Night in the Ruts
|Night in the Ruts|
|Studio album by Aerosmith|
|Released||November 1, 1979|
|Recorded||Spring - Summer 1979|
|Producer||Aerosmith, Gary Lyons|
|Singles from Night in the Ruts|
|Rolling Stone||(unfavorable) |
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Night in the Ruts is the sixth studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released on November 1, 1979, by Columbia Records. Guitarist Joe Perry left the band midway through its recording. The album was initially produced at the band's Wherehouse rehearsal space by Jack Douglas, who had produced Aerosmith's previous four albums, but later Columbia Records brought in Gary Lyons to replace Douglas as the producer.
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Recording of Night in the Ruts began in the spring of 1979, but right from the beginning there were delays. Hampered by rampant drug use, vocalist Steven Tyler had difficulty completing lyrics and vocals, with bassist Tom Hamilton recalling later, "We worked on the album, but we couldn't finish it. It was supposed to come out in June and be called Off Your Rocker, but there were no lyrics. It was a big crisis."[full citation needed] The band members were also in dire financial straits, with Perry owing $80,000 to the band for room service, which he planned to repay by recording a solo album.[full citation needed] The relationship between Aerosmith and Jack Douglas also became frosty when the producer divorced his wife, a woman the band liked personally, and this, combined with the weak sales of Draw the Line, led to Columbia stepping in, with Douglas reflecting in the band memoir Walk This Way, "I think the label finally put a lot of pressure on them. It was: "Look at these sales numbers. Come up with another hit or there's gonna be trouble.' David [Krebs, Aerosmith's manager] thought I no longer exercised control over the band, which was true. No one did."[full citation needed] When it was only halfway finished, the record label and management ordered the band to go out on tour in order to generate some revenue, as they had quickly burned through the budget allotted to them. This premature tour during the summer months pushed the album's release to late in the year. Even worse, substance abuse among the band members was getting worse and they started fighting among themselves. This led to a number of missed and sloppy live performances, finally culminating in a violent fight involving the band members and their wives. Perry quit the band halfway through the tour. Prior to his departure, Perry had completed guitar parts for "No Surprize," "Chiquita," "Cheese Cake," "Three Mile Smile," and "Bone to Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy)." The guitar parts for the remaining songs were recorded by Brad Whitford, Richie Supa, Neil Thompson, and Jimmy Crespo (who later became Perry's official replacement from 1979–84). Perry's last session with the band was on May 30, 1979. He later remembered:
We started Night in the Ruts with Jack in the spring of 1979. I'm not sure why he wasn't involved later, but he wasn't...The Aerosmith album was in limbo from April on and at a certain point I had to wash my hands of it. I said, "It's your album. Do what you want with it. You've got my work. You can use it or erase it. I'm working on something else"...There was all this fighting and bad energy going on...I was dissatisfied with Krebs, said, 'Fuck this,' and went back to Boston.[full citation needed]
In his 2014 autobiography Rocks, Perry elaborated on his frustrations at the time:
I thought we cut some of the best tracks we'd ever done. The guitar interplay between me and Brad broke new ground. Everyone was at the top of their game. When it came time for lyrics, though, Steven began to drift away. Slowly, progress ground to a halt. I started to get annoyed, then aggravated, and then out-and-out pissed...We'd made untold millions. Where did all of it go?...We went to work ever day, spending a fortune on hotel bills and studio time with nothing to show for it...The whole operation had become a nightmare. I was tired of the bullshit. I just wanted to get in a van and go play rock and roll. I was willing to play clubs - any clubs...I was told that when Steven finally did show up to do his vocals he was smoking crack."
Recording and composition
Aerosmith spent the summer at Media Sound in New York trying to finish off the album with producer Gary Lyons. The band caught a second wind when Tyler came up with lyrics for a song he had been composing with Perry that "told the story of the band," which became "No Surprize," a song that Tyler has cited as his favorite.[full citation needed] In the band's 1997 memoir Walk This Way, Tyler shared his thoughts on several of the album's tracks:[full citation needed]
- "Reefer Headed Woman" - "'Reefer Head Woman' was a 1940s blues record. I had the lyrics in a notebook that got stolen, and I had to call Dr. Demento from the Record Plant, where we finished the album, and the Doctor read the lyrics to me over the phone."
- "Mia" - "It was a lullaby I wrote on the piano for my daughter, but the tolling bell notes at the end of the song and the end of the album sounded more like the death knell of Aerosmith for people who knew what was going on."
