“Sweet Emotion” is a song by the American rock band Aerosmith, released by Columbia Records in April 1975 on the album Toys in the Attic and was released as a single a month later on May 19. The song began a string of pop hits and large-scale mainstream success for the band that would continue for the remainder of the 1970s. The song was written by lead singer Steven Tyler and bassist Tom Hamilton, produced by Jack Douglas and recorded at the Record Plant.
“Sweet Emotion” was released as a single on May 19, 1975, and peaked at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the band’s breakthrough single and their first Top 40 hit. The day it hit #36 on the U.S. chart, July 19, 1975, Aerosmith was booked at a gig in New York City’s Central Park, called the Schaefer Music Festival. The song and consequently the album that went into the Top 10 were so successful that the band decided to ride the heels of success and re-release one of their first singles, the power ballad “Dream On”, which had originally charted at #59 in 1973. The re-released version went on to hit #6, the highest chart performance in the 1970s for the band.“Sweet Emotion” remains successful in the modern day, having sold over three million digital downloads.
Many Aerosmith fans believe that Steven Tyler wrote all of the lyrics to the song about the tension and hatred between the band members and Joe Perry’s wife. Tyler himself has said that only some of the lyrics were inspired by Perry’s wife. It was stated in Aerosmith’s tell-all autobiography Walk This Way and in an episode of Behind the Music that growing feuds between the band members’ wives (including an incident involving “spilt milk” where Elyssa Perry threw milk over Tom Hamilton’s wife, Terry) may have helped lead to the band’s original lineup dissolving in the early 1980s.
The line “Can’t catch me / Cause the rabbit done died” is a reference to the rabbit test.
The song has been included on almost every Aerosmith compilation and live album, including Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits, Pandora’s Box, Pandora’s Toys, O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits, Devil’s Got a New Disguise, Live! Bootleg, Classics Live I, A Little South of Sanity, Greatest Hits 1973–1988 and Rockin’ the Joint.
The song is frequently cited as Aerosmith’s signature song, including in the World Almanac and Book of Facts, and regularly competes with “Dream On” and “Walk This Way” for the title of Aerosmith’s “signature song” elsewhere.
It is often included on “greatest song” lists or “greatest rock song” lists, including a ranking of No. 408 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
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