This song is about a promiscuous cheerleader who leads a schoolboy through his first sexual experience. It's an extremely sexual song that played perfectly to Aerosmith's young male fanbase while being ambiguous enough to get airplay. Lead singer Steven Tyler, who wrote the lyrics, said, "'Walk This Way' came out all at once. If you listen to the words, they're all really filthy. If you listen closely you'll hear that I disguised it quite cleverly." (Here's that full interview with Steven Tyler.)
"Walk This Way" is the title of Aerosmith's 1999 autobiography. In the book, Steven Tyler deconstructs the lyrics to this song. Here's the breakdown:
"Backstroke Lover" is our hero masturbating. His father catches him, and explains that he will someday experience the real thing. One day, he encounters the cheerleader along with "her sister and her cousin," and has a glorious sexual experience (Tyler cops to fantasies about two women at once, which is where this came from).
The "walk this way" line is the experienced girl showing the young man where to put his finger - showing him how to walk. Inspiration came from make-out parties where this kind of thing could happen.
Tyler points out that while the lyrics are sexually charged, it is the girl who is in control.
Aerosmith wasn't well known when this came out, and the song didn't chart when it was first released in September 1975. A year later, after their album Rocks took off, the single was reissued and became a hit. They re-released "Dream On" the next year.
Joe Perry came up with the guitar riff for this song and the band developed the track, but four days later (an eternity in their recording schedule at the time) Steven Tyler still didn't have any words for the song. With no lyrics forthcoming, they considered dumping the track, but inspiration struck when the band (minus Tyler and Perry) took a break and went for a walk around New York City, where they were recording.
The movie Young Frankenstein was playing in Times Square, so they went to see it. The film is a comedy starring Gene Wilder, and there is a famous scene in the movie where Igor (Marty Feldman) tells Dr. Frankenstein to "Walk This Way," meaning to follow him. Dr. Frankenstein imitates Igor's walk, which the band thought was hilarious. When they saw Tyler the next day, they informed him that the title of the song would be "Walk This Way."
Tyler, however, tells a different story regarding the inspiration for the title. He told our writer Bruce Pollock: "The song titleevolved from watching The Three Stooges on TV. They walked this way and that."
When Steven Tyler finally came up with lyrics for this song, he entered the studio to record it and realized he left the lyrics in the cab. His incredulous bandmates thought he was just stalling, and they got in another of their many fights. Tyler walked to the stairwell, let out a primal scream, and wrote new lyrics on the wall, since he forgot to bring paper with him. The original lyrics he left in the cab were never recovered.
In our interview with Joe Perry, he explained that he came up with the famous guitar riff at a soundcheck in Hawaii. It was inspired by the New Orleans funk band The Meters, and it all came together when drummer Joey Kramer, joined in. Said Perry: "I just kind of let go and this riff started coming out of the left hand and the right hand, and then it needed a bridge, and I just kind of danced around on the fretboard a little bit, and before I knew it, I had the guts of the song. It had that kind of funk thing to it."
Joe Perry used a talkbox during the chorus. This was the first time the device was used on a hit song. The talkbox allows a guitarist to make strange vocal sounds by "talking" into a vinyl tube attached to the unit, which is hooked up to the output of the guitar amp. Perry also used a talkbox on "Sweet Emotion."
This became one of the first mainstream rap hits when it was covered by Run-D.M.C. in 1986. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry performed this with the rap trio, and it became Run-D.M.C.'s first hit, going to US #4. This collaboration led to many more among prominent rappers and rock musicians, including "Bring The Noise" by Public Enemy and Anthrax, and "Encore" by Jay-Z and Linkin Park.
DJs often ripped the labels off their records so no one would know what beats they were using when they performed. Jam Master Jay got one of these records from another DJ, which turned out to be an Aerosmith album. He was working on sampling the opening break when producer Rick Rubin heard it and explained it was a famous rock song. This gave Rubin the idea to have Run-D.M.C. cover the song. The band didn't like the idea of rapping Aerosmith's lyrics, with DMC explaining in Rolling Stone (October 15, 2009), "We said, this is hillbilly gibberish, this is bulls--t." With some help from Run's brother Russell Simmons, Rubin convinced them to do it. He grew up in the suburbs listening to groups like Aerosmith, and knew it would be a great way for the group to crossover to a white audience.