- "No Surprize" - "For two months, I'd been totally blocked, writing lyrics for this track we had done with Joe. 'My name is nah nah nah, I come from Yonkers High, and I get drunk at night.' One night I had such a revelation to write the story of the band, how Aerosmith got started...I was so excited to be back on track."
- "Bone to Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy)" - I had to explain to the press that a Coney Island whitefish is a used rubber."
Also included on the album was a cover of "Think About It," a Yardbirds B-side from 1968 that Aerosmith had occasionally played live through the 70s. Tyler has expressed great satisfaction with Night in the Ruts, calling it his favorite album and cryptically enthusing to Stephen Davis in 1997, "Heroin. Shooting coke. Eating opium and it was just...I love that album - Night in the Ruts. It's like a fuckin' solar eclipse."[full citation needed] Perry also insisted to Guitar World in 1997, "We were still fucked up, but the record sounds more cohesive than Draw the Line. Night in the Ruts was a rockin' record." Promo videos for "No Surprize" and "Chiquita" were filmed (featuring Jimmy Crespo); however, these videos received little television airplay. "Chiquita" is available on the band's Video Scrapbook VHS and laserdisc release. "Bone to Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy)" is the most performed song from Night In The Ruts, with 144 performances. It received heavy rotation in the band's live setlist during the second half of the 1980s, but had largely been dropped by 1990. "No Surprize" was Steven Tyler's favorite song.
The title is an intentional spoonerism of the phrase "right in the nuts", which was subsequently the title of the tour, and was shown on the back artwork for the album.
Despite some critical acclaim and early success, the album quickly fell down the charts. Stylistically, Night in the Ruts marked an attempt to return to its blues roots, including a soul filled blues cover, a tender lullaby, a dramatic ballad, and a large helping of choruses layered across six rockers with the lead vocals mixed more highly above the tracks than any of their prior albums. Their cover of the Shangri-Las ballad "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" was criticized for "wavering inconsistently between hard rock and the Spectorian grandeur of the original" by Rolling Stone writer David Fricke. Critic Robert Christgau gave the album a terse review (capped by a "C+" grade): "This opens with a promising song about their career called "No Surprize." Then they edge ever closer to the flash guitar, dull tempos, and stupid cover versions of heavy-metal orthodoxy. No surprise."
Although he rates the album with a similarly middling summary grade, critic Greg Prato of AllMusic offers a more charitable commentary in a historical context. calling it "a surprisingly coherent and inspired album. Although it's not up to par with such classics as Toys in the Attic or Rocks (although it could have been if the band weren't in such a state of turmoil at the time), it was definitely leaner and more focused than their last studio release, Draw the Line." The album is considered to mark a transition between the raw sound of Aerosmith's early years to the more polished, radio-friendly feel they would adopt in the following decade.
"No Surprize" was covered by Jani Lane, Chris Holmes, Joe Perry's son Adrian and Steve Riley for the Aerosmith tribute album Not the Same Old Song and Dance (Eagle Records, 1999). Additional guitars were by the album's producers Bob Kulick and Bruce Bouillet. Backing vocals were by David Glen Eisley.
|1.||"No Surprize"||Steven Tyler, Joe Perry||4:25|
|3.||"Remember (Walking in the Sand)"||Shadow Morton||4:03|
|4.||"Cheese Cake"||Tyler, Perry||4:15|
|1.||"Three Mile Smile"||Tyler, Perry||3:40|
|2.||"Reefer Head Woman"||Joe Bennett, Jazz Gillum, Lester Melrose||4:03|
|3.||"Bone to Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy)"||Tyler, Perry||2:58|
|4.||"Think About It"||Keith Relf, Jimmy Page, Jim McCarty||3:31|
|Canadian RPM Albums Chart||10|
|Japanese Albums Chart||39|
|US Billboard 200||14|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||50,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- Prato, Greg. Night in the Ruts at AllMusic. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
- Christgau, Robert. "Aerosmith: 'Night in the Ruts'". Robertchristgau.com. Robert Christgau. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
- Fricke, David (1980-02-07). "Night in the Ruts". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- "Aerosmith: Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
- Davis 1997.
- Perry, Joe & Ritz, David 2014, p. 131.
- "Steven Tyler on AeroForceOne". Retrieved 2013-05-30.
- Fricke, David (1980-02-07). "Night in the Ruts." Rolling Stone. Retrieved Feb. 26, 2017 https://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/night-in-the-ruts-19800207
- "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 2013-05-02.
- "Canadian album certifications – Aerosmith – Night In the Ruts". Music Canada.
- "American album certifications – Aerosmith – Night In the Ruts". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH