The 20 Aerosmith Ballads That Will Make You Cry
via Aerosmith / Youtube
Aerosmith is good at making powerful, emotional songs. In the late ’80s, they became famous for their sentimental songs like “Angel” from their album Permanent Vacation in 1987. They kept releasing heartfelt love songs in the following decade, including big hits like “What It Takes,” “Cryin’,” and their biggest hit, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
But Aerosmith has been making emotional ballads since their first album in 1973, especially the iconic song “Dream On.” In the ’70s, almost every album they released had at least one heartfelt track.
Even though Aerosmith’s ballads from the ’70s were different from their more polished and MTV-friendly songs in the ’80s and ’90s, they’ve consistently produced exceptional songs throughout their career. Check out the Top 20 Aerosmith Ballads below.
20. Just Push Play (2001) – “Avant Garden”
“Avant Garden” stands out among Aerosmith’s album Just Push Play. Unlike other sentimental tracks like “Fly Away From Here” and “Luv Lies,” it embraces a pleasant and psychedelic pop-rock style. Steven Tyler’s vocals convey genuine longing, particularly in the pained bridge. If the song were a bit shorter, it would be even more highly regarded.
19. Music From Another Dimension! (2012) – “Closer”
Music From Another Dimension! is filled with a lot of slow songs that can be divided into two types: grand performances like “Can’t Stop Loving You” featuring Carrie Underwood, and quieter, sadder songs like “Closer.” Tyler sings about a difficult love story with a sense of sadness and exhaustion, accompanied by gentle guitar melodies and emotional solos. The song combines the raw energy of Aerosmith’s earlier years with the pop sound they pursued in their later career.
18. O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits (2002) – “Lay It Down”
Aerosmith collaborated with producer and singer DeVante Swing from Jodeci for “Lay It Down,” a new song on the O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits album. The song has a beautiful piano melody and Tyler’s impressive vocals. While it’s similar to their previous album, Just Push Play, the production is more restrained and has an excellent bridge that makes it worthy of recognition.
17. Music From Another Dimension! (2012) – “Tell Me”
Bassist Tom Hamilton wrote lyrics for the first time and brought Aerosmith back to their rock roots of the 1960s in the nostalgic song “Tell Me.” Tyler’s voice has a slightly deep quality, but he still captures his powerful stadium-rock style in the uplifting choruses and delivers his trademark high-pitched scream with enthusiasm.
In a Rolling Stone interview, Tyler commented on the release of the song:
“I don’t know how [Hamilton] can put being not in love in such eloquent terms – we can argue about that later. It’s just genius.”
16. The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience (1993) – “Deuces Are Wild”
Aerosmith reached their peak with their catchy and powerful ballads on the album Get a Grip. In late 1993, they released the song “Deuces Are Wild” on The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience compilation, impressing fans with their energetic performance. The song features high-soaring choruses, a bluesy harmonica solo, and Joe Perry’s skillful slide guitar, keeping it firmly in the realm of hard rock. As Butt-Head rightly declares at the end of the song, “These guys are the kings of rock. There is none higher.”
15. Music From Another Dimension! (2012) – “Another Last Goodbye”
“Another Last Goodbye,” the closing track on the album Music From Another Dimension!, stands out as the most creative and passionate among numerous ballads. The combination of a heartfelt piano and string arrangement brings to mind the classic sound of the mid-1970s song “You See Me Crying,” while the beautiful vocal harmonies draw inspiration from the Beach Boys.
14. Get a Grip (1993) – “Amazing”
Tyler is fully recovering in the latest song from Get a Grip. He shares cliché advice about life being a journey, not a destination, and asks how far you can go even when you’re feeling broken. The band plays with passion, and Tyler’s singing is impressive. Perry’s intense guitar solo at the end adds a powerful touch to the song.
13. Permanent Vacation (1988) – “Angel”
Despite its predictable music style and lyrics, “Angel” has catchy and emotionally moving melodies and an impressive guitar solo by Perry. Its flashy music video, although cliché, ensured its success on MTV, and unsurprisingly, “Angel” reached the third position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming Aerosmith’s second most successful song after “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
12. Nine Lives (1997) – “Full Circle”
After facing many challenges in their personal and professional lives, Aerosmith, experienced musicians in the industry, took a four-year break before releasing Nine Lives. The song “Full Circle” marks a refreshing departure from their usual sad, slow songs, as it celebrates the importance of enjoying the present moment.
11. Nine Lives (1997) – “Hole in My Soul”
The main slow song from the album Nine Lives in 1997 was another teamwork effort by Tyler, Perry, and Child. It has big catchy parts and tells a story just like their previous hits. The guitar parts sound a bit like “Dream On,” but Tyler makes up for it with clever singing and smooth lyrics.
