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"Walk This Way" is a song by Americanmarker hard rock group Aerosmith. It was written by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. It was originally released as the second single from their 1975 album Toys in the Attic. It peaked at Number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1977, part of a string of successful hit singles for the band in the 1970s. The lyrics coyly tell the story of a high school boy losing his virginity.

In addition to being one of the songs that helped break Aerosmith into the mainstream in the 1970s, it also helped resurrect their career and revolutionized the new hybrid sub-musical genre of "rock and rap", or the molding of rock and hip hop music when it was covered by rappers Run-D.M.C. in 1986 on their album Raising Hell. It became an international hit and won both groups a Soul Train Music Award for Best Rap - Single in 1987.

The song was also covered by the UKmarker girl groups Sugababes and Girls Aloud as the official Comic Relief single in 2007.

Song information

The song starts out with the famous two measure drum beat intro by Joey Kramer, followed up the equally famous guitar riff by Joe Perry. The song then goes into the verse, with a steady drum beat and bassline by Tom Hamilton forming as the backbeat, with dueling guitars by Joe Perry and Brad Whitford.

The lyrics, which tell the story of a high school boy losing his virginity, are sung quite fast by Steven Tyler, with heavy emphasis being placed on the rhyming lyrics (e.g., "so I took a big chance at the high school dance"). This rap-style delivery -- which may explain why the song worked so well as a rap song when it was covered 11 years later -- was ahead of its time .

Between the elaborately detailed verses, the chorus primarily consists of a repetition of "Walk this way, talk this way". In collaborations, the other singer often says "talk this way" every alternate line of the chorus. Live in concert, Steven Tyler often has the audience, combined with members of the band, sing "talk this way". There is also a lengthy guitar solo at the end of the song, and in concert, Steven Tyler will often harmonize his voice to mimic the sounds of the guitar.

In the Run-D.M.C. cover, the turntable is added in to reflect the additional hip hop influence on the record.

While the band was working on Toys in the Attic, having written the music for the song but having difficulty coming up with lyrics for it, they decided to take a break and see Young Frankenstein, where the "Walk This Way" gag, by legendary British comedian Marty Feldman, provided the basis (or phrase) for the lyrics.

While the Run-DMC cover is nearly identical to the original version of the song, the Girls Aloud/Sugababes cover has a few changes tweaked into the song; the additional line "Walk this way, you wanna talk this way" is added, the vocoder is added, the lyrics are moved around, and the beat is slightly sped up to add a further dance pop influence to the song.

Both versions of the song (the original Aerosmith version and the second Run-DMC cover featuring Steven Tyler and Joe Perry) appear on various Aerosmith compilations as well as Run-DMC albums.

Legacy

"Walk This Way" was one of two hit singles by the band to hit the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 in the 1970s, the other one being a re-release of "Dream On". "Walk This Way", though, helped "Toys in the Attic" to be the bestselling Aerosmith album, and one of the most critically acclaimed. Aerosmith's version of "Walk This Way" often competes with "Sweet Emotion" and "Dream On" for the title of Aerosmith's signature song, being one of the band's most important, influential, and recognizable songs. The band almost never omits it from their concert setlist, still performing their classic version of the song to this day. The song has also long been a staple of rock radio, garnering regular airplay on classic rock, mainstream rock, and album-oriented rock radio stations. In 2009, it was named the 8th greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.

Run-D.M.C. version

In 1986, the hip hop group Run-D.M.C. performed a cover of "Walk This Way" with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry guesting on vocals and guitars. While working on Raising Hell, Rick Rubin pulled out Toys in the Attic (an album they freestyled over) and explained who Aerosmith were. While Run and DMC had no idea who Aerosmith were at that time, Jam Master Jay suggested remaking the song. Both Run and DMC did not like the idea. Later, however, they covered the song with Aerosmith. DMC later called it "a beautiful song" in a trailer for Guitar Hero. The 1986 version of the song is often credited as helping break rap into mainstream popular music as it was the first rap song to hit the Top 5 in The Billboard Hot 100, and the remake demonstrated how elements of rap music can be part of rock and pop songs, harking back to the DJing of Afrika Bambaataa, who would mix in tracks by the likes of The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Grand Funk Railroad among the more usual funk breaks. It also briefly samples the opening drum intro of the original in a middle section of the song. This version of "Walk This Way" charted higher on the Hot 100 than the original version, peaking at Number 4. It was also one of the first big rap singles in the UK, reaching a peak of Number 8 there. The landmark collaboration catapulted Run-D.M.C. into mainstream stardom and would influence rap music for years to come. The song paved the way for other pop acts to introduce elements of hip hop into their music. It pioneered the trend of rap/sung collaborations that is so present on American Radio in the late 1990s and 2000s. The collaboration also introduced a fusion of rock and hip hop, later known as rap rock, to a wide audience for the first time. The song also marked a major comeback for Aerosmith, as they had been largely out of mainstream pop culture for several years while recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, and their 1985 comeback album Done with Mirrors, flopped. Aerosmith followed up "Walk This Way" with a string of multi-platinum albums and Top 40 hits, starting with the album Permanent Vacation and single "Dude " in 1987. In 2008, "Walk This Way" was ranked number 4 on "VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop". This version of the song is currently ranked as the 88th greatest song of all time, as well as the best song of 1986, by Acclaimed Music.

