Rocks (Aerosmith album)

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Aerosmith - Rocks.JPG
Studio album by Aerosmith
Released May 3, 1976 (1976-05-03)
Recorded February–March 1976 at Wherehouse and The Record Plant
Genre Hard rock, blues rock, heavy metal
Length 34:31
Label Columbia
Producer Aerosmith and Jack Douglas
Aerosmith chronology
Toys in the Attic
Draw the Line
Singles from Rocks
  1. "Last Child"
    Released: May 27, 1976 (1976-05-27)[1]
  2. "Home Tonight"
    Released: 1976
  3. "Back in the Saddle"
    Released: March 22, 1977 (1977-03-22)[1]

Rocks is the fourth studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released on May 3, 1976. AllMusic described Rocks as having "captured Aerosmith at their most raw and rocking".[2] Rocks was ranked #176 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It has greatly influenced many hard rock and heavy metal artists, including Guns N' Roses and Metallica.[3][4] The album was a commercial success, charting three singles on the Billboard Hot 100, two of which reached the Top 40 ("Back in the Saddle" and "Last Child"). The album was one of the first albums to ship platinum when it was released. The album has since gone quadruple platinum.[5]

Song information[edit]

"Back in the Saddle"[edit]

The song features Joe Perry playing a Fender Bass VI guitar,[6] and was released as a single on March 22, 1977.[1] The song was covered by former Skid Row-vocalist Sebastian Bach on his 2007 album Angel Down, as a duet with Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose.

"Last Child"[edit]

A blues and funk infused tune, "Last Child" was written by lead singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Brad Whitford, and includes many double entendre lyrics from Tyler. The song remains a favorite among many Aerosmith fans.[7] It is said that Brad Whitford created the riff after listening to The Meters, and that the band wrote the rest in the studio.[citation needed] Live, Whitford plays lead guitar on the song. "Last Child" was also included in the video game Guitar Hero II. The song was released as a single on May 27, 1976,[1] and features Paul Prestopino playing banjo.[6]

"Rats in the Cellar"[edit]

Tom Hamilton describes the song's writing process as, "taking this thing The Yardbirds created, and making it balls to the wall".[citation needed] It was conceived as a counterpart to Toys in the Attic, and is inspired by the death of the band's drug dealer.[citation needed] The song was released as a promo single for the album.


This song features Joe Perry on co-lead vocals with Steven Tyler. The song is about drugs and the danger of affording them.

"Sick as a Dog"[edit]

"Sick as a Dog" is the only song on Rocks that features Tom Hamilton playing a guitar instead of an electric bass, and features both Joe Perry (during the main part of the song) and Steven Tyler (during the ending guitar solo) on electric bass.[6] According to an interview with Tom Hamilton, during recording Perry handed the bass over to Tyler at a pause near the end of the song, so that Perry could switch over to lead guitar.[8]

"Nobody's Fault"[edit]

With "Back in the Saddle", "Nobody's Fault" (regarded as the heaviest song on the album), is one of former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash's favorite Aerosmith songs, as well as that of Metallica leader James Hetfield.[9] Thrash metal band Testament covered this song on their 1988 album, The New Order, as well as L.A. Guns contributing a cover of the song for their 2004 covers album Rips the Covers Off. Mötley Crüe vocalist Vince Neil covered this song on his 2010 solo album Tattoos & Tequila.

This song is an important contribution to the band's catalogue by Brad Whitford, who cites it as his favorite Aerosmith song.[10] Joey Kramer has also cited "Nobody's Fault" as his favorite Aerosmith song (along with "Lord of the Thighs).[11] It has also been said that the song is about earthquakes.[10]

"Lick and a Promise"[edit]

"Lick and a Promise" is a song about "going out there and putting on a great show."[12] The Stone Temple Pilots were joined onstage in 1996 by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, performing the song along with "Sweet Emotion".

