When the members of Aerosmith convened to record third album, Toys in the Attic, they were like a brand new band. Relentless touring for their first two full-lengths had honed the group's creative edge to a razor-sharp point.
Our first two albums were basically comprised of songs we'd been playing for years live in the clubs. With Toys, we started from scratch,' Joe Perry said in his autobiography, Rocks: My Life in and Out of Aerosmith. "Making this record, we learned to be recording artists and write songs on a deadline. In the process, we began to see just what Aerosmith could accomplish. With everyone throwing in ideas, Toys was our breakthrough. That breakthrough was facilitated by Jack Douglas ... In the studio he moved into the slot of the sixth member of the band."
“He knew how to have authority, how to really tell us what he thought and get us to try to new stuff,” bassist Tom Hamilton added regarding their new producer's pivotal role to Classic Rock. “He challenged us to get better. At the same time, he had this insane sense of humour, so it was a really fun process. We’d take the raw ideas that Steven and Joe brought in and rehearse the living shit out of them. There was a lot of camaraderie and laughter.”
Released on April 8, 1975, Toys in the Attic would prove to be a commercial breakthrough as well. The album almost crack the top 10, peaking at #11 for the week of September 13, 1975. The #1 album in America that week: The Isley Brothers' The Heat is On. This would be a vast improvement over the band's second album, Get Your Wings, which only got as high as #74.
The first single from Toys in the Attic, "Sweet Emotion," would also be a chart breakthrough, crashing the top 40 to reach #36 on the Hot 100. The song would get an official music video in 1991 as part of the Aerosmith box set, Pandora's Box.
Second single "Walk This Way" would be the biggest breakout on the album, climbing all the way to #10 on the Hot 100.
The final single from Toys in the Attic would be and edited take on "You See Me Crying." The sweeping power ballad track was recorded with a full symphony orchestra, which impressed execs at the band's label. The song failed to chart.
“Toys In The Attic was where I knew we’d made it,” singer Steven Tyler stressed. “[With that title] I was the kid who put my initials in the rock ’cos I wanted the aliens to know I was there. It’s a statement of longevity; the record will be played long after you’re dead. Our records would be up there in the attic, too, with the things that you loved and never wanted to forget. And to me, Aerosmith was becoming that. I knew how The Beatles, The Animals and The Kinks did it – with lyrics and titles. I saw reason and rhyme in all the lunacy that we were concocting.”
In 1986, Toys in the Attic single "Walk This Way" would return in the form of the legendary RUN DMC collaboration. The song would simultaneously revive the band's career, and help hip-hop crash the mainstream.