Steven Tyler: The Song That Moved Him to Tears in Aerosmith

Steven Tyler

Creating music is often a deeply emotional experience for contemporary songwriters. While it might seem straightforward to craft a catchy melody and add some lyrics, there’s a certain kind of magic when a classic is born. And it feels like the music is writing itself. Steven Tyler, well-known as the frontman of Aerosmith, has numerous songs that come from the heart. But there’s one particular track that stirred deep emotions in him.

However, Steven Tyler isn’t someone who readily bares his soul when it comes to emotions. Before he embarked on his journey with Aerosmith, he dedicated time to establish himself in the local music scene. It made his mark with bands like Chain Reaction. He was a determined leader, unafraid to be a bit provocative to reach his goals.

Tyler’s pivotal moment arrived when he watched guitarist Joe Perry perform with a local band. It was then that he realized he had found his true calling. Drawing inspiration from artists like The Yardbirds, the band shaped their own Americanized version of The Rolling Stones, with Tyler and Perry complementing each other’s talents.

While most of Aerosmith‘s iconic songs often began with a memorable guitar riff, Tyler’s inspiration for an emotional song came while he was at his piano at home. Coming from a classical music background, Tyler composed a melancholic tune after feeling a sense of emptiness in the fall. He later explained, “Summer was over, and I was feeling really lonely. And one night, I sat at the piano, and I wrote this melody. Little did I know that this melody would soon resonate worldwide.”

“Dream On,” although not conforming to the traditional rock song structure, became one of the band’s biggest hits. It featured a compelling, tension-building style that didn’t fit the conventional rock mold. Unbeknownst to Tyler at the time, this track would set the blueprint for what we now recognize as the power ballad. It inspired fans worldwide to form bands and create their own versions of reflective rock songs.

Recalling the moment he heard the song being adapted by the other band members, Tyler admitted to having an emotional reaction. He shared, “When I transposed it to the guitar, Joe played the right chords. And Brad handled the left-hand guitar part. As I worked on it with both guitar and piano, I became quite emotional. The song was so good that it brought tears to my eyes.”

Despite being a song led by the piano, the guitars harmonized seamlessly, allowing Perry to infuse Keith Richards-esque melodic lines between the verses. While the song’s destiny was to be a massive hit, getting it on the radio wasn’t a straightforward task.

Although the band had initially released it on their debut record, the song quickly dropped off the charts. However, it made a remarkable comeback in the late 1970s, aligning with the release of “Toys in the Attic.” “Dream On” soared to number six on the charts, proving that Tyler’s talent for creating memorable melodies had not faded in the least.

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