Night in the Ruts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Night in the Ruts
Aerosmith - Night In The Ruts.JPG
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 16, 1979
RecordedSpring - Summer 1979
StudioMedia Sound and The Record Plant, New York City
ProducerGary Lyons, Aerosmith, David Krebs, Steve Leber
Aerosmith chronology
Draw the Line
Night in the Ruts
Rock in a Hard Place
Singles from Night in the Ruts
  1. "Remember (Walking in the Sand)"
    Released: December 11, 1979

Night in the Ruts is the sixth studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released on November 16, 1979,[1] by Columbia Records. Guitarist Joe Perry left the band midway through its recording. The album was initially produced at the band's Warehouse 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. The album entered the music charts on December 1, 1979.[2]


Recording of the album 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 the lyrics and vocals. Bassist Tom Hamilton recalled: "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."[3] The band members were also in dire financial straits , with guitarist Joe Perry owing the band $80,000 for room service, which he planned to repay by recording a solo album.[4] The relationship between Aerosmith and Jack Douglas also became frosty and unstable when the producer divorced his wife, whom the band liked.[5] This, combined with weak sales of Draw the Line, led to Columbia stepping in, with Douglas reflecting in the band memoir Walk This Way, "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."[5]

With the album only half-finished, the band was sent on tour to generate revenue, as they had burned through the budget allotment. This premature outing during the summer months pushed the album's release to later in the year. "Our management booked a tour," Hamilton noted, "leaving us just enough time to make the record, based on how long it'd taken us in the past, but we actually needed much more time. So we had to go on tour before the vocals were finished, and it was dragging on and on. Everyone was super-frustrated by it. It's ironic, because we were out on the road, playing stadiums to huge amounts of people, and yet the band was getting ready to die."[6]

Substance abuse among the members was worsening, and they started fighting amongst themselves. This often led to missed and sloppy live performances, culminating in a fight involving the members and their wives. It eventually became serious enough, when on July 28, 1979, at the World Series of Rock in Cleveland, Ohio, Perry left the band halfway through the tour after a heated argument with Tyler.[7] Prior to Perry's departure, he had completed guitar parts for "No Surprize," "Chiquita," "Cheese Cake," "Three Mile Smile," and "Bone to Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy)." Guitar parts for the remaining songs were recorded by Brad Whitford, Richie Supa, Neil Thompson, and Jimmy Crespo. (The last became Perry's official replacement from 1979–84.) Perry's last session with the band was on May 30, 1979. He stated:

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...[4] 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...[3] There was all this fighting and bad energy going on... I was dissatisfied with Krebs, said, 'Fuck this,' and went back to Boston.[8]

In his 2014 autobiography Rocks, Perry elaborated on his frustrations:

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 every 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."[9]

Recording and composition[edit]

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.[10] In the band's 1997 memoir Walk This Way, Tyler shared his thoughts on several of the album's tracks:

  • "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."[11]
  • "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."[11]
  • "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."[10]
  • "Bone to Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy)" - I had to explain to the press that a Coney Island whitefish is a used rubber."[11]

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[12] 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."[13] 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."[14] Promo videos for "No Surprize" and "Chiquita" were filmed (featuring Jimmy Crespo); however, these videos received little television airplay.[citation needed] "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.[citation needed] It received heavy rotation in the band's live setlist during the second half of the 1980s, but had largely been dropped by 1990.[citation needed]

Stylistically, Night in the Ruts marked an attempt to return to the band's blues roots, including a 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 the band's prior albums. 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.[citation needed]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[15]
Christgau's Record GuideC+[16]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide1/5 stars[17]

The album was panned by contemporary critics and despite some early success, it quickly fell down the charts.[18] Rolling Stone writer David Fricke described the album's best tracks "like inspired outtakes from Rocks and Toys in the Attic", showing Aerosmith's return to their basic sound; however, he found "the deviations from this norm (...) disastrous, if not in concept then in execution", as in the cover of Shangri-Las ballad "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" "wavering inconsistently between hard rock and the Spectorian grandeur of the original".[19] The Village Voice critic Robert Christgau considered the opening song "No Surprize" the only "promising" track on the album.[16]

Critic Greg Prato of AllMusic offered 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 the [band's previous] studio release, Draw the Line."[15]

