It’s hard to believe that Monday, July 4th, marked the 30th anniversary of the release of the groundbreaking Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith collaboration “Walk This Way”.
Run-D.M.C. was already successful, but with the release of “Walk This Way” fans outside of rap stood up and took notice.
The game changing reworking of the Aerosmith’s 1975 single helped hip-hop cross over into the mainstream in a major way and resurrected Aerosmith’s career in one fell swoop.
Aerosmith couldn’t have been happier. Vibe’s Editor-at-Large Keith Murphy told ABC Radio: “This was a group that went through their own drug crisis and had a flop album and people were really counting them out, I really believe that this was a great union…probably the most unpredictable and weirdest union in pop!”
Producer Rick Rubin suggested that Run-D.M.C. record “Walk This Way” for fun, but the group was initially unsure. Clearly the band agreed and the track hit #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Murphy explained: “While they liked the beat of ‘Walk This Way,’ and the way you can cut it up, they weren’t quite sure about the lyrics,” “They didn’t know what Steven Tyler was singing about…they looked at Rick Rubin and said ‘They’re speaking gibberish.'” Luckily, Rubin insisted and, says Murphy, “We have history.”
“Walk This Way” paved the way for rap/rock’s emergence in the early 2000s. Bands like Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, and Korn embraced the musical union and went on to sell tens of millions of albums. And, Run-D.M.C. went on to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, eight years after Aerosmith.
For a flashback to how it all started, check out the video for “Walk This Way” below: