Guitarist Joe Perry initially had doubts about Aerosmith's 'Dream On'

Aerosmith's guitarist had mixed feelings about on eof Aerosmith's most famous songs, and it's for a simple reason.
Aerosmith "Peace Out: The Farewell Tour" - New York
Aerosmith "Peace Out: The Farewell Tour" - New York / Kevin Mazur/GettyImages

Aerosmith's monumental breakthrough wasn't "Walk This Way" or "Sweet Emotion," but "Dream On." The song has solidified its place as one of the band's iconic tracks, yet guitarist Joe Perry's initial reservations about the song are an intriguing footnote in the band's history.

It's detailed in his memoir Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith, which famed guitarist Slash said is "An insightful and harrowing roller coaster ride through the career of one of rock and roll’s greatest guitarists..."

Perry candidly reveals his lukewarm feelings toward the Steven Tyler-penned ballad during its inception. Though Perry and Tyler might be imagined as creative "blood brothers," the song wasn't Perry's fave, and probably still isn't. Contrary to the song's eventual acclaim, Perry admits to finding it lacking in excitement due to its slower tempo, a departure from the energetic rock he preferred. Instead, it's a song that, in its own way, redefined what rock music can be.

Despite his skepticism, the band meticulously crafted the song's arrangement until it became a standout feature of their live performances, seamlessly integrating into their debut album. It's also at least a fairly origonal-sounding song (it's unlikely to be accused of ripping anything off in the same way The Beach Boys' "Surfin' USA" borrows generously from Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen"). Upon its release as a single in 1973,"Dream On" initially made modest waves, peaking at No. 59 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Dream On" adds something to Aerosmith's legacy

Perry, while acknowledging the song's success, remained somewhat conflicted, feeling it didn't fully encapsulate the band's hard-rock persona. However, the song's re-release in late 1975 propelled it to newfound heights, reaching No. 6 on the charts and catapulting Aerosmith into the rock stratosphere, and demonstrated the band's range. They could write songs like "Dream On" and “Walk This Way," which likely broadened their appeal with a song appreciated even by some people who aren't fans of the band overall.

Despite Perry's initial reservations, "Dream On" garnered widespread acclaim, earning induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2018 and achieving a remarkable milestone of over 1 billion streams on Spotify by December 2023.

Looking ahead, Aerosmith is gearing up for the next leg of their Peace Out Farewell Tour, following postponements due to Tyler's vocal issues. The tour is set to recommence on September 20 in Pittsburgh, with dates scheduled through February 26, 2025, in Buffalo, New York. Fans eager to catch the legendary band in action can secure tickets through various outlets, including StubHub.