Cover versions[edit]

"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.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."No Surprize"Steven Tyler, Joe Perry4:25
2."Chiquita"Tyler, Perry4:24
3."Remember (Walking in the Sand)" (The Shangri-Las cover)Shadow Morton4:04
4."Cheese Cake"Tyler, Perry4:15
Side two
1."Three Mile Smile"Tyler, Perry3:42
2."Reefer Head Woman" (Jazz Gillum cover)Joe Bennett, Jazz Gillum, Lester Melrose4:01
3."Bone to Bone (Coney Island White Fish Boy)"Tyler, Perry2:59
4."Think About It" (The Yardbirds cover)Keith Relf, Jimmy Page, Jim McCarty3:34




Country Organization Year Sales
US RIAA 1994 Platinum (+ 1,000,000)[25]
Canada CRIA 1997 Gold (+ 50,000)[26]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Tracks Label Catalog # Barcode Edition Series Notes
USA Nov 16, 1979 LP 9 Columbia/CBS FC 36050 074643605014
USA Nov 16, 1979 8-Track 9 Columbia/CBS FCA 36050 Grey Shell
USA Nov 16, 1979 Cassette 9 Columbia/CBS FCT 36050
USA Jul 1983 LP 9 Columbia/CBS PC 36050 074643605014 The Nice Price [27]
USA Jul 1983 Cassette 9 Columbia/CBS PCT 36050 074643605045 The Nice Price early cassettes have no barcode, later issues have a full length cover and a barcode[27]
USA Jan 24, 1989 CD 9 Columbia/CBS CK 36050 074643605021 [28]
USA Oct 25, 1990 CD 9 Columbia/CBS CK 36050 074643605021 The Nice Price possibly released in a "The Nice Price" Longbox; Series unverified[29]
USA Sep 7, 1993 CD 9 Columbia/SMEI CK 57366 074645736624 Special Limited Collector's Edition The Nice Price 1993 Remaster; sched. for Aug 24, 1993 - delayed 2 weeks[30]
USA Sep 7, 1993 Cassette 9 Columbia/SMEI CT 57366 074645736648 The Nice Price 1993 Remaster; sched. for Aug 24, 1993 - delayed 2 weeks[31]
USA Feb 1, 2008 CD 9 Columbia/SMEI CK 57366 886972412429 1993 Remaster[32]
USA Feb 1, 2008 MP3 256k 9 Columbia/SBME CK 57366 886972412429 1993 Remaster; album only[32][33][34]
USA Jul 1, 2009 MP3 192k 9 Columbia/SME CK 57366 886972412429 1993 Remaster; album only[35][36]
USA Oct 6, 2009 MP3 320k 9 Columbia/SME CK 57366 886972412429 1993 Remaster; album only; approx. date; issued between Oct 6 - Nov 28, 2009[37][38][39]
USA Aug 26, 2011 MP3 256k 9 Columbia/SME CK 57366 886972412429 1993 Remaster; indiv. tracks[40]
USA Aug 26, 2011 MP3 320k 9 Columbia/SME CK 57366 886972412429 1993 Remaster; indiv. tracks[41]
USA Sep 6, 2011 AAC 256k 9 Columbia/SME CK 57366 886972412429 1993 Remaster; indiv. tracks[42][43]
USA Nov 6, 2012 AAC 256k 9 Columbia/SME 88644 36922 3 886443692237 Mastered for iTunes 2012 Remaster; indiv. tracks[44][45]
USA Apr 19, 2014 LP 9 Columbia/SME 88883760961 888837609616 Record Store Day 2014 2012 Remaster; 180 Gram[46]
USA Apr 21, 2014 FLAC 96/24 9 Columbia/SME 88644 36922 3 886443692237 2012 Remaster; album only[47][48][49]
USA May 6, 2014 AIFF 96/24 9 Columbia/SME 88644 36922 3 886443692237 2012 Remaster; album only[50][51]
USA May 6, 2014 ALAC 96/24 9 Columbia/SME 88644 36922 3 886443692237 2012 Remaster; album only[50][51]
USA May 6, 2014 WAV 96/24 9 Columbia/SME 88644 36922 3 886443692237 2012 Remaster; album only[50][51]
USA Jun 3, 2014 LP 9 Columbia/SME 88883760961 888837609616 2012 Remaster; 180 Gram; general release[52]
USA Aug 7, 2019 AAC 256k 9 Columbia/SME 88644 36922 3 886443692237 Apple Digital Master 2012 Remaster; indiv. tracks[53][54]
USA Sep 27, 2019 FLAC 96/24 9 Columbia/SME 88644 36922 3 886443692237 2012 Remaster; album only[55]


