As Aerosmith’s machine-gun mouthpiece, Steven Tyler has sung his share of double entendres – more than a few of which landed in this list of the Top 10 Steven Tyler Lyrics. Yes, Steven learned to talk this way from the old bluesmen and early rock ’n’ rollers, who knew it was more fun to toy with euphemisms for sex then to just blurt it out. For decades, Tyler’s been singing about rattlesnakes and keyholes and fax machines as stand-ins for what he’s really got on the brain. And, on occasion, he’s put his sex drive in park, just long enough to deliver an earnest observation about the world. Whether they’re crude, crafty or clever, here are the Aerosmith frontman’s top 10 lyrical lines:
"Walk This Way"From: ‘Toys in the Attic’ (1975)
“Singin' hey diddle-diddle with the kitty in the middle / You be swingin' like you just didn't care”
Steven’s rapid-fire rhymes on this song even tongue-tied Run-D.M.C., who altered some lyrics for their 1986 cover version. Almost any line in "Walk This Way" would be worthy of this Steven Tyler Lyrics list, but his use of a nursery rhyme gets extra credit – and makes you wonder what he might have been like as a kindergartener.
"Livin’ on the Edge"From: ‘Get a Grip’ (1993)
“If you can judge a wise man by the color of his skin / Then mister you’re a better man than I”
Aerosmith is hardly a political band, but the boys from Boston shared a little social conscience on the group’s apocalyptic 1993 hit. The soaring harmonies on the second part of this anti-racism line are a nice touch.
"Nine Lives"From: ‘Nine Lives’ (1997)
“And then at times I’m so weak from lovin’ / I couldn't even carry a tune”
Rimshot! If this whole rock ’n’ roll singer thing hadn’t panned out for Steven, he might have had a career as a Catskills comic.
"Let the Music Do the Talking"From: ‘Done With Mirrors’ (1985)
“They say one time around is all you get / But I'm still dancin’ so you lost your bet”
The leadoff track from Aerosmith’s reunion album was first heard on the Joe Perry Project’s debut (although Tyler's lyrics are new additions on this rendition). This line was a reference to the band’s “second chance” with Perry and guitarist Brad Whitford back in the saddle.
"The Other Side"From: ‘Pump’ (1989)
“You’re cryin’ me a river but I got to get across”
Good love, bad love – it seems Steven Tyler's got a lyric ready and waiting, no matter the circumstances. On "The Other Side," he strikes the perfect lovesick pose of a man who has to get out of the same old situation. ‘Side’ note: Although Tyler gets his due for the lyrics, Aerosmith chose to co-credit the Motown team of Holland-Dozier-Holland for the music (which sounds similar to the Four Tops' "Standing in the Shadows of Love") after a lawsuit was threatened.
"Dream On"From: ‘Aerosmith’ (1973)
“I know it’s everybody’s sin / You got to lose to know how to win”
Listening to Tyler's lyrics, you might think that he wrote this song with the wisdom of age and experience. It easily could have been penned by someone who had beaten drug addiction and undergone a comeback. But all you have to do is hear young Steven’s voice to know this is early Aerosmith – the band’s first hit… and its first classic song.
"Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)"From: ‘Nine Lives’ (1997)
"Don’t give me no lip / I’ve got enough of my own"
Tyler’s not above poking a little fun at himself as he details love’s trials and tribulations in the lead single from Nine Lives. And the lyric that comes a few seconds before this one is a reference to another famously big-lipped singer. “But you like the way I hold the microphone” is an almost exact quote from the Rolling Stones’ "The Spider and the Fly."
"F.I.N.E.*"From: ‘Pump’ (1989)
“She got the Cracker Jack now all I want’s the prize”
"F.I.N.E.*" (which stands for Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional) allows Steven Tyler to let his dirty mind run rampant and put all his best double entendres to good use. This one might be the best, especially when punctuated by Tyler’s mischievous laughter: heh heh heh.
"Shut Up and Dance"From: ‘Get a Grip’ (1993)
“When you're splittin’ hairs with Mr. Clean / It's like gettin’ head from a guillotine”
Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw helped the Toxic Twins write this Get a Grip rocker, but this lyric couldn’t have come from any other mind than Steven Tyler’s (come to think of it, nor could it have been spit from any other lips). If you want to know what it all means, Aerosmith has just one answer: "Shut Up and Dance."
"Sweet Emotion"From: ‘Toys in the Attic’ (1975)
"Some sweat hog mama with a face like a gent / Said my get up and go musta got up and went"
Tyler has rarely sung with more grit than he does on "Sweet Emotion," arguably the greatest Aerosmith song. Perhaps that’s because the lyrics were directed at Joe Perry’s then-wife, who had a less-than-friendly relationship with the band members. If she truly was the “sweat hog mama” in this lyric, we can only guess what happened to her “get up and go” the minute she heard the single on the radio. Over and over again. For the next four decades.