Aerosmith – Pump: #469 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Aerosmith - Pump

So why is Aerosmith’s Pump on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

Aerosmith was the headliner for the first concert I ever attended that featured a popular touring band*, and indeed it was the Pump tour.  

* Skid Row was the opening act – you can read more about the experience as part of the self-titled Skid Row album entry (#713 of best 1,000 albums ever).

There’s so much that I found memorable and striking about that concert even before getting to the actual music part.

In many ways, I think of that night in the late 1980s as Peak Long Island, New York. It was the peak of guys wearing black motorcycle jackets to a concert, at least in my experience, and it definitely was the peak of women hair spraying their bangs Straight Up*.

* Yes, I mean Paula Abdul-style.

But more importantly, I was absolutely dazzled by the show that Aerosmith gave us from that Nassau Coliseum stage. The theatrics and smoke and lights were all Big Time Arena Rock, but it was the band – Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and crew – that really crushed.

Steven Tyler was an absolute acrobat, doing literal flips in addition to all of his unique moves* that he had even at that point honed from many years on the road.

* Some involving his signature scarves-on-scarves mic stand motif.

Onward to Pump the album.

So, I know I’m really getting into a song when I’m listening to it while working on something else and then I

a) start the song over and then also
b) crank the audio way up

Did I do that very thing today, the day I’m writing these words, whilst listening to “Going Down/Love In An Elevator,” more popularly known as simply, “Love In An Elevator”?

Yes. Yes, I did.

I know, the lyrics are silly, “Cherry Pie” by Warrant-esque even, perhaps. But man, it still doth rock.

And for some reason, the part of “Love In An Elevator” that I find to be especially stunning all these years later comes around the four-minute mark, after the guitar solo and post-another run at the chorus.

There’s something about the way the song supercharges into the verse that puts me back at the Coliseum in 1989, making me want to shout “WHOA!” (and don’t forget “WHOA YEAH!”) at all the appropriate moments while the floodlights are shining brightly on the crowd.   

“What It Takes” is an exceptional power ballad, catchy, and with surprisingly strong lyrics. The more I listen to it, the more impressed I am by how sophisticated the songcraft and production is.  

I respect “Water Song/Janie’s Got A Gun” (which most just call “Janie’s Got A Gun”) more than dig it. For me, it’s Fun Aerosmith that makes Pump so good. And a glorious example of this is “Dulcimer Stomp/The Other Side,” which never fails to put me in a good mood. The vocal harmonies alone are simply tremendous.

Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Aerosmith’s Pump

I recall that I bought the Pump concert t-shirt at the show, which oddly brings up a slew of connected and semi-connected memories, the way that music can often to do.

For a number of years, my mom would take me to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor just about every Saturday to get allergy shots (how’s that for a left turn!). It was actually a nice little ritual in that getting the shot wasn’t a big deal, and afterward we’d usually go to the Plainview Diner (located on Long Island, New York) for breakfast.

I recall wearing the Pump t-shirt on a visit to the ENT one Saturday (as I must have been…. well, pumped up about Aerosmith, I’d suppose) and I recall the doc asking me about the band. He had not heard of a band called Aerosmith, as it turns out.

This memory connects to another involving the same ENT. On some other visit, my mom and I were sitting in the waiting area, and a guy in a mechanic’s jumpsuit-type outfit came in and let the front desk staff know that the doc’s Lamborghini was all ready for him to pick up.

It seems being an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor paid well in those days.

Okay, so all of that leads to one more connection, this involving my mom and Aerosmith. I was reminded while writing this piece that in recent years she’s had a resurgence of interest in rock music, and in particular she’s gotten really into Aerosmith and the Bee Gees.

We’ve always shared an interest in 1960s music, particularly British Invasion stuff and The Beatles, so I find it fascinating to see where her path to musical discovery takes her these days down in Sarasota, Florida.

Some stats & info about Aerosmith – Pump

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Boston Bands, Hard Rock, Arena Rock, Hair Metal
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Pump released? 1989
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #469 out of 1,000

Aerosmith’s Pump on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Aerosmith’s Pump that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Love in an elevator – livin’ it up while I’m going down.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.