“Love in an Elevator” is a song performed by American hard rock band Aerosmith, written by Steven Tyler and guitarist/backing vocalist Joe Perry. It was released in August 1989 as the lead single from their third album with Geffen Records, Pump, released in September (see 1989 in music). It peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached number 1 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
The song, like the other tracks on Pump, was recorded sometime in April to June 1989 at Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, British Columbia. During the writing process, lead singer Steven Tyler is said to have come upon the concept of the song while researching famous battleships. Specifically, an instance on the Russian battleship Navarin, in which one of the crew was famously quoted, as the ship was going down, “Мы должны жить вверх, в то время как мы теперь идем вниз,” or when translated “we must live upwards now, for it is downward we head.” Tyler claims the song’s lyrics were inspired by an experience he had at a hotel, in which he was making out with a girl in the elevator and they started having sex as the doors opened; “It felt like a lifetime waiting for those doors to close,” quipped Tyler.
The song was produced by Bruce Fairbairn and was engineered by Mike Fraser with Ken Lomas as the second engineer, and in addition to Aerosmith – Steven Tyler (lead vocals), Joe Perry (guitars, backing vocals), Brad Whitford (guitars, backing vocals), Tom Hamilton (electric bass, backing vocals), and Joey Kramer (drums, percussion) – were Bob Dowd (backing vocals), Bruce Fairbairn (backing vocals), and Catherine Epps (elevator operator).
The video for the song, considered by many to be a definitive music video for Aerosmith, starts off with the band walking up to a department store elevator, and an attractive woman (Brandi Brandt) says “2nd floor…hardware, children’s wear, lady’s lingerie. Oh, good morning Mr. Tyler, going down?” Steven Tyler enters the elevator and the song starts.
The video flashes back and forth between the band performing live and scenes from the department store. The scenes in the department store and elevator include Brad Whitford being hypnotized by fake department store models turning into real ones when he’s not looking, Joey Kramer dressed up like a woman, Joe Perry and his wife (both topless) kissing in the elevator, Tyler kissing the female department store clerk, and Tom Hamilton playing his bass grooves, in addition to the odd performances of other random characters, including a butcher, a fat lady, midgets, the Tin Man and Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz, and a male model.
At the end of the song, all the band members gather around the microphone to sing “Love in an Elevator…lovin’ it up when I’m going down”. And then it flashes back to a scene in which the elevator doors close.
The video was directed by Marty Callner, who produced many of the band’s Geffen-era music videos in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The woman with the male little person in the video is Dee Booher, better known as Queen Kong in the Los Angeles area. She also wrestled on TV show G.L.O.W. as Matilda the Hun.
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