Great Rock Albums of 1979: Aerosmith- Night in the Ruts

One way you can tell how brilliant a band is is when they put out a decent album when they are at one of the lowest points in their career. When they put out “Night in the Ruts” in 1979, they had fully made the transition from musicians dabbling in drugs to druggies dabbling in music. Joe Perry said in an interview about ten years ago that by this time, they were making records to pay their dealers. In spite of all that, “Night in the Ruts” is still a pretty good album. I know it’s not as good as some of their earlier ones like “Draw the Line” and it doesn’t come close to “Toys in the Attic,” (my all time fave). Still when Aerosmith can put out a decent album when they were at such a low, it only cements how great their earlier albums are.

I have to confess, that there are some parts of this album where it sounds like a bit of a dirge but it’s a good dirge. There is  that familiar 70’s rock sound that Aerosmith were famous for then and Joe Perry comes out of his drug induced state to put down some good guitar solos. Steve Tyler also has some good vocal moments and Aerosmith’s three unsung heroes, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer do what they do best. Tracks like “No Surprise,” “Bone to Bone (Coney Island Whitefish Boy” and “Reefer Head Woman” lead the way to what is a decent album.

When I first heard the single from the album, “Remember, Walking in the Sand” I thought this was a definite attempt to get into the singles charts, capitalizing on the success from their cover of The Beatles classic, “Come Together.” I still believe this is the case. This was a song that was first made in the 1960’s and I wondered what were they trying to do. Saying that, like with “Come Together,” they put their own unique spin onto it which makes the song somewhat enjoyable.

Track Listing:

1. No Surprise

2. Chiquita

3. Remember, Walking in the Sand

4. Cheese Cake

5. Three Mile Smile

6. Reefer Head Woman

7. Bone to Bone (Coney Island Whitefish Boy)

8. Think About It

9. Mia


Steve Tyler- vocals

Joe Perry- lead guitar

Brad Whitford- rhythm guitar

Tom Hamilton- bass

Joey Kramer- drums

Before I close, I just wanted to say that I just realized some information I thought reliable all these years has been proven to be slightly inaccurate. I was told that the infamous bottle incident in Philadelphia happened on this tour. It actually occurred in 1978 on the “Live Bootleg” tour. For those who have no clue what I’m talking about, what happened was during a show at the Philadelphia Spectrum, someone threw a bottle that shattered in Steve Tyler’s face. The band immediately walked off stage and the culprit was found, dragged onto the stage and beaten up in front of the audience. (It’s bad enough to get your ass kicked but having it kicked in front of 20,000 people must be humiliating.) Anyway, nothing happened for an hour and a half, then Aerosmith returned and Steve Tyler announced, “Fuck you Philly, we ain’t ever coming back!” I wasn’t at this concert but I know someone who was in this was her account. However, I saw them in 1986, they did come back eventually and while they were good that night, they weren’t excellent. In fact Ted Nugent kind of blew them away. I cite the reason as being that Aerosmith still hadn’t fully forgiven Philadelphia for the bottle incident. He made reference to it during the show when he said, “Don’t throw anything up here, remember what happened last time.” I do make mention of this in “Rock And Roll Children.”

That incident was probably an indicator of things to come for the band. Joe Perry, after violent arguments with the band,  left halfway through the recording of the album and would eventually be replaced by Jimmy Crespo. A greatest hits album would be put out the following year leaving many to think that this was the end of the line. It would be seven years before the next good album would be released. I’m glad that the end of the line theory was wrong. Despite all that, “Night in the Ruts” is still a good album.

Next post: Frank Zappa- Joe’s Garage Act 1

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8 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1979: Aerosmith- Night in the Ruts”

  1. I love this album. It’s not their best, like you say, but after wearing the classic albums out I find I enjoy this one and Draw the Line the most these days. I guess because they’re a bit less over-familiar now. I especially love Chiquita on NITR. Great pun in the album title too.


    • Chiquita is a good song, especially with the horn section and yes it is a great pun. Ha!


      • Oh yeah, the horns totally make that song. It’s weird you like a band but wear out some of their best albums. There’s a few albums that I loved and listened to for ages but now I just don’t get much out of them at all. Toys in the Attic has got a bit like that for me. I think I’ve just worn it out. A lot of the Zep stuff just doesn’t do much for me anymore. It’s a real shame cause I know how it used to make me feel! Any albums where that has happened with you?


      • I’m weird this way. I listen to all my CDs in rotation so I listen every album every 4-6 months depending on how much driving I do. It was the same way when I had cassettes. Therefore, things don’t wear out so quickly for me. Saying that, don’t have this album on CD and hearing it 1st time after more than 20 years does remind me how I liked it in the first place. I had the same recent experience with Pat Travers and I since have bought the CD.


      • That’s an interesting way of doing things. I’m too obsessed with listening to things I’m in the “mood” for. It means I wear some albums out and don’t listen to some nearly enough! So when you’re doing you’re rotation are they in any order? Do you end up listening to the same band’s albums in a batch or is it more random?


      • I used to have an order from memory for my cassettes and when I bought a new cassette, I just inserted in the order and that wasn’t a problem. I am getting older now so I don’t trust my memory. I just listen to the CDs as they come on my cabinet shelf.


  2. (Back in the day) “Remember, Walking In The Sand” was played on Connecticut FM stations every 10 minutes… or so it seemed! For several years! LOL!

    It’s too bad that one lousy dork in the crowd can ruin a great night of Rock ‘N’ Roll. A bottle thrown to the head/face could certainly do major damage. Unreal story.

    Excellent read! Rock Steady bro! \m/\m/


    • I don’t remember “Walking in the Sand” being played on the radio. It was probably during that 3 month void in my life in 1979 called boot camp. I don’t think anyone had any sympathy when that dork who chucked the bottle got his comeupance on stage. Thanks and rock on!


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