Aerosmith was one of the most popular bands of the '70s, setting the style and sound of hard rock and heavy metal for the next two decades with their vulgar, bluesy swagger. The Boston-based group of five found the middle ground between the Rolling Stones and the New York Dolls, developing a lean, dirty riff-oriented boogie that was loose and swinging and as hard as a rock.
They developed a prototype for power ballads with "Dream On," a piano ballad that was orchestrated with strings and distorted guitars. Aerosmith's versatility to pull off ballads and rock & roll made them extremely popular during the mid-'70s, when they had a string of gold and platinum albums.
By the early '80s, their popularity had declined as the band entered into drugs and alcohol. But, their career was far from over --
Originally labeled rock's "toxic twins," founding members Steven Tyler and Joe Perry defeated alcoholism and drug use while retaining their characteristic anti-establishment charm and attitude. In the late '80s, Aerosmith pulled off one of the most remarkable comebacks in rock history, returning to the top of the charts with a group of albums that equaled, if not surpassed, the popularity of their '70s albums.
Chris Norris commented in Spin: "Aerosmith is as close to Hollywood as rock-n-roll gets.... The Boston crew of Tyler, Perry, guitarist Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton, and drummer Joey Kramer have gone from being the definitive 1970s hard-rock band to a textbook on economy, surliness, and soul to the ultimate comeback band brought back almost literally from the dead in the mid-1980s to the most bankable act in popular music."
Despite Aerosmith's popularity, it took nearly three decades for them to get a song to number one on the Billboard charts. In 1998, the group recorded the Diane Warren-written "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" for the Armageddon film soundtrack. The new song won tons of airplay, and took its place among Aerosmith's legendary power ballads. The single stayed at number one for four weeks.
In 2001, Aerosmith joined 'N Sync, Britney Spears, and Mary J. Blige onstage for the Super Bowl halftime show. Aerosmith's performance was "stunning," and pushed the band into the limelight once again. The performance also helped make "Jaded"--a single from Just Push Play--a success. Years of just such success earned the group induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.