutionary album that would astound the ears of the ones who heard it and make the critics cringe."[6] Jack Douglas plays the mandolin on the track, which was also used as a B-side to Aerosmith's version of the Beatles' "Come Together," released to promote the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band film and soundtrack. "Get It Up" features Karen Lawrence, singer of the band L.A. Jets, on the chorus. David Krebs later stated that he felt Tyler's lyrics on songs like "Get It Up" did not help the album's standing among Aerosmith fans: "The essence of Aerosmith had always been a positive and very macho sexuality, total unashamed, a little sleazy... They didn't want to hear lyrics like 'Get It Up,' which repeated over and over again, Can't get it up'...The negative lyrics were a big problem."[11] "Get It Up" was released as the album's third single but failed to break into the singles chart. The song is noted for its usage of slide guitar and was played occasionally by the band during the Aerosmith Express Tour from 1977–1978 in support of the Draw the Line album.[citation needed] The band did not have enough original material to cover the running time for a single album so they recorded two blues classics: Otis Rush's "All Your Love" and Kokomo Arnold's "Milk Cow Blues."[4] ("All Your Love" did not make Draw the Line,[4] but would later turn up on the band's box set Pandora's Box.)


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideB-[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[13]

Contemporary reviews were quite negative. Billy Altman of Rolling Stone called the LP "a truly horrendous record, chaotic to the point of malfunction and with an almost impenetrably dense sound adding to the confusion."[14] Robert Christgau considered the album the product of a band "out of gas".[12]

Retrospective reviews are more positive. Kerrang! magazine listed the album at No. 37 among the "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time" for its "high energy", although it never touches heavy metal as a genre, concluding with the comment "sleaze was never so classy."[15] According to Greg Prato of AllMusic, "the band shies away from studio experimenting and dabbling in different styles," returning "to simple, straight-ahead hard rock" and releasing "the last true studio album from Aerosmith's original lineup for nearly a decade."[1] Another AllMusic reviewer stated that, "although some fans see Draw the Line as the beginning of a decline for Aerosmith, it still offers up some strong hard-rock tunes. One of its best moments is the title track, one of the group's most relentless rockers."[16] In a review for Ultimate Classic Rock, Sterling Whitaker cited "Get It Up" as an example of a track that "should-have-been-great-but-not-quite," saying that it "featured important elements of the classic Aerosmith sound, but somehow didn't catch fire."[17]

Draw the Line went platinum its first month of release, peaking at No. 11 on the US Billboard 200 chart,[18] eventually being certified 2x multi-platinum nearly a decade later.[19] Even so, it marks the band's first slowdown in album sales of their 70s era, after their initial rise with the albums Toys in the Attic and Rocks.[19]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Draw the Line"Steven Tyler, Joe Perry3:23
2."I Wanna Know Why"Tyler, Perry3:09
3."Critical Mass"Tyler, Tom Hamilton, Jack Douglas4:53
4."Get It Up"Tyler, Perry4:02
5."Bright Light Fright"Perry2:19
Side two
1."Kings and Queens"Tyler, Brad Whitford, Hamilton, Joey Kramer, Douglas4:55
2."The Hand That Feeds"Tyler, Whitford, Hamilton, Kramer, Douglas4:23
3."Sight for Sore Eyes"Tyler, Perry, Douglas, David Johansen3:56
4."Milk Cow Blues"Kokomo Arnold4:14


Guest musicians



Country Organization Year Sales
US RIAA 1996 2x Platinum (+ 2,000,000)[19]
Canada CRIA 1977 Platinum (+ 100,000)[25]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalog # Barcode Notes
USA Dec 9, 1977 Columbia/CBS LP JC 34856
USA Dec 9, 1977 Columbia/CBS 8-Track JCA 34856
USA Dec 9, 1977 Columbia/CBS Cassette JCT 34856
USA Oct 1980 Columbia/CBS LP PC 34856 "The Nice Price"[26]
USA Oct 1980 Columbia/CBS 8-Track PCA 34856 "The Nice Price"[26]
USA Oct 1980 Columbia/CBS Cassette PCT 34856 "The Nice Price"[26]
USA Sep 1981 Columbia/CBS LP PC 34856 074643485616 "The Nice Price"; date is approximate[27]
USA Jun 1987 Columbia/CBS CD CK 34856 074643485623 "Collectors Choice"[28]
USA Jun 1987 Columbia/CBS Cassette PCT 34856 074643485647 "The Nice Price"; date is approximate[29]
USA Oct 20, 1990 Columbia/CBS CD CK 34856 074643485623 "Collectors Choice"; reissue[30]
USA Jan 1991 Columbia/CBS/SMEI CD CK 34856 074643485623 "Collectors Choice"; date is approximate; reissue[31]
USA Sep 7, 1993 Columbia/SMEI CD CK 57364 074645736426 1993 Remaster; scheduled for Aug 24, 1993 but delayed 2 weeks[32]
USA Sep 7, 1993 Columbia/SMEI Cassette CT 57364 074645736440 1993 Remaster; scheduled for Aug 24, 1993 but delayed 2 weeks[33]
USA Feb 1, 2008 Columbia/SMEI CD CK 57364 886972368122 1993 Remaster[34]
USA Feb 1, 2008 Columbia/SBME MP3 256k CK 57364 886972368122 1993 Remaster; album only[34][35][36]
USA Oct 6, 2009 Columbia/SME MP3 320k CK 57364 886972368122 1993 Remaster; album only; date is approximate; issued between Oct 6, 2009 - Nov 28, 2009[37][38][39]
USA Aug 26, 2011 Columbia/SME MP3 256k CK 57364 886972368122 1993 Remaster; individual tracks; reissue[40]
USA Aug 26, 2011 Columbia/SME MP3 320k CK 57364 886972368122 1993 Remaster; individual tracks; reissue[41]
USA Sep 6, 2011 Columbia/SME AAC 256k CK 57364 886972368122 1993 Remaster; individual tracks[42][43]
USA Nov 6, 2012 Columbia/SME AAC 256k 88644 37049 9 886443704992 2012 Remaster; individual tracks[44][45]
USA Apr 18, 2014 Columbia/SME FLAC 96/24 88644 37049 9 886443704992 2012 Remaster; album only; listed as Nov 6, 2012[46][47][48]
USA Apr 19, 2014 Columbia/SME LP JC 34856 888837609517 2012 Remaster; 180 Gram; "Record Store Day 2014"[49]
USA Apr 29, 2014 Columbia/SME AIFF 96/24 88644 37049 9 886443704992 2012 Remaster; album only[50][51]
USA Apr 29, 2014 Columbia/SME ALAC 96/24 88644 37049 9 886443704992 2012 Remaster; album only[50][51]
USA Apr 29, 2014 Columbia/SME WAV 96/24 88644 37049 9 886443704992 2012 Remaster; album only[50][51]
USA Jun 3, 2014 Columbia/SME LP JC 34856 888837609517 2012 Remaster; 180 Gram; general release[52]
USA Aug 7, 2019 Columbia/SME AAC 256k 88644 37049 9 886443704992 2012 Remaster; individual tracks; "Apple Digital Master"; reissue[53][54]
USA Sep 27, 2019 Columbia/SME FLAC 96/24 88644 37049 9 886443704992 2012 Remaster; album only; reissue[55]


