Our top 10 Joe Perry songs list digs deep into the music of one of the most revered American guitarists known for his killer guitar riffs. Born in 1950, Joe Perry rose to icon status in the world of rock and roll as a founding member of the successful rock band Aerosmith. Amongst artists that inspired Joe Perry to take sharpen his guitar skills in his teenage years include Jimi Hendrix, The Yardbirds, Johnny Winter, Jeff Beck, former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green, and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. Joe Perry grew to become one of the most influential guitarists in the rock and roll scene.
Without a doubt, Joe Perry’s most definitive guitar skills are best exhibited during his membership at Aerosmith. However, this article finds us digging even deeper into the best Joe Perry songs from his solo projects. His solo projects never got as much attention as his band Aerosmith. Nevertheless, this serves as enough proof of Joe Perry’s adroitness and musicianship beyond his membership at Aerosmith.
Joe Perry’s Solo Projects/Solo Career Beginnings
Aerosmith’s career in the ‘70s was painted by nothing short of success. With each release, the band reached new heights, with a massive increase in both mainstream and commercial success. The band headlined several world tours for other notable artists including AC/DC, Van Halen, Foreigner, and Ted Nugent, to name a few. Unfortunately, things started getting thick owing to personal differences between the band members. By the time Aerosmith issued its 1979 sixth studio album Night in the Ruts, tension among the band members was very high.
Adding to the personal differences was drug abuse, creative delays, and a looming financial quagmire, all of which weakened the band’s musical muscle at the time. Joe Perry was already having enough of the baggage of issues plaguing the band finding his way out of the band at the end of 1979. After his departure from Aerosmith, Joe Perry gathered up artists for his first solo project entitled The Joe Perry Project. Other artists who joined him on his project include former Savoy Brown vocalist Ralph Morman, drummer Ronnie Stewart, and bassist David Hull.
Joe Perry’s Album Releases over the Years
After successfully launching his solo project, Joe Perry teamed up with three of the other members in issuing the album, Let the Music Do the Talking. The album saw its members take on a blend of blues rock and hard rock sounds. Let the Music Do the Talking was a commercial success, selling over two hundred and fifty thousand copies in the US. Joining Joe Perry on the production was Jack Douglas, a record producer known for his successful work with Cheap Trick, John Lennon, and Aerosmith. Some of the best Joe Perry songs from the album include the album title track (re-recorded by Aerosmith in 1985 on Done With Mirrors), “Conflict of Interest,” “Rockin’ Train,” and “Discount Dogs.”
In 1981, The Joe Perry Project returned with its sophomore studio album, I’ve Got the Rock ‘n’ Rolls Again. Unlike the band’s debut album, I’ve Got the Rock ‘n’ Rolls Again saw The Joe Perry Project take on the hard rock sound primarily. While the album failed to match the commercial success of the band’s debut LP, it was a mainstream success reaching the hundredth spot on the Billboard 200. I’ve Got the Rock ‘n’ Rolls Again was produced by Bruce Botnick, a record producer revered for his successful work with Eddie Money, The Doors, and The Beach Boys. The album title track and “South Station Blues” are the top musical gems from the album.
The Joe Perry Project issued yet another hard rock album entitled Once a Rocker, Always a Rocker in 1983. Once a Rocker, Always a Rocker was issued through MCA Records with Joe Perry handling the production work. The album performed a little poorly compared to the previous two recordings. “Women in Chains” and a cover of the 1971 hit “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” by T. Rex are the best Joe Perry songs from the album. Joe Perry would eventually return to Aerosmith in early 1984. While there have been attempts to revive the band, this hasn’t been a success.
In 2005, Joe Perry went on to issue his eponymous studio album through Sony BMG. The album was an instant success, rising to position one hundred and ten on the Billboard 200. Joe Perry saw the guitarist venture into the hard rock sound with several instrumental rock hits including the Grammy Award-nominated instrumental hit “Mercy.” Other notable hits from the album include “Shakin’ My Cage,” “Talk Talkin’,” Can’t Compare,” and a cover of the 1967 hit “The Crystal Ship” by The Doors.
Joe Perry returned in 2009 with the album Have Guitar, Will Travel. The album was entirely a hard rock record. Have Guitar, Will Travel was scheduled to feature distinguished artists including Slash, Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, Jimmy Page, and Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots. However, this never happened with Joe Perry going against his initial wish. “Heaven and Hell” and a cover of the hit “Somebody’s Gonna Get (Their Head Kicked in Tonite)” by Earl Vince and the Valiants are the best Joe Perry songs from the album. Joe Perry’s 2014 release Joe Perry’s Merry Christmas and 2018 release Sweetzerland Manifesto barely achieved mainstream success.
Joe Perry’s Other Musical Pursuits, Accolades, and Legacy
Other than his solo projects and Aerosmith, Joe Perry is a member of Hollywood Vampires, a rock supergroup formed in 2012. Other notable members of Hollywood Vampires include Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen, and Johnny Depp. Joe Perry has earned four Grammy Awards courtesy of his input to Aerosmith and remains one of the most revered guitarists in rock and roll history.
#10 – Women in Chains
Ushering us to the ten best Joe Perry songs list is the wonderful hit “Women in Chains.” The song is among the top hits featured on The Joe Perry Project’s third studio album, Once a Rocker, Always a Rocker. “Women in Chains” has its lyrics alluding to how women are sometimes mistreated and not accorded the respect they deserve. This mid-tempo rocker brings the best out of Mach Bell’s vocals. Some critics have cited his vocals to be evocative of the early days of Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe.
#9 – Talk Talkin’
“Talk Talkin’” is one of the liveliest songs ever issued by Joe Perry. The song is enough proof of Joe Perry’s excellence in his 2005 eponymous album. “Talk Talkin’” is evocative of Joe’s early sound influences featuring amazing blues tunes. The song’s catchy hooks add to the catalog of reasons why it is among the fan-favorite tracks by Joe Perry.
We can’t forget to mention this song’s phenomenal guitar riffs which gives an extra reason to enlist “Talk Talkin’” as one of the best Joe Perry songs of all time. “Talk Talkin’” was featured on the music game Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.
#8 – South Station Blues
Coming in at the eighth spot of our ten best Joe Perry songs list is the phenomenal track “South Station Blues.” The song is featured on The Joe Perry Project’s sophomore studio album, I’ve Got the Rock ‘n’ Rolls Again. We cannot dispute Joe Perry’s impactful guitar skills on this hit.
However, the avid guitarist gives us more than great riffs on this hit. “South Station Blues” is among the few songs that feature the lead vocals of Joe Perry. While he might not have the most legendary vocals, his vocal delivery on this hit is just on point!
#7 – Quake ft. Gary Cherone
“Quake” is a surprise (yet worthwhile) feature on our ten best Joe Perry Songs list. Amazing is the fact that “Quake” was issued as a bonus track to Joe Perry’s 2018 studio album, Sweetzerland Manifesto. The song beat all odds to become one of the most sought-after hits by Joe Perry. In this song, Joe Perry teams up with vocalist Gary Cherone of the American rock outfit Extreme.
The song is tinged with blues rock elements giving it an elegant bluesy feel! Joe Perry issued a lyric video of “Quake” directed by his son Roman. “Quake” highlights Joe Perry’s ability to deliver killer riffs tinged with some bluesy feel. The song also gives a taste of Gary Cherone’s gutsy vocals evocative of his musicianship with fellow Extreme members.
#6 – Rockin’ Train
Number six on our top ten Joe Perry songs is the brilliant hit “Rockin’ Train.” The song is among the top musical gems off The Joe Perry Project’s debut studio album, Let the Music Do the Talking. “Rockin’ Train” possesses a boogie feel, not to forget its prodigious riffs and hooks, which makes the song quite alluring. Other up-tempo hits from the album that almost matches the same thrill oozed by “Rockin’ Train” include “Conflict of Interest” and “Discount Dogs,” songs worth checking out!
