We were surprised at the lack of voting Aerosmith received in our 100 best rock albums of the 1970s list that was fueled by fan voting. This top 10 Aerosmith albums list is a response to that voting. Aerosmith has always been one of our favorite bands since we first heard the great single “Walk This Way,” back in 1975. That single turned people on to the band immediately creating a rush to the record stores to purchase the Toys In The Attic album. With the success of the Toys In The Attic record, fans became interested in acquiring the band’s previous albums. A reissue of the single “Dream On,” from their first album became a big hit fueling even more interest in the band’s entire catalog and catapulting the band into superstardom.
Aerosmith’s first album was released in 1973 entitled Aerosmith. The band followed up that album a year later in 1974 with the album Get Your Wings. In 1975 they released their breakout album Toys in the Attic. The band followed up that smash record with Rocks in 1976. It was an album that many feel was even stronger than Toys in the Attic. The band ended the decade of the 1970s with two more albums entitled Draw the Line in 1977 and Night in the Ruts in 1979.
A series of personal issues within the band resulted in a couple of albums that did not do well commercially in the early 1980s. We won’t get into all the personal issues here as this is not the place for that. Aerosmith’s early 1980s albums were entitled Rock in a Hard Place released in 1982 and Done with Mirrors in 1985.
The band’s future was in doubt in the mid-1980s. Drug abuse and inner band turmoil had taken their toll. The band was actually playing in nightclubs in early 1980. We recommend reading the book Babysitting a Band on the Rocks for a fascinating look at what went on during those days. The band’s fortunes changed unexpectedly when Steven Tyler and Joe Perry made a guest appearance on Run DMC’s version of “Walk This Way.” Run DMC was the biggest rap band in the business at a time when rap music was just starting to reach a mass audience. The video went viral on MTV which seemed to spark an opportunity for a major Aerosmith comeback.
Aerosmith’s comeback began with the release of the album Permanent Vacation in 1987. The album staged the second great period of commercial success for the band with a series of three albums that featured major hits singles that topped the charts and earned Grammy Awards. These three records included 1987’s Permanent Vacation,1989’s Pump and 1993’s Get a Grip Many older fans of the band were not happy with the use of outside writers on these three albums. The sound was far more commercial and ballad-heavy then their 1970s albums. Nonetheless, there was no denying the commercial success of the albums and the band sounded great.
Aerosmith closed out their catalog of studio albums released in the 20th century with the album Nine Lives in 1997. The first twenty years of the 21st century has seen the release of only two new Aerosmith studio albums entitled Just Push Play in 2001 and Music from Another Dimension! in 2012. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the 21st century Aerosmith was the release if the album Honkin’ on Bobo in 2004. It was an album of blues covers that Aerosmith rocked hard on signifying a return to their 1970s sound. The album also contained one new Aerosmith song called “The Grind.”
Our Top 10 Aerosmith Albums list is a completely subjective list of our favorite Aerosmith albums. It’s a list wrapped in a short discography meant to showcase the Aerosmith’s album’s history to those unfamiliar with it. The same goes for the album picks. We all have our opinions we would love to hears yours. Just be nice.
# 10 – Honkin’ on Bobo
We open up our top 10 Aerosmith albums list with this great album of blues covers. Aerosmith plays so hard on this album that it will knock off your rock and roll shoes. This was a welcome return to the old Aerosmith dirty sound from the 1970s that we all fell in love with. Standout tracks included The Rolling Stones’ cover “You Gotta Move,” Aretha Franklin’s “Never Loved a Girl” and the great Bo Diddley’s cover of “Road Runner.”
# 9 – Night In The Ruts
Aerosmith’s Night in the Ruts was released in 1979. The album proved to be a difficult record for Aerosmith to complete because of all the turmoil that was going on at the time. Nonetheless, over time the record has grown in stature as a great Aerosmith album. Standout tracks include the single release of the The Shangri-Las cover “Remember (Walking in the Sand),” The Yardbirds cover “Think About It” and the great originals “No Surprize” “Cheese Cake,” and “Mia.”
