Aerosmith don’t always stay in their lane. From Steven Tyler judging American Idol to past duets with rap, pop and country stars (to name a few: Run-D.M.C. on the “Walk This Way” redux, *NSYNC/Britney Spears at the 2001 Superbowl, Willie Nelson at Farm Aid in 2010), the Boston boys have often strayed from their rock’n’roll roots for collaborations in other parts of the music world. And their new album, November’s Music from Another Dimension!, is no exception.
For the album, Aerosmith collaborated with a new slew of unlikely stars: Johnny Depp, country star (and former Idol winner) Carrie Underwood, John Lennon’s son Julian Lennon. These guest stars were just recently revealed, though Carrie Underwood – who duets with Tyler on a country crossover ballad called “Beautiful” on the album – previously performed with the Aerosmith frontman at the 2011 ACM Awards and a 2012 episode of CMT Crossroads. Of their song together, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry tells Rolling Stone, “Their voices matched up really well. It doesn’t sound forced. It was just right.”
As for the contributions from Lennon and Depp, little is known besides the song names. John’s son, whom Tyler met in L.A. while shooting Idol, sings harmony on a “Beatlesque” song called “Love Three Times a Day.” Depp, previously of short-lived alt-rockers P, contributes vocals on a socially conscious song titled “Freedom Fighter,” which Perry says may only make a deluxe edition of Music from Another Dimension!
All these collaborations – and given Aerosmith’s previous track record for this sort of thing – got us thinking about who else would make for totally strange yet totally awesome duet partners with Steven Tyler. Here are five unlikely Aerosmith collaborations we’d like to see.
What would happen if Steven Tyler dueted with the elderstatesman of pouty-lipped rock frontmen, Mick Jagger? Too much hip-swaying, tight pants-wearing and pouting for one stage, but we’d still like to see it. And hey, it’s likely to go over better than Jagger’s impersonation of Tyler on Saturday Night Live back in May, which did not impress Steven.
Talk about range and sheer vocal power, up on one stage. However, a proposed Aretha and Steven duet goes deeper than that. On Aerosmith’s 2004 album, Honkin’ On Bobo, the band covered a song made famous by Aretha, “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” tweaking it to be “Never Loved a Girl.”
Too soon? Also, do you think J.Lo stays on Tyler’s Christmas card list, even after all the Idol drama? Those two divas seem like they could bury the hatchet with a duet.
The two stars are friends (or at least friendly), with Tyler attending John’s Oscar Party this year, but would this be too much vamping for one stage? Maybe, but while Elton’s working his sequined jacket stationed behind the baby grand piano, Steven’s working the crowd in his active, all-over-the-place style. Allow us to suggest the song “Rocket Man,” for Tyler’s pipes could take it to some high places.
Tyler, The Creator
For those uninitiated to the wild ways (read: understatement) of Tyler, The Creator, the frontman of L.A. rap collective Odd Future, allow us to simply point you to a video that full conveys his extreme antics. More important than the two frontmen’s shared history of crazy stunts is the fact that it took a rap group – Run-D.M.C. – to revitalize Aerosmith’s career back in 1986 with their “Walk This Way” cover featuring Tyler and Perry. Perhaps another rap group could introduce them to a younger fan base.
– Jillian Mapes, CBS Local