Rock in a Hard Place

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Rock in a Hard Place
Aerosmith - Rock in a Hard Place.jpg
Studio album by Aerosmith
Released August 1, 1982
Recorded 1981–1982 at The Power Station and Criteria Studios
Genre Hard rock, blues rock
Length 40:16
Label Columbia
Producer Jack Douglas
Steven Tyler
Tony Bongiovi
Aerosmith chronology
Night in the Ruts
Rock in a Hard Place
Done with Mirrors
Singles from Rock in a Hard Place
  1. "Lightning Strikes"
    Released: 1982
  2. "Bitch's Brew"
    Released: 1982
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 1.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone (unfavorable)[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 1/5 stars [3]

Rock in a Hard Place is the seventh studio album by American hard rock band Aerosmith, released on August 1, 1982, on Columbia. It is the only Aerosmith album not to feature lead guitarist Joe Perry, following his departure from the band in 1979.


Following the departure of Joe Perry, Aerosmith went on hiatus for two years before beginning work on a new album.[citation needed] By 1981, guitarist Brad Whitford was becoming very dissatisfied with Aerosmith, mainly due to singer Steven Tyler's ongoing heroin addiction. The singer had also sustained a serious motorcycle accident which further slowed the band's affairs.[citation needed] Whitford also missed Perry:

Joe and I, we didn't have to say two words to each other about the guitar parts. it was a big part of the guitar magic that had sustained Aerosmith for ten years. Meanwhile, Steven was well into one of his periods on heroin. Some nights they would basically wheel him into the studio and prop him up on a couch and hope something would happen. The insanity was driving me crazy.[4][full citation needed]

Whitford finally left the band in 1981 and released Whitford St. Holmes, a collaboration with his friend Derek St. Holmes, who had been best known as a vocalist for Ted Nugent's band.[citation needed] Bassist Tom Hamilton later recalled, "For two years, the album we were working on, Rock and a Hard Place, was always two months away...Joey [Kramer, drummer] and I were determined to hang in there with Steven, but Brad couldn't handle it."[4][full citation needed] Whitford is billed as an "additional musician," and can be heard playing rhythm guitar on "Lightning Strikes."

Recording & Composition[edit]

Initially, Tony Bongiovi (Jon Bon Jovi's brother) was the original producer but he was evetually replaced with Jack Douglas, who had produced all of Aerosmith's albums from 1974 to 1977 and had just produced John Lennon's comeback LP Double Fantasy. Douglas and the band worked in the winter and spring of 1982 in New York and at Criteria Studios in Miami.[4][full citation needed] The majority of the songs were composed by Tyler and guitarist Jimmy Crespo, with Douglas later observing, "Steven and Jimmy wrote some good things together. 'Jailbait,' 'Lightning Strikes,' 'Bolivian Raggamuffin,' 'The Jig is Up.' They had a couple unfinished things - 'Joannie's Butterfly,' 'Rock and a Hard Place' - that I was able to help them with."[4][full citation needed] The band also recorded a cover of Julie London's "Cry Me a River" because, according to Tyler, "I ran out of lyrics."[4][full citation needed] In the VH1 Behind the Music episode on the band, Tyler admitted, "It wasn't working. I couldn't even rhyme scheme, the easiest thing to do - you, shoe, blue - I couldn't even do that. I cried. I thought, 'God, is that it for me?'" The last track of the album, "Push Comes to Shove," is about Tyler's then-girlfriend and future wife Teresa Barrick and her twin sister Lisa.[citation needed] "Lightning Strikes" was the album's biggest hit and the only one to be retained in the live setlist after the Rock In A Hard Place Tour in 1982–83, being played regularly until 1990. The band spent $1.5 million on the recording of this album.[5]


Rock and a Hard Place peaked at #32 on the Billboard albums chart, their worst showing there since Get Your Wings in 1974.[citation needed] In the original Rolling Stone review, J.D. Considine wrote, "Perry lookalike Jimmy Crespo is no slouch at turning out hard-edged guitar hooks that make up in drive what they lack in swing, and both 'Jailbait' and 'Lightning Strikes' throb with the sort of nasty glee that's always been an Aerosmith trademark. But despite an occasional burst of primal energy, much of the LP rocks by rote."[citation needed] AllMusic: "Rock in a Hard Place is the sound of Aerosmith at their most 'out of it.' Not to say it's a horrible album by any means - in fact, there are more than a few pleasant surprises - but without the guitar team of Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, it didn't possess the magical chemistry of their '70s classics."[citation needed] Despite the album's tepid reviews, drummer Joey Kramer asserts in his 2009 autobiography, Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top: "The record doesn't suck. There's some real good stuff on it. But it's not a real Aerosmith record because it's just me, Steven, and Tom—with a fill-in guitar player...It's Jimmy Crespo doing the guitar work."[5] Hamilton reflected to Behind the Music, "We were out of touch with out audience and we didn't know that they were sitting there going, 'Don't even try. Don't even give us a record without Joe on it 'cause we're not interested.'"

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Jailbait"   Steven Tyler, Jimmy Crespo, Rick Dufay 4:38
2. "Lightning Strikes"   Tyler, Crespo, Richard Supa 4:26
3. "Bitch's Brew"   Tyler, Crespo 4:14
4. "Bolivian Ragamuffin"   Tyler, Crespo 3:32
5. "Cry Me a River"   Arthur Hamilton 4:06
6. "Prelude to Joanie"   Tyler 1:21
7. "Joanie's Butterfly"   Tyler, Crespo, Jack Douglas 5:35
8. "Rock in a Hard Place (Cheshire Cat)"   Tyler, Crespo, Douglas 4:46
9. "Jig Is Up"   Tyler, Crespo 3:10
10. "Push Comes to Shove"   Tyler 4:28


Additional musicians
  • Brad Whitford – rhythm guitar ("Lightning Strikes")
  • Paul Harris – piano ("Push Comes to Shove")
  • John Turi – saxophone ("Rock in a Hard Place (Cheshire Cat)")
  • Reinhard Straub – violin ("Joanie's Butterfly")
  • John Lievano – acoustic guitar ("Joanie's Butterfly")
Recording personnel
  • Jack Douglas – producer, additional engineer
  • Godfrey Diamond – chief engineer
  • Tony Bongiovi – co-producer, additional engineer
  • John Agnello – assistant engineer
  • Bruce Hensal – assistant engineer
  • Jim Sessody – assistant engineer
  • Gary Rindfuss – assistant engineer
  • Josh Abbey – assistant engineer
  • Malcolm Pollack – assistant engineer
  • Zoe Yanakis – assistant engineer
  • George Marino – mastering


  • Gerard Rozhek – photography, visual direction


Album – Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1982 The Billboard 200 32

Singles – Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1982 "Lightning Strikes" Mainstream Rock Tracks 21


Organization Level Date
RIAA – USA Gold[6] November 10, 1989


  1. ^ Rock in a Hard Place at AllMusic
  2. ^ J.D. Considine (1982-12-04). "Rock in a Hard Place". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-05-14. 
  3. ^ "Aerosmith: Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Davis 1997.
  5. ^ a b Kramer, Joey (2010). Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top. New York: HarperOne. p. 134. ISBN 978-0061566622. 
  6. ^ "Gold and Platinum Database Search". Retrieved 2009-11-24. 

External links[edit]