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Rag Doll (Aerosmith song)

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"Rag Doll"
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Permanent Vacation
B-side"St. John", "Rag Doll (Rockapella Mix)"
ReleasedMay 3, 1988[1]
Producer(s)Bruce Fairbairn
Aerosmith singles chronology
"Rag Doll"
"Love in an Elevator"
Music video
"Rag Doll" on YouTube

"Rag Doll" is a song by the American rock band Aerosmith. It is from their 1987 album Permanent Vacation. It was released as the final single from the album in 1988. It was written by Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Jim Vallance, and Holly Knight. The song "[filters] the essence of Aerosmith's funkiest moments through the boom-thwack beat of the hair-metal '80s".[5]

Song origin[edit]

The song's lyrics were primarily written by Tyler and Vallance, Perry originating the guitar riff, and Vallance writing the bass line.[6] The song was originally titled "Rag Time"; however, John Kalodner did not like that, so Holly Knight was called in to help change that lyric. She suggested "Rag Doll", which was actually another title Tyler and Vallance had considered.[6]

Song structure[edit]

The song is notable for drummer Joey Kramer's 1-2-1-2 lead beat in the beginning of the song, Joe Perry's slide guitar, and a horn section arranged by Tom Keenlyside.[7] The song is in B minor. The melody and lyrics to the second verse are based on the vocal countermelody of the Rolling Stones' cover of Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On" that appears on Got Live If You Want It! in which Keith Richards sings "Yes, I'm movin'" in response to Mick Jagger singing "I'm movin' on". The music on the radio single differed from the album version in having a more urgent, driving beat, fueled by Tom Hamilton's bass, and slightly different sax notes. This version had an earlier fadeout, omitting the classic clarinet and trumpet duet behind Tyler's scat singing. The video is based on the album version of the song.


Cash Box said that "there's a spicy drum effect at the very end of this rockin', hit single,"[8]


(Including Any Other Editions)

  1. Rag Doll (4:24)
  2. Rag Doll (Extended Vacation) (6:59)
  3. Rag Doll (Rock Mix) (4:23)
  4. Rag Doll (Rockappella Mix) (4:07)
  5. Rag Doll (Dub Version) (5:33)
  6. Rag Doll (Extended Vacation/LP Version) (7:15)
  7. Rag Doll (The All Dayparts Edit) (3:05)
  8. Rag Doll (Remix) (2:50)
  9. Rag Doll (Edit) (3:05)
  10. Rag Doll (Wals Version)


Weekly chart performance for "Rag Doll"
Chart (1988–89) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[9] 23
Canada Retail Sales (RPM)[10][a] 9
Ireland (IRMA)[11] 29
Italy (Musica e Dischi)[12] 12
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[13] 19
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[14] 16
UK Singles (OCC)[15] 42
US Billboard Hot 100[16] 17
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[17] 12


  1. ^ Starting September 1988, the RPM Top Singles chart was radio-only, and a new "Retail Sales" chart was introduced. "Rag Doll" peaked at number nine in the second week of its existence, meaning its not a component of its Top Singles peak.

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ "Aerosmith - Rag Doll - hitparade.ch". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2021-07-02.
  2. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo (February 28, 2017). "Aerosmith Albums Ranked". Loudwire. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  3. ^ Popoff, Martin (2014). The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade. Voyageur Press. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-62788-375-7.
  4. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Big Ones - Aerosmith | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  5. ^ Masley, Ed (June 8, 2015). "25 best Aerosmith singles, from 'Dream On' to 'Crazy'". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  6. ^ a b "The 20 Songs That Can Represent The Career Of Aerosmith". Society of Rock. Retrieved 2022-05-23.
  7. ^ Big Ones (Media notes). Aerosmith. Geffen Records, Inc. 1994.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  8. ^ "Single Releases" (PDF). Cash Box. May 28, 1988. p. 12. Retrieved 2022-12-21.
  9. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 8585." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  10. ^ "Retail Sales: Issue 8666". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  11. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Rag Doll". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  12. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e Dischi (in Italian). Retrieved June 2, 2022. Set "Tipo" on "Singoli". Then, in the "Titolo" field, search "Rag doll".
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Aerosmith" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  14. ^ "Aerosmith – Rag Doll" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  15. ^ "Aerosmith: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 2, 2022.
  16. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  17. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2021.