Music video

The 1986 music video for "Walk This Way" symbolically placed a rock band (assumed to be Aerosmith) and Run-D.M.C. in a musical duel in neighboring studios before Tyler literally breaks through the wall that separates them. The video then segues to the bands' joint performance on stage. The highly popular video was the first rap hybrid video ever played in heavy rotation on MTV and is regarded as a classic of the medium.

Aside from Steve Tyler and Perry, none of the other rock musicians in the video are the Aerosmith members; instead, they were played by Roger Lane, J. D. Malo and Matt Stelutto - respectively rhythm guitarist, bassist and drummer for the largely unknown hair metal outfit Smashed Gladys.


Later collaborations

In 1989, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry joined Bon Jovi at a concert at Milton Keynes Bowlmarker in the United Kingdommarker for an encore performance and extended jam of the song.

On September 9, 1999, Kid Rock joined Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith for an updated rendition of "Walk This Way" at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. In 2002, Kid Rock and Run-D.M.C. (as separate acts) opened for Aerosmith on the first leg of the Girls of Summer Tour. Each night, at the end of Aerosmith's set, Kid Rock and Run-D.M.C. would join Aerosmith for an encore collaborative performance of "Walk This Way".

At the Super Bowl XXXV half-time show in January 2001, performers *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly joined Aerosmith onstage for an encore performance of "Walk This Way" with members of *NSYNC and Britney Spears singing different parts of the 2nd verse, Mary J. Blige adding background harmony, and Nelly performing a rap towards the end of the song.

At the Hyde Park Calling festival in London on June 24, 2007 (a date on Aerosmith's 2007 world tour), Aerosmith were joined on stage for their encore performance of Walk this Way by DMC.

Also, Fergie joined Aerosmith once on television to duet with Steven Tyler to sing 'Walk this Way'.

Both the Run-D.M.C. version and the original version of the song are featured in Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.

Awards and accolades

Song

  • The song won both groups a Soul Train Music Award for Best Rap - Single in 1987
  • Rolling Stone ranked the original version of "Walk This Way" at Number 336 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The version by Run-D.M.C. is ranked at 287
  • In 2000, "VH1: "100 Greatest Rock Songs" included "Walk This Way" at Number 35
  • In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at Number 23 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.
  • In 2008, Rolling Stone ranked the original version of "Walk This Way" at 34 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time
  • In 2009, VH1's "100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs" included "Walk This Way" at 8


Music video

  • In 1993, "Rolling Stone: The Top 100 Music Videos" included "Walk This Way" (w/ Run-D.M.C.) at 11
  • In 1999, "MTV: 100 Greatest Videos Ever Made" included "Walk This Way" (w/ Run-D.M.C.) at 5
  • In 2001, "VH1: 100 Greatest Videos" included "Walk This Way" (w/ Run-D.M.C.) at 11
  • In 2007, "Fuse: 25 Greatest Music Videos" included "Walk This Way (w/ Run-D.M.C.) at 24


In other media



Sugababes VS. Girls Aloud version

UKmarker girl groups Girls Aloud and Sugababes collaborated on a cover of "Walk This Way", which was released on 12 March 2007 as the official single for the 2007 Comic Relief fundraiser across the United Kingdom. The song charted at Number 1 on 18 March, giving Girls Aloud their third British number-one and Sugababes their fifth, and first with member Amelle Berrabah. It has sold 127,896 so far in the UK alone.

The idea of a Girls Aloud and Sugababes collaboration came from Comic Relief co-founder and trustee Richard Curtis. Several songs were possibilities, including Blur's "Girls & Boys" and Candi Staton's "You Got the Love", which was Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts' idea and favourite choice. "Walk This Way" is the first and only Girls Aloud single to date not to feature production from Xenomania, who have also worked with Sugababes.

In 2008, a team of music experts in a poll conducted by Total Guitar Magazine ranked this version at number two on its list of 'Worst Ever Cover Songs'.

Music video

The music video premiered on The Box on 2 February 2007, and was shown on Channel 4's Popworld the following day. It was recorded over three days — Sugababes on one, Cheryl Cole, Nicola Roberts, and Kimberley Walsh on the second, and Nadine Coyle and Sarah Harding on the third and final day. The premise of the video was a comic re-enactment of the Run DMC and Aerosmith video, with Girls Aloud as Aerosmith and Sugababes as Run DMC. At the end of the video Davina McCall, Lily Cole, Ewen Macintosh, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Ruby Wax, Graham Norton, Stephen Mangan, Oliver Chris, and Natalie Cassidy also appear, with red noses being thrown at the two groups at the end.

Track listing and formats

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Walk This Way".

UK CD single (1724331)
  1. "Walk This Way" - 2:52
  2. "Walk This Way" [Yoad Mix] - 3:01
  3. "Walk This Way" [video] - 3:07
  4. Behind the Scenes Footage [video] - 3:15


Charts

Chart (2007) Peak

position
Irish Singles Chart 14
Romanian Singles Chart 54
UK Singles Chart 1
UK Download Chart 2


Other cover versions



References

  1. Walk their way | Aerosmith News | AeroForceOne
  2. BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Dion sang 'worst ever cover song'
  3. Chart Track
  4. Romanian Top 100



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