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"Livin' on the Edge"
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Get a Grip
B-side "Don't Stop"/"Can't Stop Messin'"
Released 1993
Format Cassette, CD
Recorded 1993
Genre Hard rock
Length 6:20
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Mark Hudson
Producer Bruce Fairbairn
Aerosmith singles chronology
"Sweet Emotion"
(re-issue 1991)
"Livin' on the Edge"
(1993)
"Eat the Rich"
(1993)

"Livin' on the Edge" is a song by American hard rock band Aerosmith. The song was written by Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and Mark Hudson. It was released in 1993 (see 1993 in music) as the first single from the band's commercially successful album Get a Grip. The single reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart[1] and #1 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart, where it remained for nine weeks,[1] making it Aerosmith's most successful single on that chart. In the UK, the song peaked at #19 on the British pop chart in April 1993.[2]

Contents

Lyrical content

The song is one of Aerosmith's most successful attempts at tackling social issues. It reflects on the sorry state of the world ("There's something wrong with the world today"), religion ("We're seeing things in a different way and God knows it ain't his"), racism ("If you can judge a wise man by the color of his skin"), among other things. However, the lyrics in the song also suggest that the world is still worth living in ("We could tell 'em no, or we could let it go, but I would rather be a-hangin' on"). The lyrics also contain a reference to the Yardbirds song, "Mister You're a Better Man Than I."

According to the band's autobiography Walk This Way, the song was inspired by the Los Angeles riots of 1992. Steven Tyler also mentions in the book that the song features the sound of a bass drum he'd stolen from his high school (there is a point of silence in the middle of the song, followed by loud drum beats—this is the drum Tyler is referring to).

The song was written by Mark Hudson, who notes that he wrote the song while strumming a guitar and thinking about what John Lennon might have said about the social issues of the day, if he were alive.

Music video

The music video for "Livin' on the Edge" is notable for a number of things, including depicting vandalism, theft, and violence among school-aged youth, cross-dressing by educators, a naked Steven Tyler holding a zipper by his crotch with half his body painted black (to give the effect he pulled down a zipper, unzipping his body) and lead guitarist Joe Perry playing a lead guitar solo in front of an oncoming train. Together with "Eat the Rich", the video was praised for its groundbreaking theatrical scenes and special effects. This was also the only major Aerosmith video from Get a Grip to not feature Alicia Silverstone, who would act in the band's next three videos ("Cryin'", "Amazing", and "Crazy"). The video did, however, feature acting by a young Edward Furlong.

In concert

"Livin' on the Edge" has always remained a staple at Aerosmith concerts ever since its release.

During the Get a Grip Tour, lead singer Steven Tyler would often sing a portion of "She Cried" (a song by Jay and the Americans) before going into "Livin' on the Edge". Dramatic performances, often involving Tyler screaming "There ain't no life nowhere" and then breathing heavily over a bright light, would also often be involved during the brief interlude in the song.

"Livin' on the Edge" was famously performed at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards and at Woodstock '94.

Additionally, the band performed the song as part of its set at the United We Stand benefit concert held in Washington D.C. shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Awards and acclaim

The song received much critical acclaim and won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for the year 1993.

The popular video for the song earned the band a Viewer's Choice award at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards.

Covers and other versions

The song was parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic as "Livin' in the Fridge" on his Alapalooza album

In other media

"Livin' on the Edge" has been featured as the theme song for History's reality television show Ice Road Truckers since the series premiered in 2007.

The song is also playable on the video game Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.

Track listing

  1. "Livin' on the Edge [LP Version]" - Steven Tyler/Joe Perry/Mark Hudson – 6:07
  2. "Don't Stop [Previously Unreleased]" - Steven Tyler/Joe Perry/Jim Vallance – 4:05
  3. "Flesh [LP Version]" - Steven Tyler/Joe Perry/Desmond Child – 5:57

Strictly Limited Edition track listing

  1. "Livin' on the Edge [LP Version]" - Steven Tyler/Joe Perry/Mark Hudson – 6:07
  2. "Livin' on the Edge [Acoustic Version]" - Steven Tyler/Joe Perry/Mark Hudson – 5:41
  3. "Can't Stop Messin' [LP Version]" - Steven Tyler/Joe Perry/Jack Blades/Tommy Shaw – 3:21 [*]

[*] Inlay states that it is an LP VERSION, but appears only on the international release.

References

  1. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 19.
  2. ^ UK Singles Chart info Chartstats.com. Retrieved 2 May 2009.
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