10. Night in the Ruts (1979) – “Mia”
Unlike Aerosmith’s big, catchy power ballads from the late ’80s and early ’90s, the final song “Mia” on Night in the Ruts is a subtly restrained track featuring mainly Tyler’s piano and vocals. Tyler wrote this song for his daughter, Mia, during a tumultuous time for the band due to drug issues. It’s a haunting and clear indication of their impending downfall. He said in Walk This Way:
“It was a lullaby I wrote on the piano for my daughter, but the tolling bell notes at the end of the song and the end of the album sounded more like the death knell of Aerosmith for people who knew what was going on.”
9. Armageddon: The Album (1998) – “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”
“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” was a turning point for Aerosmith, where they fully embraced pop music. Some fans were disappointed, as it seemed like a sellout move to achieve a No. 1 hit with a song written by Diane Warren for the Armageddon soundtrack.
Regardless of its context, the song is a remarkable pop success. Although Tyler didn’t write the lyrics, he sings them with deep emotion. This choice marked a deal with the devil for Aerosmith, as they spent the rest of their career chasing that same level of success.
8. Get a Grip (1993) – “Cryin”
“Cryin'” is the ultimate power ballad from Aerosmith’s comeback era. It’s a lively and catchy song that you can’t resist singing along to. The band starts strong and keeps the energy high throughout the entire five-minute song. There are impressive guitar and harmonica solos, accompanied by Tyler’s intense vocals. It also represents the pinnacle of Aerosmith’s pop-rock style and showcases all their hard work since their revival.
7. Get a Grip (1993) – “Crazy”
Most rock bands would be content with a hit song like “Cryin'” on their album. However, Aerosmith is not known for moderation. They took “Cryin'” and made some changes, adding more harmonicas and renaming it “Crazy.” This new version of the song has a slightly rougher feel, with bluesy guitar and impressive vocals from Tyler. Both tracks were popular in the early ’90s, showing the band’s talent and dominance.
6. Nine Lives (1997) – “Ain’t That a Bitch”
Nine Lives, although not as successful as its previous albums, has incredibly powerful performances. Particularly, the song “Ain’t That a Bitch” stands out with its strong and emotional verses contrasting with its grand and impactful choruses. Tyler’s impressive screams would make even younger singers feel embarrassed. The outro jam showcases Tyler’s exceptional scat-singing skills, which are unlike anything Aerosmith has ever done before.
5. Toys in the Attic (1975) – “You See Me Crying”
When Tyler plays the piano, something amazing occurs. “You See Me Crying” concludes the successful album Toys in the Attic with a grand and emotional style. It features a full orchestra and an impressive guitar solo by Brad Whitford. The song is incredibly good, and Tyler, who was struggling with drug addiction at the time, liked it so much that he proposed the band to cover it, to which Perry replied:
“It’s us, fuckhead.”
4. Pump (1989) – “What It Takes”
Many fans think of Aerosmith’s comeback period as the time when they released many popular slow songs. However, in their album Pump, which came after the band members went to rehab, there is only one slow song, and it’s one of their most captivating.
“What It Takes” has a heartfelt and gentle sound with elements of country music. Bassist Hamilton described it as a ballad that is not overly sentimental but instead carries genuine emotions and beautiful chord progressions.
3. Get Your Wings (1974) – “Seasons of Wither”
Aerosmith’s second album showed a significant improvement in songwriting compared to their first album. The standout example of this change is the haunting song “Seasons of Wither.” Tyler described how he got inspired by the sound of the wind in the trees during a lonely morning. He then went to the basement, took some sedatives, grabbed a guitar given to him by Joey Kramer, and wrote the song while burning incense. Even Perry, who usually doesn’t like ballads, considers it his favorite song by Aerosmith.
2. Rocks (1976) – “Home Tonight”
While “You See Me Crying” embraced a grand orchestral sound, “Home Tonight” is a remarkable masterpiece that relies on Tyler’s exceptional piano skills and powerful, emotive guitars. Tyler’s vocals express a deep longing, and the simple yet evocative lyrics create a sense of longing and nostalgia that resonates with listeners, even if they haven’t experienced those feelings personally.
1. Aerosmith (1973) – “Dream On”
“Dream On,” the song that launched Aerosmith’s career and still stands as their greatest achievement and an iconic classic rock hit. Written by a young Tyler with an intense longing for fame, every part of the band’s performance is perfect, especially Tyler’s unforgettable scream. Without a doubt, “Dream On” continues to be a timeless anthem for anyone who has dared to dream big.