  1. ^ "Search: Night in the ruts / [performed by] Aerosmith". United States Copyright Office.
  2. ^ Billboard: December 1, 1979, page 57; Cash Box: December 1, 1979, page 52; Record World: December 1, 1979, page 32
  3. ^ a b Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 344.
  4. ^ a b Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 343.
  5. ^ a b Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 342.
  6. ^ Brannigan, Paul (September 2013). "Aerosmith". Classic Rock. No. 188. p. 56.
  7. ^ Davis & Aerosmith 1997, pp. 346-348.
  8. ^ Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 345.
  9. ^ Perry & Ritz 2014, p. 131.
  10. ^ a b Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 351.
  11. ^ a b c Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 352.
  12. ^ "Steven Tyler on AeroForceOne". Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  13. ^ Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 350.
  14. ^ Di Perna, Alan (April 1997). "Aerosmith". Guitar World. Vol. 17 no. 4.
  15. ^ a b Prato, Greg. Night in the Ruts at AllMusic. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  16. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Aerosmith – Cosumer Guide Reviews: 'Night in the Ruts'". Robert Christgau. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  17. ^ Kot, Greg. "Aerosmith - Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Jann S. Wenner. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  18. ^ Davis & Aerosmith 1997, p. 355.
  19. ^ Fricke, David (February 7, 1980). "Night in the Ruts". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  20. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 32, No. 24, March 08, 1980". Library and Archives Canada. March 8, 1980. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  21. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  22. ^ "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". Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  23. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 32, No. 23, March 01, 1980". Library and Archives Canada. March 1, 1980. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  24. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  25. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum Database: search for Aerosmith". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  26. ^ "Music Canada Gold & Platinum: search for Aerosmith". Music Canada. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  27. ^ a b Billboard: July 23, 1983, page 23
  28. ^ "Night In The Ruts". Amazon.
  29. ^ "Night In The Ruts". Zia Records.
  30. ^ "Night In The Ruts Lmtd Ed./Remastered". Zia Records.
  31. ^ "Night In The Ruts Lmtd Ed./Remastered". Zia Records.
  32. ^ a b "Night In The Ruts". Armadillo Music.
  33. ^ "Night In The Ruts". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ "Night in the Ruts [LIMITED EDITION] [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  35. ^ Masnick, Mike (July 2, 2009). "Even More eMusic Features Disabled?". techdirt.
  36. ^ "Night In The Ruts". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ "7digital Launches In North America, With LA Head". October 6, 2009.
  38. ^ "Aerosmith". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  39. ^ "Night In The Ruts". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  40. ^ "Night In The Ruts". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  41. ^ "Night In The Ruts". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  42. ^ "Aerosmith's Classic Columbia Records Catalog (1973-1987) to Debut on the iTunes Store Tuesday, September 6". Sony.
  43. ^ "Aerosmith". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  44. ^ "iTunes Preview: Aerosmith". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  45. ^ "Night In The Ruts". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  46. ^ "Night In The Ruts". Record Store Day.
  47. ^ "New DSD downloads from Acoustic Sounds -". Steve Hoffman Music Forums.
  48. ^ "Night In The Ruts (2012 Remaster)". Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.
  49. ^ "Night In The Ruts". 7DIGITAL UNITED STATES.
  50. ^ a b c "HDTracks News (part 5)". Steve Hoffman Music Forum.
  51. ^ a b c Search: 886443692237
  52. ^ "Night In The Ruts LP (12" album, 33 rpm)". Amazon.
  53. ^ "Night In the Ruts". Apple Music.
  54. ^ "Apple rebrands its best-sounding music as 'Apple Digital Masters'". The Verge.
  55. ^ "Night In The Ruts". Acoustic Sounds.


External links[edit]