  1. ^ a b c Prato, Greg. "Aerosmith - Draw the Line review". AllMusic. Retrieved July 9, 2008.
  2. ^ "Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third Series, Volume 31, Part 14, Number 2: Sound Recordings July - December 1977, page 538". Internet Archive.
  3. ^ Billboard: December 24, 1977, page 152; Cash Box: December 24, 1977, page 55; Record World: December 24, 1977, page 44
  4. ^ a b c d e Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 291.
  5. ^ Perry & Ritz 2014, p. 170-179.
  6. ^ a b Tyler & Dalton 2011, p. 132.
  7. ^ a b c d Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 292.
  8. ^ Perry & Ritz 2014, p. 171-173.
  9. ^ Perry & Ritz 2014, p. 174.
  10. ^ Tyler & Dalton 2011, p. 133.
  11. ^ Davis & Aerosmith 1997, pp. 307-308.
  12. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Aerosmith- Consumer Guide Reviews: Draw the Line". Robert Christgau. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  13. ^ Kot, Greg. "Aerosmith - Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Jann S. Wenner. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  14. ^ Altman, Billy (March 19, 1978). "Draw the Line". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  15. ^ Zell, Ray (January 21, 1989). "Aerosmith 'Draw the Line'". Kerrang!. No. 222. London, UK: Spotlight Publications Ltd. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  16. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "Aerosmith - Draw the Line song review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  17. ^ Whitaker, Sterling (December 2, 2013). "36 Years Ago – Aerosmith Release 'Draw the Line'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
  18. ^ a b "Aerosmith Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  19. ^ a b c "RIAA Gold & Platinum Database: search for Aerosmith". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  20. ^ "エアロスミスのCDアルバムランキング、エアロスミスのプロフィールならオリコン芸能人事典-ORICON STYLE". Oricon.co.jp. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  21. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 28, No. 21, February 18, 1978". Library and Archives Canada. February 18, 1978. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  22. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 28, No. 9, November 26, 1977". Library and Archives Canada. November 26, 1977. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  23. ^ a b "Aerosmith Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  24. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 29, No. 4, April 22, 1978". Library and Archives Canada. April 22, 1978. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  25. ^ "Music Canada Gold & Platinum: search for Aerosmith". Music Canada. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  26. ^ a b c Cash Box: November 1, 1980, page 24
  27. ^ Billboard: September 19, 1981, page 86
  28. ^ Based on the Schwann CD Catalog
  29. ^ Based on Columbia's 2nd UPC design, introduced in June 1987.
  30. ^ "Draw The Line". Zia Records.
  31. ^ Based on January 22, 1991 Classics Live I and II reissue
  32. ^ "Draw the Line Remastered". Amazon.
  33. ^ "Draw The Line Lmtd Ed./Remastered". Zia Records.
  34. ^ a b "Draw The Line". Armadillo Music.
  35. ^ "Draw The Line". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  36. ^ "Draw the Line [LIMITED EDITION] [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ "7digital Launches In North America, With LA Head". socalTECH.com. October 6, 2009.
  38. ^ "Draw The Line". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  39. ^ "Aerosmith". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  40. ^ "Draw The Line". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  41. ^ "Draw The Line". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  42. ^ "Aerosmith's Classic Columbia Records Catalog (1973-1987) to Debut on the iTunes Store Tuesday, September 6". Sony.
  43. ^ "Draw the Line". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  44. ^ "iTunes Preview: Aerosmith". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  45. ^ "Draw The Line". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  46. ^ "New DSD downloads from Acoustic Sounds - Superhirez.com". Steve Hoffman Music Forums.
  47. ^ "Draw the Line (2012 Remaster)". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  48. ^ "Draw The Line". 7DIGITAL UNITED STATES.
  49. ^ "Draw the Line". Record Store Day.
  50. ^ a b c "Draw The Line". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  51. ^ a b c Search: 886443704992
  52. ^ "Draw The Line Limited Edition LP (12" album, 33 rpm)". Amazon.
  53. ^ "Draw the Line". Apple Music.
  54. ^ "Apple rebrands its best-sounding music as 'Apple Digital Masters'". The Verge.
  55. ^ "Draw The Line". Acoustic Sounds.


External links[edit]