May 1976: Aerosmith Releases "Last Child"

WASHINGTON DC, USA - 30th MAY: lead singer Steven Tyler of Aerosmith performs live on stage at RFK Stadium in Washington DC, USA on 30th May 1976. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
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(Fin Costello/Redferns)

In May 1976, Aerosmith followed the band's breakout album, Toys in the Attic, with Rocks. Packed with hits, the Brad Whitford-penned "Last Child" was the first track to be spun off from the album. The single was released on May 27, 1976, and was a simmering hit. Racking up countless spins on rock radio across the country, "Last Child" peaked at #21 on the Hot 100 for the week of August 7, 1976. The #1 song in America that week: Elton John and Kiki Dee's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart."

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"After rehearsal one day, I played this riff and Steven yells, 'I love it!' and stared playing drums," Whitford explained of the song's conception in Aerosmith biography, Walk This Way. "He plays very different from Joey (Kramer) with a more jazzy approach, fun to work with. Joe (Perry) threw in a couple of chord changes, a D chord to an A, and then spiced up the chord a little."

For years, rumors abound regarding the blistering guitar solo in "Last Child." While many believed that it was played by Joe Perry or a studio musician, Whitford revealed on VH1's That Metal Show that he wrote and recorded the solo himself.

According to Joe Perry in his autobiography, the album Rocks "was to reidentify us as America's ultimate garage band, with blistering guitars, blistering vocals, balls-to-the-wall smash-your-eardrums production ... The cover showed five diamonds, one for each of us. We saw that record as a jewel, the culmination of all our angst and anger and excitement and joy as go-for-broke rock and rollers."

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