Aerosmith were written off by the pop pundits in the early '80s as a drug-ravaged bunch of Rolling Stones clones who would go down in music history as little more than a hard-rock footnote. The band, however, rose from the ashes to become an even mightier hit machine in the '90s, even if they ended up selling their soul to pop über-songstress Diane Warren in the bargain. This three-CD compilation is a marathon tour of their first glorious, casualty-ridden decade and a body of work that proudly wears its influences on its sleeve: Chicago and Delta blues, early R&B, the Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, and, of course, the Stones. Virtually all the early hits and concert crowd pleasers are here, along with nearly two dozen rare, unreleased, and live cuts, thoroughly documented with refreshing doses of self-deprecation as it bravely traces the band's arc from Boston bar-band supreme to stadium superstars to seeming dissipation. If there's a gaping hole in the "A" section of your hard-rock library, this is a fine introduction to the Aerosmith that influenced a generation of musicians, stretching from Van Halen to R.E.M. to Guns N' Roses. --Jerry McCulley
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Now THIS is how a box set should be done.
Robert Bykowski | New Berlin, WI USA | 02/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unreleased live tracks, rarities, well-known favorites and not-so-well-known album tracks...this is how a box set SHOULD be done! Why can't all artists put it together this way ? With a set like this chronicling the best hard-rock band in America, the only album you need besides this from Aerosmith's golden period of 1973-79 is the superb 'Rocks' album and, perhaps, 'Live Bootleg'. This box set really takes care of all the rest - that's how well done it is. Trust me, all your favorites are here and the stuff you haven't heard before is revealing and fantastic."