Livin' on the Edge

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"Livin' on the Edge"
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Get a Grip
B-side "Don't Stop"/"Can't Stop Messin'"
Released February 23, 1993
Format Cassette, CD
Recorded 1992
Genre Hard rock
Length 6:07 (album version)
6:21 (full version)
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Mark Hudson
Producer(s) Bruce Fairbairn
Aerosmith singles chronology
"Sweet Emotion"
(re-issue 1991)
"Livin' on the Edge"
"Eat the Rich"
Alternate Cover
Strictly Limited Edition

"Livin' on the Edge" is a song by American hard rock band Aerosmith. The song was written by Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and Mark Hudson. It was released in 1993 (see 1993 in music) as the first single from the band's commercially successful album Get a Grip. The single reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart,[1] #3 on the Cash Box Top 100,[2] and #1 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart, where it remained for nine weeks,[1] making it Aerosmith's most successful single on that chart. In the UK, the song peaked at #19 on the British pop chart in April 1993.[3]

Lyrical content[edit]

The song is one of Aerosmith's most successful attempts at tackling social issues. It reflects on the sorry state of the world ("There's something wrong with the world today"), religion ("We're seeing things in a different way and God knows it ain't his"), racism ("If you can judge a wise man by the color of his skin"), among other things. However, the lyrics in the song also suggest that the world is still worth living in ("We could tell 'em no, or we could let it go, but I would rather be a-hangin' on"). The lyrics also contain a reference to the Yardbirds song, "Mister You're a Better Man Than I" (Aerosmith had previously recorded a version of a song popularized by the Yardbirds, "Train Kept A-Rollin'"). It is also considered another anti-conservative message with the lyrics "There's something right with the world today, and everybody know's it's wrong."

According to the band's autobiography Walk This Way, the song was inspired by the Los Angeles riots of 1992. Steven Tyler also mentions in the book, that the song features the sound of a bass drum he stole from his high school; four loud beats are heard from that drum in a pause between the final verse and chorus.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Livin' on the Edge" is notable for a number of things, including depicting vandalism, theft (notably grand theft auto), joyriding, airbag crashing, unprotected sex, and violence among school-aged youth, cross-dressing teachers, a naked Steven Tyler holding a zipper by his crotch with half his body painted black (to give the effect he pulled down a zipper, unzipping his body) and lead guitarist Joe Perry playing a lead guitar solo in front of an oncoming train. Directed by Marty Callner, the video was praised for its groundbreaking theatrical scenes and special effects. The video featured acting by the young Edward Furlong and Johnny Depp as the cross-dressing anatomy teacher "I.K. Malone[citation needed] ."

In concert[edit]

"Livin' on the Edge" has always remained a staple at Aerosmith concerts ever since its release.

During the Get a Grip Tour, lead singer Steven Tyler would often sing a portion of "She Cried" (a song by Jay and the Americans) before going into "Livin' on the Edge". Dramatic performances, often involving Tyler screaming "There ain't no life nowhere" and then breathing heavily over a bright light, would also often be involved during the brief interlude in the song.

"Livin' on the Edge" was famously performed at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards, the 36th Grammy Awards, and at Woodstock '94.

Additionally, the band performed the song as part of its set at the United We Stand benefit concert held in Washington D.C. shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Awards and acclaim[edit]

The song received much critical acclaim and won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for the year 1993.

The popular video for the song earned the band a Viewer's Choice award at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards.

The video was also voted "Best Video" by Metal Edge readers in the magazine's 1993 Readers' Choice Awards.[4]


End of year chart (1993) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[5] 94

Covers and other versions[edit]

The song was parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic as "Livin' in the Fridge" on his Alapalooza album

Bob Rivers has done a version for his radio show as "Growin' in the Fridge" on his website.

Metalcore band Atreyu covered the song on their Covers of the Damned EP.

In other media[edit]

"Livin' on the Edge" was used as the theme song for the first four seasons of History's reality television show Ice Road Truckers, from 2007 to 2011.

The song is also playable on the video game Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and is available as DLC for Guitar Hero 5 and Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.

The music video was featured in an earlier showing of the Beavis and Butt-Head episode "At the Sideshow", before being replaced by "Rock On" by Michael Damian and "Twilight Zone" by Golden Earring.

The song is also the theme song for Supertalk Mississippi's The JT Show.

The song is also used as the theme song of a Pakistani dare show by the same name hosted by Waqar Zaka.

Track listing[edit]

CD Single[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Livin' on the Edge" (LP Version) Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Mark Hudson 6:07
2. "Don't Stop" (Previously Unreleased) Tyler, Perry, Jim Vallance 4:05
3. "Flesh" (LP Version) Tyler, Perry, Desmond Child 5:57

US Maxi-CD[edit]

  1. Livin' On The Edge (Closer To The Edge Edit) 4:20
  2. Livin' On The Edge (Further From The Edge Edit) 5:05
  3. Livin' On The Edge (LP Version) 6:07

Strictly Limited Edition CD Single[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Livin' on the Edge" (LP Version) Tyler, Perry, Hudson 6:07
2. "Livin' on the Edge" (Acoustic Version) Tyler, Perry, Hudson 5:41
3. "Can't Stop Messin" (International Release LP Version) Tyler, Perry, Jack Blades, Tommy Shaw 3:21

CD Single Allemand[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Livin' on the Edge" (LP Version) Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Mark Hudson 6:07
2. "Don't Stop" (Previously Unreleased) Tyler, Perry, Jim Vallance 4:05
3. "Flesh" (LP Version) Tyler, Perry, Desmond Child 5:57
4. "Livin' on the Edge" (Acoustic Version) Tyler, Perry, Hudson 5:41


  1. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 19.
  2. ^
  3. ^ UK Singles Chart info Retrieved 2 May 2009.
  4. ^ Metal Edge, June 1994
  5. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1993". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 

External links[edit]