Rock in a Hard Place

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Rock in a Hard Place
Aerosmith - Rock in a Hard Place.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 27, 1982 [1]
GenreHard rock
Aerosmith chronology
Night in the Ruts
Rock in a Hard Place
Done with Mirrors

Rock in a Hard Place is the seventh studio album by American hard rock band Aerosmith, released on August 27, 1982 by Columbia Records. It was certified gold on November 10, 1989.[2] It is the only Aerosmith album not to feature lead guitarist Joe Perry, following his departure from the band in 1979. Rhythm guitarist Brad Whitford also left during the recording in 1981. The band spent $1.5 million on the recording of this album,[3] which saw them reunited with producer Jack Douglas.


Aerosmith had released six studio albums during the 1970s. But as the decade concluded, multiple problems arose. Guitarist Joe Perry had left the band in 1979 after incidents at the World Series of Rock in Cleveland, Ohio and was replaced by Jimmy Crespo. Meanwhile, Steven Tyler's drug abuse increased. After recording the single "Lightning Strikes," guitarist Brad Whitford also left Aerosmith in 1981 and was replaced by Rick Dufay when the recording of the album was finally complete.

An outtake from the album titled “Riff & Roll” later appeared on the bands 1986 compilation album, Pure Gold .999, along with other demos and alternate takes from the album. Later it was also released on their 1991 compilation album, Pandora’s Box.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Classic Rock[5]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal8/10[6]
The Philadelphia Inquirer[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[8]

From contemporary reviews, J. D. Considine lamented in Rolling Stone how the band had decided to maintain their old sound on the album, despite new heavy rock "fast power chords had made Aerosmith’s bluesy boogie almost obsolete". He praised "Perry lookalike Jimmy Crespo"'s guitar playing, but wrote that "despite an occasional burst of primal energy, much of the LP rocks by rote."[9] Ken Tucker of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the album a one out of five star rating, opining that "It's sad when once-vital hard rock bands outlast their usefulness, if only because there are so few of them around."[7]

AllMusic Greg Prato wrote that Aerosmith "didn't possess the magical chemistry of their '70s classics" without Perry and Whitford, but the band could "still rock out" producing their "most studio-enhanced and experimental record up to this point" with "a few pleasant surprises", like "the psychedelicized 'Joanie's Butterfly'".[4] Canadian journalist Martin Popoff described the album as "a bit patchy" with highlights being "Jailbait", "Lightning Strikes" and "Joanie's Butterfly" and the rest "variously lumbering, untuneful and forced", and concluded that, although Aerosmith "could barely function", they "never made a bad record."[6] "In theory a disaster," observed Classic Rock magazine, "in practice, an unlikely triumph. Never mind the Spinal Tap-anticipating Stonehenge cover – Rock in a Hard Place is one kick-ass album… 'Lightning Strikes', 'Bolivian Ragamuffin' and 'Joanie's Butterfly' are classic Aerosmith songs – no matter who played on them."[10]

"The record doesn't suck," wrote drummer Joey Kramer in his 2009 autobiography, Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top. "There's some real good stuff on it. But it's not a real Aerosmith record because it's just me, Steven, and Tom [Hamilton] — with a fill-in guitar player ... It's Jimmy Crespo doing the guitar work."[3]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Jailbait"Steven Tyler, Jimmy Crespo4:38
2."Lightning Strikes"Tyler, Crespo, Richard Supa4:26
3."Bitch's Brew"Tyler, Crespo4:14
4."Bolivian Ragamuffin"Tyler, Crespo3:32
5."Cry Me a River"Arthur Hamilton4:06
Side two
6."Prelude to Joanie"Tyler1:21
7."Joanie's Butterfly"Tyler, Crespo, Jack Douglas5:35
8."Rock in a Hard Place (Cheshire Cat)"Tyler, Crespo, Douglas4:46
9."Jig Is Up"Tyler, Crespo3:10
10."Push Comes to Shove"Tyler4:28
Total length:40:16



Chart (1982) Peak
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[11] 24
US Billboard 200[12] 32


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[13] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "RIAA certifications".
  2. ^ "RIAA certifications".
  3. ^ a b Kramer, Joey (2010). Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top. New York: HarperOne. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-06-156662-2.
  4. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Aerosmith - Rock in a Hard Place review". AllMusic. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  5. ^ "Album Of The Week Club: Aerosmith - Rock In A Hard Place". Classic Rock. January 29, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Popoff, Martin (November 1, 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5.
  7. ^ a b Tucker, Ken (September 19, 1982). "New Albums". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. 10-I. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  8. ^ "Aerosmith: Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  9. ^ J. D. Considine (December 4, 1982). "Rock in a Hard Place". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  10. ^ "Aerosmith - Rock in a Hard Place". Classic Rock. No. 209. May 2015. p. 27.
  11. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 6949a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22April 2018.
  12. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  13. ^ "American album certifications – Aerosmith – Rock in a Hard Place". Recording Industry Association of America.


External links[edit]