"Home Tonight"[edit]

This song features Joe Perry on a lap steel guitar as a lead guitar and his Les Paul for the rhythm guitar, and has drummer Joey Kramer, Tom Hamilton, and producer/arranger Jack Douglas performing backing vocals.[1]


Media appearances[edit]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[2]
Blender 5/5 stars[15]
Rolling Stone (mixed)[16]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[17]
The Village Voice A−[18]

Greg Prato of AllMusic said that the best songs on Rocks were "Back in the Saddle" and "Last Child", and compared the Joe Perry composition, "Combination", to a Rolling Stones song. He also said the album was more "raw" than Toys in the Attic, and thought overall Rocks was better than its predecessor.[2] Ben Mitchell of Blender magazine, said that the group members' drug-use actually helped Rocks, and he also called the album "raw."[15] In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau said that with Rocks Aerosmith was doing a good job of imitating Led Zeppelin, and that after Rocks the band began to lose steam.[18]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Back in the Saddle"   Steven Tyler, Joe Perry 4:40
2. "Last Child"   Tyler, Brad Whitford 3:26
3. "Rats in the Cellar"   Tyler, Perry 4:05
4. "Combination"   Perry 3:39
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Sick as a Dog"   Tyler, Tom Hamilton 4:16
2. "Nobody's Fault"   Tyler, Whitford 4:21
3. "Get the Lead Out"   Tyler, Perry 3:41
4. "Lick and a Promise"   Tyler, Perry 3:05
5. "Home Tonight"   Tyler 3:15
Total length:


Per sleeve notes[6]

Other album credits
  • Bob Kelleher (Kelly) - tour director
  • Mel Baister - associate tour director
  • Nick Spigel & Henry Smith - road crew
Album notes

"Dedicated to the memories of Anthony D. Perry and Herb Spar"


Chart (1976) Peak
Canada (RPM Top Albums)[19] 14
Japanese Albums Chart[20] 13
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[21] 46
US Billboard 200[22] 3
Year Single Chart Position
1976 "Home Tonight" The Billboard Hot 100 71
"Last Child" The Billboard Hot 100 21
1977 "Back in the Saddle" The Billboard Hot 100 38


Organization Level Date
RIAA - USA Gold[23] May 21, 1976
Platinum[23] July 9, 1976
2× Platinum[23] October 19, 1984
3× Platinum[23] December 21, 1988
4× Platinum[23] February 26, 2001
CIA – Canada Gold September 1, 1976
Platinum November 1, 1976


  1. ^ a b c d e Aerosmith's Greatest Hits (CD insert). Aerosmith. U.S.A.: Columbia Records. 1993 [1980]. CK 57367. 
  2. ^ a b c Greg Prato. "Rocks - Aerosmith : Overview". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 
  3. ^ "The Immortals - The Greatest Artists of All Time: 57) Aerosmith". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  5. ^ "Recording Industry Association of America". RIAA. Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  6. ^ a b c d Rocks (Vinyl sleeve). Aerosmith. Columbia Records. 1976. back cover. 
  7. ^ "Aerosmith - Music Videos". AeroForceOne. Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  8. ^ [1], Tom Hamilton being asked by fan how Sick as a Dog was recorded.
  9. ^ "Rock This Way || Cool Aerosmith Info". 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  10. ^ a b "Aerosmith - Brad Whitford". AeroForceOne. Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  11. ^ "Aerosmith - Joey Kramer". AeroForceOne. Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  12. ^ a b "Music". Aerosmith. Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  13. ^ "Top 50 by Nirvana". Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Aerosmith, Rocks". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Mitchell, Ben (September 14, 2004). "Review : Aerosmith - Rocks". Blender. United States: Alpha Media Group. [dead link]
  16. ^ Milward, John (July 29, 1976). "Rocks". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  17. ^ Kot, Greg. "Aerosmith - Album Guide". Rolling Stone. United States: Jann S. Wenner. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  18. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1976). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (October 4) (New York). Retrieved September 11, 2014. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "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 2013-05-02. 
  21. ^ Steffen Hung. "Aerosmith - Rocks". Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b c d e "Gold and Platinum Database Search". Retrieved 2009-11-24. 

External links[edit]

Rocks at MusicBrainz