The Run-D.M.C. video is the first that Tyler and Perry appeared in. It was the first time many young Aerosmith fans saw what they looked like. Aerosmith would use MTV to expand their audience for the rest of their career, making videos for most of their singles, starting with "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" in 1988, which won two MTV Video Music Awards.
The first video Aerosmith made was for their 1982 song "Lightning Strikes," but MTV passed on that one (here it is on YouTube). Joe Perry had left the band at that point.
The Run-D.M.C. cover launched Aerosmith's comeback. They were in drug rehab when it came out, but sobered up and released Permanent Vacation in 1987, which gave them a string of hits, their first since "Come Together" in 1978. The collaboration also boosted the band's profile in Europe, where Run-D.M.C. was huge.
This was used in an early episode of The Simpsons where the band performed the song at Moe's Tavern and let Moe sing along. Aerosmith was one of the first musical guest stars on the show; the episode aired November 21, 1991 and was called "Flaming Moe."
The city of Boston used this in a 1999 publicity campaign to cut back on jaywalking. They used it in commercials encouraging people to use crosswalks.
'N Sync, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly all sang on this with Aerosmith at the 2001 Super Bowl halftime show. The lines "I met a cheerleader, was a real young bleeder" and "You ain't seen nothin' til you're down on a muffin" seemed a little more interesting with Britney Spears performing.
On the "Rock and Roller Coaster" at Disney's MGM Studios, a virtual Aerosmith gives an introduction before you get on, Aerosmith songs play throughout the ride. When the ride opened, this was the only song that played, which may have instilled a deep hatred of the song among the Disney employees working the roller coaster. This ride is highly recommended by the Songfacts staff.
The then two leading British female pop bands Girls Aloud and Sugababes produced a cover version of this for the official single for the 2007 Comic Relief fundraiser. Their rendition reached #1 in the UK but the following year was voted runner-up in a poll by Total Guitar magazine to find out the worst cover of all time. Celine Dion's version of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" came top of the list.
Steven Tyler told Rolling Stone magazine, April 15, 2004: "The Yardbirds' music is a gold mine waiting to be stumbled upon. Aerosmith did, because we grew up in that era. The riff in 'Walk This Way' is just us trying to explore the blues in the Yardbirds model."
WALK THIS WAY
RUN DMC & AEROSMITH
WALK THIS WAY
Written by Steven Tyler & Joe Perry 1975
Recorded in New York City at Record Plant Studios, January / February 1975 Released August 1975 (Original)
Backstroke lover always hidin' 'neath the cover'Till I talked to my daddy he sayHe said, you ain't seen noting'Till you're down on a Muffin
Then you're sure to be a-changin' your ways
I met a cheerleader, was a real young bleederAll the times I can reminisce
Ah the best thing lovin' with her sister and her cousinStarted with a little kiss, like this
See-saw swingin' with the boys in the schoolWith your feet flyin' up in the air
Singin' hey diddle-diddle with the Kitty (Vagina) in the middleYou be swingin' like you just didn't care
So I took a big chance at the high school danceWith a missy who was ready to playWas it me she was foolin'?
'Cause she knew what she was doin'Taught me how to walk this way
HELL YEAH !!! This Says it ALL About the #ShittyMUSIC They (Shitty HIP HOP RAP and So-Called ALTERNATIVE-ROCK Artist) Make These Days, NOTHING But a Bunch of #CRAP , You Can't Even Call It MUSIC , It's CRAP !!! And it's Oh So Sad that Nobody Makes Good Music any More .. I Just Don't Get It? WHAT The HELL HAPPENED ??? It's Really Unbelievable !!!
THANK GOD For FRANK #SINATRA and all His Wonderful Recordings and All The other Great MUSICAL ARTIST of The 50s 60s 70s and Even into the 80s ... Thanks to them we don't have to LISTON to THE #SHIT They Call MUSIC in The 21st CENTURY , the WORST CENTURY FOR Music in Over 4,000 years. BASTA !!!
FRANK GOT IT RIGHT !
