Sweet Emotion: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Sweet Emotion"
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Toys in the Attic
B-side "Uncle Salty"
Released 1975
Format Record
Recorded 1975
Genre Hard rock
Length 5:09
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Steven Tyler, Tom Hamilton
Producer Jack Douglas
Aerosmith singles chronology
"S.O.S. (Too Bad)"
"Sweet Emotion"
"Walk This Way"
Music sample
Sweet Emotion
"Sweet Emotion"
Song by Aerosmith

from the album Toys in the Attic

Released April 8, 1975
Recorded January - February 1975 at Record Plant Studios, New York
Genre Hard rock
Length 4:34
Label Columbia Records
Writer Steven Tyler, Tom Hamilton
Producer Jack Douglas
Toys in the Attic track listing
"Big Ten Inch Record"
"Sweet Emotion"
"No More No More"

"Sweet Emotion" is a song by American rock band Aerosmith. It was released in 1975 as the first single from the band's breakthrough smash Toys in the Attic. 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.



"Sweet Emotion" was released as a single in 1975, and peaked at #36 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the band's breakthrough single and the first Top 40 hit for the band. 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 was so successful that the band decided to ride the heels of success and re-release their first single, "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.

Lyrical interpretation

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. Steven 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") may have helped lead to the band's original lineup dissolving in the early 1980s.

In the film Be Cool, John Travolta determined that Steven Tyler wrote "Sweet Emotion" because of the emotion he felt at being a father for the first time.

Song structure

The beginning of the song is a repeating electric bass riff tracked alongside the bass marimba, played by Jay Messina. The introduction builds with the use of a talk box by Joe Perry, which has become one of the more famous uses of the guitar talk box in popular music (Perry's guitar "sings" the line "sweet emotion" over Hamilton's bass riff). Eventually Steven Tyler joins in, singing in unison with Perry's talk box.

The song kicks into a more rocking rhythm with dueling guitars, and rapid-fire angry-sounding lyrics sung by Steven Tyler. The chorus of the song consists of a repeating guitar riff followed by a mirror of the "sweet emotion" intro.

On the 1980 compilation album Aerosmith's Greatest Hits, "Sweet Emotion" appears in edited form. The bass and talk box introduction is cut, and the track begins with the chorus that precedes the first verse. The guitar solo at the end of the song was also excised, and the track concludes with the chorus, which repeats as the song fades out. This same edit was used for the original single release of the song, which was quickly replaced in subsequent pressings with the album version from Toys in the Attic.


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 #408 on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

It was also one of the songs Aerosmith played for their induction to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


The original recording was remixed by David Thoener and released as a single in 1991 in coordination with the release of the band's box set Pandora's Box, although the remixed version was not in the box set. The primary difference from the original is that the drums are mixed louder, with more reverb, on the 1991 re-release. A new music video was filmed and released in support of the single. The re-released version reached #36 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and #74 in the United Kingdom. The remixed version was later issued on the soundtrack to the 1998 film Armageddon.

Music video

The video for the re-released version is based on a phone sex conversation. The video shows a young man under his covers with a magazine which is advertising a phone sex line. The man and woman talk about each other for a while, until it goes into a shot of the band performing in someone's basement (this portion of the video was actually recorded in the band's old apartment on 1325 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston). It switches back-and-forth between Aerosmith performing "Sweet Emotion" and the phone conversation. At the very end, it is revealed that the sexy woman the young man is talking with is not what he sees in his mind. She is shown to be an overweight older woman with a baby living in a poor house. Throughout most of the video, Perry is playing a Gibson Les Paul but plays the riff on a Fender Stratocaster.

The video is also a homage to the 1983 film Risky Business, in that the opening scenes of the young man talking to the woman are almost identical to the scenes in the film of Tom Cruise's character talking on the phone to the call girl.

Covers and cultural references

  • The song is used as the opening music for the film Dazed and Confused.
  • The song is played over part of the ending credits for the 2004 film Starsky and Hutch.
  • Northern Irish band The Answer covered the song for a free Kerrang! CD of cover versions which was given away with the 6 June 2006 copy of the magazine.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer gets a cereal box from the grocery store called Sweet Emotions with a picture of Steven Tyler on the box and Bart comments that he "didn't know Aerosmith made a breakfast cereal".
  • The song is played in drama series Prison Break in the episode "And Then There Were 7".
  • The song is featured on the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
  • Part of the main riff in this song is used in the Buckcherry hit, "Crazy Bitch".
  • An excerpt from the song is also used in the film Armageddon, starring Liv Tyler, which also featured the Aerosmith hit "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (as well as two other Aerosmith songs).
  • A puzzle on the February 6, 2008 episode of Wheel of Fortune was "SWEET EMOTION BY AEROSMITH".
  • Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon covered the song on the 2005 album Sixty Six Steps with a folky country tinge to it.
  • On the DVD Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!, Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic are jamming this song before singer Kurt Cobain appears, interrupting the song beginning with "Dive". The jam was during their gig in Rio de Janeiro, 23 January 1993.
  • The song is being played as a master track in the 2008 video game, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.
  • The song plays on the score screen on the Arcade versions of Midway Games' Revolution X, which features Aerosmith as themselves.
  • The jam band Phish have covered the song in an extended form in concert.
  • The Mighty Mighty Bosstones covered the song on their "Where'd You Go" EP. It is only 2 minutes and 52 seconds long. It starts off with the bass intro slowed down, then from about 0:54, the song is played very fast. It has none of the guitar solos.


  • Dafydd Rees & Luke Crampton (1991). Rock Movers & Shakers. Billboard Books.

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address