I’m Walkin’ This Way

Run-D.M.C.’s Walk This Way was a gateway to an explosion of commercial success…for Aerosmith.

The Boston-based group Aerosmith had a hit with the song Walk This Way in the winter of 1976-1977 getting to #10 on the charts.

Then the rap trio from Queens, NYC, Run-D.M.C., covered Walk This Way, significantly including Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler on vocals and Joe Perry on guitar. That version got to #4 in 1986 on the pop charts and #8 on the black charts.

What I loved about the latter version is probably anathema to librarian types. I HATE categories in music. I find it at least as divisive as I find it informative. It seems to create the mindset of “I don’t like THAT kind of music,” when I believe there is a basic commonality of music that defies boundaries.

After the latter version hit, Run-D.M.C. continued to have success on the black or R&B charts and even had some minor hits on the pop charts.

After having only two Top 20 hits, the other being the longer version of Dream On (#6 in 1976), and not even a Top 100 on the US pop charts since 1979’s “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” which only got to #67, Aerosmith exploded commercially in the late 1980s, including “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” (#14 in 1987); “Angel” (#3 in 1988), “Rag Doll” (#17 in 1988); “Love in an Elevator” (#5 in 1989), “Janie’s Got a Gun” (#4 in 1989); then more hits into the 1990s.
Incidentally, the name of the charts of music generally associated with African-Americans has changed several times, from rhythm & blues (or R&B) to soul to black, back to R&B to R&B/hip-hop. At least they stopped using the term “race records” back in the 1940s.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

2 thoughts on “I’m Walkin’ This Way”

  1. Now you’ve got me surfing You Tube! Listening to Love in an Elevator now.

    I have to admit, there are musical genres which I will tell you I don’t like, however, there are always exceptions! I’ll tell you I don’t like reggae, don’t like rap, don’t like trad jazz .. but I can probably think of several exceptions to each of those. What it comes down to is ‘do I like what’s coming in my ears?’. Some genres are less likely to find favour, and that’s a fact, but if I hear something which sounds good, it’ll go on my iPod whatever it’s called.

  2. Roger, I’m glad someone else has this pet peeve. And yes, it started with “race records” (my mom and dad used to play them at jazz parties when the musicians all started drinking… Redd Foxx and Pearl Bailey, etc.). To have to look for Stevie Wonder in the R&B section when he’s clearly pop, as though pop singers have to be white… it’s disgusting.

    I also agree, the teaming of Tyler and Perry with Run/DMC was inspired. So much better than, oh, David Bowie and Bing Crosby (gag me)!!! Thanks for another great music post, Roger. Amy

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