LISTEN to SINATRA
60s & 70s R&B ROCK and POP MUSIC
JUST DON'T LISTEN to SHIT CRAP RAP
and GARBAGE LIKE KANYE WEST His MUSIC SUCKS !!! or CRAPPY ARTIST LIKE TAYLOR SWIFT and JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
ALL a BUNCH OF GARBAGE !!! These People Couldn't SHINE FRANK'S SHOES !!!
DON'T LISTEN To THIS GUYS SHIT !!!
OR HER MEDIOCRE STUFF
She May Be PRETTY "But Her So-Called MUSIC SUCKS"
The ONLY REASON Her and That A-HOLE KANYE are So POPULAR
and Making MILLIONS of DOLLARS
Is BECAUSE So MANY MILLIONS of PEOPLE Have Such SHITTY Tatste in MUSIC
No TASTE What-So-Ever
People Like JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE , KATY PERRY , KANYE WEST , TAYLOR SWIFT and 99.9% of current day Musicians WOULD NOT HAVE MADE a DIME if They were Around in The 1960s and 70s .. They Don't Have the TALENT ... SO SAD What People Accept These Days.
THANK GOD For The GREAT R&B , POP, and ROCK Artists of The 50s 60s and 70s and
GREAT Entertainers like DEAN MARTIN , NAT KING COLE, DEAN MARTIN and Others, we can Listen to THEIR GREAT RECORDINGS and NOT THE CURRENT CROP of CRAP Today.
What can I say about Sade and her music. Well, for one, Sade and her music completely captivated me, back in the 80s when I was a young guy in my late 20s, Full of Life Love & Passion I was, and Sade beautiful Sultry Music really struck a chord with me. Her music put into words all the Love Passion and Romantic feelings I had for woman and being in relationships with them. She had her own style, her music was absolutely gorgeous, and like her song Smooth Operator, her music was so smooth, and Sade and her music was Super Cool. And like me at the time, I thought of myself as a Super Cool guy, fashionable, educated, well traveled, a Renaissance Man, and Man of The World, and Sade and her Cool Smooth Sultry Sounds fit me like a tee, and I just loved her. I Loved her style her music, her grace. The lyrics of her music were romantic, meaningful, passionate, and sincere, and I loved it. ANd I had a Crush on Sade too.
Dam I listened to that music, like it was going out of style, I listened to it a lot, for a long time too. And you know, as much as I loved her music and was so into it, it suprised me when I realized recently that I don't listen to it as much any more. I still love it, but I must admit that I'm not so crazy about it as I once was. Not that the music isn't wonderful, or that I don't think it is anymore, no the music is just as great and beautiful as it ever was, and Sade's music can blow away any of and everything, all the crappy music they make today. Not even close. There is no one out there today who could ever dream of touching Sade. Taylor Swift? She SUCKS !!! As does Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, stupid Justin Timberlake and all the other SHITTY MUSICAL artist out there today, "They All SUCK," Big Time. It's so Sad! What the Hell Happened? WHAT THE FUCK? I just don't get it. Why doesn't anyone at all make any good music any more? WHY?
Anyway, Thank God for Great Musical Artist like the Great Sade Adu, who created quite a Good Body of the most beautiful, original music imaginable.
Wow, I went off on a tangent, as I usually do when I think of The SHITTY MUSIC They make in the 21st Century, I just don't get it?
Anyway, back to loving Sade 's awesome music, today and back in the day, in the 1980's when Sade was making all her wonderful tunes. Yes, I was a young man in my 20s, everything is more intense when you're young, especially when it comes to Love and Passion and relationships with the opposite sex, in my case females. Sade channeled all my Romantic Passion for women and love that I had back then, and boy let me tell you, it was strong. Things just aren't the same when you get into you 50s ..
There is not one artist out here of all the SHITTY MUSICAL Artists of The 21st CENTURY that could make anything near to this Wonderful Music that the Great SADE made in the 1980s. They Just Don't Make any good music at all any more. "WHAT THE FUCK?" I Don't Get It ! Whay the Hell Not? Cause all the so-called musicians of the present day all SUCK, No Talent what so-ever. There's no melody, no structure, and Shitty Lyrics. Thank God we have all the GREAT MUSIC of The 60s 70s & 80s and we can buy records from the past. I still have all my great Vinyl Albums, including SADE, The BEATLES, The ROLLING STONES, all the Great R&B artists and their Records, ROCK, and POP MUSIC of the 60s and 70s. I Love it.