#5 – Man of Peace
In 2012, Joe Perry was among the artists invited to perform a song for the charity compilation album entitled Chimes of Freedom. The compilation album, issued in celebration of five decades of Amnesty International, featured songs originally issued by Bob Dylan. Some of the other artists who performed songs for this compilation album include My Chemical Romance, Maroon 5, Johnny Cash, Patti Smith, Pete Townshend, Rise Against, and Bettye LaVette, to name a few.
Joe Perry went on to perform the hit “Man of Peace,” a 1983 hit by Bob Dylan. His cover is quite amazing, especially owing to the fact that Joe Perry takes on both the lead vocals and guitar roles. The song has been among the most sought-after cover hits by Joe Perry.
#4 – Mercy
Joe Perry is a riff master with his skills proving to have been pivotal to the success of Aerosmith to a great extent. One of the songs that remains emblematic of Joe Perry’s great guitar skills is “Mercy,” an instrumental track off his 2005 eponymous studio album. The instrumental track remains one of the most played Joe Perry songs thanks to its raw exhibition of his adroitness on the guitar.
It is no surprise that the song earned him a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Rock Instrumental Performance Category in 2006. However, Joe Perry lost the award to “69 Freedom Special” by Les Paul & Friends. Other instrumental tracks that stood out that year include “Lotus Feet” by Steve Vai, “Beat Box Guitar” by Andrew Belew, and “Bird of Prey” by Stewart Copeland. “Mercy” was featured in the 2008 music game Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.
#3 – Shakin’ My Cage
Let’s take a short trip back to Joe Perry’s eponymous studio album, home to the third pick on our ten best Joe Perry songs “Shakin’ My Cage.” The song is by far the best release ever to ever feature Joe Perry on the lead vocals. However, his guitar skills almost overshadow his vocal delivery, which wouldn’t be a surprise owing to the fact that the guitar is his ‘first calling.’
The song was featured in the 2008 music rhythm video game entitled Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. Black Stone Cherry issued a song with the title “Shakin’ My Cage” on the album Kentucky, albeit unrelated to Joe Perry’s version.
#2 – I’ve Got the Rock ‘n’ Rolls Again
Amongst songs that stamped The Joe Perry Project’s sophomore outing a success is the hit “I’ve Got the Rock ‘n’ Rolls Again.” The song serves as the album title track to the band’s sophomore album. Like most of the songs on the album, “I’ve Got the Rock ‘n’ Rolls Again” proves to be a warm and impeccable recording. The song is a perfect exhibition of The Joe Perry Project’s solid musicianship.
Starting from the exquisite guitar riffs by Joe Perry, going to impressive bass tunes by David Hull, to ending with a magical vocal delivery by Charlie Farren and incredible drumming by Ronnie Stewart — “I’ve Got the Rock ‘n’ Rolls Again proved to be the most iconic hit of The Joe Perry Project’s sophomore outing.
#1 – Let the Music Do the Talking
Number one on our ten best Joe Perry songs list is the prodigious hit “Let the Music Do the Talking.” The song serves as the album title track to The Joe Perry Project’s debut album. “Let the Music Do the Talking” is among the illustrative hits of Joe Perry’s alluring songwriting skills. The song rose to become Joe Perry’s signature hit of his solo musical pursuits almost imminently after its release.
Joe Perry’s first stint at Aerosmith came to an end with the abrupt formation of his solo band. It is almost inconceivable how quickly Joe Perry managed to come up with this magical hit, evidenced by his straightforwardness in cranking out hit after hit. “Let the Music Do the Talking” was quite massive that Aerosmith recorded their version featuring it on the 1985 LP Done With Mirrors, which followed after Joe Perry’s return to the band’s lineup. Aerosmith’s version featured a slightly altered melody and some Steven Tyler-penned lyrics.
Top 10 Joe Perry Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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