"Walk This Way" is a song by American hard rock group Aerosmith. Written by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, the song was originally released as the second single from the 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. In addition to being one of the songs that helped break Aerosmith into the mainstream in the 1970s, it also helped revitalize their career in the 1980s when it was covered by rappers Run–D.M.C. on their 1986 album Raising Hell. This cover was a touchstone for the new musical subgenre of rap rock, or the melding of rock and hip hop. It became an international hit and won both groups a Soul Train Music Award for Best Rap - Single in 1987.
- 1 Contents
- 2 Production
- 3 Legacy
- 4 Run–D.M.C. version
- 5 Later collaborations
- 6 Awards and accolades
- 7 The String Cheese Incident version
- 8 Sugababes vs. Girls Aloud version
- 1 Production
- 1.1 Music
- 1.2 Lyrics
- 1.3 Chart performance
- 1.4 Year end chart
- 2 Legacy
- 3 Run–D.M.C. version
- 3.1 Music video
- 3.2 Chart performance
- 3.3 Year end chart
- 4 Later collaborations
- 5 Awards and accolades
- 5.1 Song
- 5.2 Music video
- 6 The String Cheese Incident version
- 6.1 Track listing
- 7 Sugababes vs. Girls Aloud version
- 7.1 Background and release
- 7.2 Chart performance
- 7.3 Music video
- 7.4 Live performances
- 7.5 Track listing and formats
- 7.6 Credits and personnel
- 7.7 Charts
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The song starts out with the famous two measure drum beat intro by Joey Kramer, followed by the equally famous guitar riff by Perry. The song proceeds with the main riff, played by Perry andBrad Whitford on guitar with Tom Hamilton on bass.
In December 1974, Aerosmith opened for The Guess Who in Honolulu. During the sound check, guitarist Joe Perry was "fooling around with riffs and thinking about The Meters", a group guitarist Jeff Beck had turned him on to. Loving "their riffyNew Orleans funk, especially 'Cissy Strut' and 'People Say'", he asked the drummer "to lay down something flat with a groove on the drums." The guitar riff to what would become "Walk This Way" just "came off [his] hands." Needing a bridge, he . .
When bandmate Steven Tyler heard Perry playing that riff he "ran out and sat behind the drums and [they] jammed." Tyler scatted "nonsensical words initially to feel where the lyrics should go before adding them later."
When the group was halfway through recording Toys in the Attic in early 1975 at Record Plant in New York City, they found themselves stuck for material. They had written three or four songs for the album, having "to write the rest in the studio." They decided to give the song Perry had come up with in Hawaii a try, but it didn't have lyrics or a title yet. Deciding to take a break from recording, band members and producer Jack [Douglas] went down to Times Square to see Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein". Returning to the studio, they were laughing about Marty Feldman telling Gene Wilder to follow him in the film, saying "walk this way" and limping. Douglas suggested this as a title for their song. But they still needed lyrics.
At the hotel that night Tyler wrote lyrics for the song, but left them in the cab on the way to the studio next morning. He says: "I must have been stoned. All the blood drained out of my face, but no one believed me. They thought I never got around to writing them." Upset, he took a cassette tape with the instrumental track we had recorded and a portable tape player with headphones and "disappeared into the stairwell." He "grabbed a few No. 2 pencils" but forget to take paper. He wrote the lyrics on the wall at "the Record Plant's top floor and then down a few stairs of the back stairway." After "two or three hours" he "ran downstairs for a legal pad and ran back up and copied them down."
Perry through the "lyrics were so great," noting Tyler, being a drummer, "likes to use words as a percussion element." He says:
Perry always liked to wait until Tyler recorded his vocal so he "could weave around his vocal attack," but he wanted Perry to record first for the same reason. After a "tug-of-war", Tyler's vocal was recorded first with Perry's guitar track overdubbed.
The lyrics, which tell the story of a high school boy losing his virginity, are sung quite fast by Tyler, with heavy emphasis being placed on the rhyming lyrics (e.g., "so I took a big chance at the high school dance").
Between the elaborately detailed verses, the chorus primarily consists of a repetition of "Walk this way, talk this way".
Live in concert, 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, Tyler will often harmonize his voice to mimic the sounds of the guitar.