# 8 – Permanent Vacation
Permanent Vacation was the Aerosmith album that announced to the world that Aerosmith was back. Thanks to legendary songwriters Jim Vallance, Holly Knight, and Desmond Child, Aerosmith released an album loaded with hits that were embraced by a good portion of their old audience and an entirely new one. The big hits on Permanent Vacation included “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” and “Rag Doll.” Also included a great cover version of The Beatles’ “I’m Down.”
# 7 – Get A Grip
Aerosmith’s album Get a Grip was the third release of the big three selling albums released in the late 80s and early 90s on Geffen Records. By the time Aerosmith released the album Get a Grip in the early 1990s, the hit-making machine fueled by outside songwriters was in full gear. Seven singles were released from the Get a Grip album.
# 6 – Pump
Out of the three albums released on Geffen Records in the late 80s and early 90s Pump was the strongest of them all. Released in 1987, the Aerosmith album Pump was filled with great songs making everyone happy from old fans to new. This was a great Aerosmith album. Standout tracks included the huge hit singles “Love in an Elevator” and “Janie’s Got a Gun.”
# 5 – Draw The Line
I could listen to the album’s opening and title track “Draw The Line,” over and over again without ever getting sick of it.“Draw The Line,” featured one of the greatest bass lines in rock and roll history. Aerosmith’s great rock and roll record Draw the Line was released in 1977. Fans were a bit disappointed with the album when it was released in 1977. Looking back, Aerosmith had just released Toys in the Attic and Rocks. Two amazing rock and roll records that were in reality, pretty tough to follow up. If one just lets Draw the Line stand on its own, some would recognize how great this record is. If you still have your doubts put on “Milk Cow Blues,” turn it up really loud, and then get back to us.
# 4 – Get Your Wings
Continuing with our top 10 Aerosmith albums list we turn to the great Aerosmith album entitled Get Your Wings. It actually became interesting to us that our top four favorite Aerosmith albums were actually the band’s first four albums ever released. Aerosmith’s Get Your Wings was their fourth album release issued in 1974. Get Your Wings stands as one of the greatest Aerosmith albums ever released. It contained one of their most loved songs in their catalog with the great cover version of The Yardbird’s stylized “Train Kept A-Rollin'” The song was originally written by Tiny Bradshaw, Howard Kay, and Lois Mann.
# 3 – Aerosmith
Coming in at number three on this Top 10 Aerosmith albums list is Aerosmith’s debut album simply titled Aerosmith. The album was released in 1973. It’s a bare-as-bones album which in essence is what so many people loved about early Aerosmith. The album was not originally successful but became a big hit along with the song “Dream On,” in 1976 after the success of Toys in the Attic. I will be listening to the great songs “Mama Kin, “Make It,” Somebody and “Dream On,” for the rest of my life with as much joy as I did in the 1970s.
# 2 – Toys In The Attic
Most top 10 Aerosmith albums lists have Toys in the Attic rated number one. And they rate it number one for good reason. This was the album that put Aerosmith on the map forever. It contained the incredible legendary songs “Sweet Emotion,” and “Walk This Way.” If you think it should be rated number one we won’t argue with you. We just happened to like one other Aerosmith album a little bit better.
# 1 – Rocks
Aerosmith’s great album Rocks comes in at the number one spot on our top 10 Aerosmith albums list. It has always been our favorite Aerosmith album simply because we believe its the most even record they ever released. Every song on the album is great. The band was really cooking on this one. Nine killer Aerosmith originals. No cover songs, no filler, just great rock and roll defined by a group of incredible musicians at their musical peak.
Updated May 27, 2023
Top 10 Aerosmith Albums article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Album Cover Photos are affiliate links and the property of Amazon and are stored on the Amazon server. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites.