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80 Years of The Hollywood Reporter

Steven Tyler
Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images

The most glamorous and memorable moments from a storied history.

Cynthia Kirk
Tony Duran/FOX

It’s been nearly 40 years since Columbia’s Clive Davis signed Aerosmith for $125,000 in 1972 after seeing them at Max’s Kansas City in New York. Two years later, The Hollywood Reporter — catching them at the Santa Monica Civic as the opening act for Mott the Hoople in April 1974 — deemed their show a solid B. But not everyone was so kind. Lead vocalist Steven Tyler was judged, among other things, “the baldest imitation of Mick Jagger that one could ever hope to see.” “Dream On,” from its debut album, Aerosmith, did passably as a single in 1973, then went into the top 10 when re-released in 1976. The band was also at the top when it came to livin’-on-the-edge behavior: band breakups, motorcycle smashups, enough partying to earn Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry the nickname “the Toxic Twins” and drug rehab. During the late ’80s, they engineered a massive resurgence, and “the bad boys from Boston” became the best-selling American hard-rock band of all time. With this kind of history, it’s clear Tyler wasn’t born to be a judge; he was born to be a rock star. But the now-sober Aerosmith frontman — whose tell-all memoir Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? comes out in early May — has adapted quite nicely to his role as American Idol’s de facto chief justice. When THR asked him recently what qualified him to assess talent, he said, “When you’re 62, you judge things against your own experience.”


“Rock ’n’ roll is sexuality personified.” — Steven Tyler, in the 1995 documentary “The History of Rock ’n’ Roll”