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||7|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||10|
Year end chart
|End of year chart (1977)||Position|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||90|
"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 rarely 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 mainstream rock, classic rock, and album-oriented rock radio stations. In 2009, it was named the eighth greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.
|"Walk This Way"|
|Single by Run–D.M.C.|
|from the album Raising Hell|
|Released||July 4, 1986|
|Genre||Rap rock, hard rock|
|Length||5:17 (album version)|
3:38 (single version)
|Certification||Gold (RIAA, CRIA)|
|"Walk This Way"
Run–D.M.C.'s "Walk This Way" fromRaising Hell
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
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 outToys in the Attic (an album they freestyled over) and explained who Aerosmith were. While Joseph Simmons and Darryl McDaniels had no idea who Aerosmith were at that time, Rubin suggested remaking the song. Neither Simmons nor McDaniels liked the idea, though Jam Master Jay was open to it. Later, however, Run–D.M.C. covered the song. D.M.C. called it "a beautiful thing" in a trailer for Guitar Hero.
The 1986 version of the song is often credited as helping break hip hop music into mainstream pop music as it was the first hip hop song to hit the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the remake demonstrated how elements of hip hop 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 hip hop 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 hip hop 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 rhymed/sung collaborations that is so present on American Radio from the late 1990s and 2000s to the present. 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 it had been largely out of mainstream pop culture for several years while recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, and its 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 (Looks Like a Lady)" 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.
The chorus of Run–D.M.C.'s cover contains a pitch alternation that Aerosmith themselves adapted in most future live performances. In collaborations, the other singer often says "talk this way" every alternate line of the chorus. This rap-style delivery may explain why the song worked so well as a hip hop song when it was covered eleven years later.
In the Run–D.M.C. cover, a turntable and drum machine are added in to reflect the additional hip hop influence on the record. Both the original Aerosmith version and the Run–D.M.C. cover (featuring Tyler and Perry) appear on various Aerosmith compilations as well as Run-D.M.C. albums.
While the Run–D.M.C. cover is nearly identical to the original version, 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 and realized on a drum machine to add a further dance-pop feel to the song.
The 1986 music video for "Walk This Way" symbolically placed a rock band and Run–D.M.C. in a musical duel in neighboring studios before the singer 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 hip hop hybrid video ever played in heavy rotation on MTV and is regarded as a classic of the medium. The video was directed by Jon Small and filmed at the Park Theater in Union City, New Jersey. The theater has remained largely unchanged since the video was filmed. Visitors may notice two holes in the ceiling toward the front of the stage where a light fixture was meant to be installed for the shoot.
Aside from 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 of the largely unknown hair metal outfit Smashed Gladys. The guitar that Perry is playing is a Guild X-100 Bladerunner. According to VH1's Pop Up Video, Run–D.M.C. couldn't afford to use the entire Aerosmith band, just Tyler and Perry. As only Tyler and Perry had traveled to record the cover with Run–D.M.C., they were the only real Aerosmith members to appear in the video.
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||9|
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||26|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||6|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||6|
|Germany (Media Control Charts)||13|
|Irish Singles Chart||12|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||2|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||2|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||1|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||9|
|UK (Official Charts Company)||8|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||4|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play||6|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales||13|
|U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles||8|
Year end chart
|End of year chart (1986)||Position|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||89|
In 1989, Tyler and Perry joined Bon Jovi at a concert at Milton Keynes Bowl in the United Kingdom 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 halftime 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 Britney Spears and members of *NSYNC singing different parts of the second 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), D.M.C. joined Aerosmith on stage for their encore performance of "Walk This Way".
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.
The Run DMC version appeared in dance video games Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 3 and Just Dance 2015.
Tyler has also performed the song with Carrie Underwood on two occasions.
Awards and accolades
- The song won both groups a Soul Train Music Award for Best Rap - Single in 1987.
- The song "Walk This Way" is part of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.
- Rolling Stone ranked the original version of "Walk This Way" at number 346 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The version by Run–D.M.C. is ranked at number 293.
- 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 number 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 number 8.
- VH1 ranked the version by Run–D.M.C. at number 4 on VH1 100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs.
- In 1993, "Rolling Stone: The Top 100 Music Videos" included "Walk This Way" (with Run–D.M.C.) at number 11.
- In 1999, "MTV: 100 Greatest Videos Ever Made" included "Walk This Way" (with Run–D.M.C.) at number 5.
- In 2001, "VH1: 100 Greatest Videos" included "Walk This Way" (with Run–D.M.C.) at number 11.
- In 2007, "Fuse: 25 Greatest Music Videos" included "Walk This Way (with Run–D.M.C.) at number 24.
"Slice of Heaven" by Dave Dobbyn feat. Herbs
|New Zealand Singles Chart (Run–D.M.C. version)
November 26, 1986
"Ain't Nothin' Goin' on But the Rent" by Gwen Guthrie
The String Cheese Incident version
|"Walk This Way"|
|Single by The String Cheese Incident|
|from the album A String Cheese Incident|
|Released||May 31, 1997|
|Genre||Bluegrass, folk rock|
|Producer(s)||The String Cheese Incident|
|The String Cheese Incident singles chronology|
In 1997, The String Cheese Incident covered the song on their live album A String Cheese Incident. Although faithful to the intro and main riff, this version is heavily bluegrass-influenced. After the release it was released in a compilation album. This cover is a crossover between bluegrass and rock.
- Walk This Way 4:46
- Little Hands 8:16
- Rhythm of the Road 6:08
- San Jose 8:53
Sugababes vs. Girls Aloud version
|"Walk This Way"|
|Single by Sugababes vs. Girls Aloud|
|Released||12 March 2007|
In 2007, British girl groups Girls Aloud and Sugababes recorded a cover of "Walk This Way" as the official Comic Relief charity single. Their version was produced by American producer Dallas Austin, making it Girls Aloud's first single not to be produced by Xenomania. The track charted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, giving Girls Aloud their third number 1 and Sugababes their fifth.
The music video was a comic re-enactment of the Run–D.M.C. video. "Walk This Way" was promoted through numerous live appearances and has been included on tours by both Girls Aloud and Sugababes. Contemporary music critics criticised the cover version, but supported the single due to its fundraising nature.
Background and release
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 notably the first Girls Aloud single to date not to feature production fromBrian Higgins and Xenomania, who have also worked with Sugababes. Girls Aloud and Sugababes launched the charity appeal on January 31. Kimberley Walsh of Girls Aloud said, "It's a fantastic song and hopefully will raise tons of money for people living in really difficult situations here and in Africa." It was also available as a digital download.
"Walk This Way" entered the UK Singles Chart at number 1 on March 18, 2007 ― for the week ending date March 24, 2007. The following week, the single dropped to number 2; it was dethroned by another Comic Relief single, "I'm Gonna Roll (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers with Peter Kay and Matt Lucas. In its third week on the chart, "Walk This Way" dropped twelve places out of the top ten, placing itself at number 14.
The song also charted at number 8 on the Billboard European Hot 100 Singles chart.
The music video premiered on The Box on February 2, 2007, and was shown on Channel 4's Popworld the following day. It was recorded over three days – Sugababes on the first, 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-D.M.C. video, with Girls Aloud as the rockers and Sugababes as Run–D.M.C. 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.
"Walk This Way" was performed by Girls Aloud and Sugababes for the first time on Comic Relief Does Fame Academy on March 10, 2007. They performed the song on Comic Relief's Red Nose Day 2007 telethon on March 16. Girls Aloud performed "Walk This Way" without Sugababes on 2007's The Sound of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits Tour. The following year, they performed the song in a medley with "Wake Me Up" on the Tangled Up Tour. Sugababes performed "Walk This Way" without Girls Aloud on 2007's Overloaded: The Singles Tour.
Track listing and formats
These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Walk This Way".
- UK CD single (Polydor/Island / 1724331)
- "Walk This Way" - 2:52
- "Walk This Way" [Yoad Mix] - 3:01
- "Walk This Way" [video] - 3:07
- Behind the Scenes Footage [video] - 3:15
- UK Digital Copy (Polydor/Island / 1724332)
- "Walk This Way" - 2:52
- "Walk This Way" [Yoad Mix] - 3:01
Credits and personnel
- Engineer: Rick Shepherd, Graham Archer (assistant recording)
- Keyboards: Brian Higgins, Tim Powell
- Mixing: Jeremy Wheatley, Richard Edgeler (assistant)
- Production: Dallas Austin
- Vocals: Girls Aloud, Sugababes
|European Hot 100 Singles||8|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||1|