7 Best Steven Tyler Vocals


Editor’s Note: After 50 years, Aerosmith just announced their farewell tour (Peace Out) which will kick off this fall and wrap in 2024. So it seemed a good time to take a look at their lead singer’s epic performances.


Steven Tyler’s vocals are one of the most crucial components of Aerosmith’s sound, contributing to the band’s enduring success and cementing their legacy as an iconic band. His distinctive tone has often been described in the music press as a “honey-coated rasp” with stunning power, epic vocal range, and overall control. It’s something of a gold standard in stadium rock.

Tyler has the ability to express deep emotion, from pulsating anthems full of rebellion to ballads filled with heartbreak and pain. The quality of his vocal deliveries has transformed him into one of the most celebrated frontmen of all time. Here are 7 of Steven Tyler’s best Aerosmith vocals.

Dream On (1973)

“Dream On” provides a classic example of Tyler’s legendary high-pitched wailing that he’s become synonymous with. The song itself has an almost haunting melody that allows the Aerosmith frontman’s power to shine in a fairly understated way.

Beginning with a delicate delivery of the song’s opening lines, “Every time that I look in the mirror/all these lines on my face getting clearer,” the song eventually opens out into an epic wall of sound that helps fully showcase the extent of Tyler’s vocal abilities. He hits high notes with precision and control, especially during the track’s iconic final chorus, when an almost ear-piercing repetition of the song’s title phrase swirls to a close.

Sweet Emotion (1975)

Enduring classic “Sweet Emotion” features on the band’s third album Toys In The Attic with Tyler’s considered soulful and emotive vocals a highlight of the track. The song was one of their earlier efforts and gained critical acclaim that helped propel them toward the summit of the rock genre.

Classic Aerosmith crunching guitar contrasts with calmer strumming throughout the song and is perfectly accompanied by Tyler’s signature vocal acrobatics. Some fantastic vocal aspects of “Sweet Emotion” effectively convey emotion, from subdued verses to explosive chorus lines. The dream-like opening melody also takes listeners back to feelings of mid-60s psychedelic pop.

Love In An Elevator (1989)

“Love in an Elevator” was featured on Aerosmith’s 1989 album Pump. The song itself was commercially successful, climbing into the top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and eventually evolving into a staple of the band’s live performances. Tyler offers an electrifying vocal over a relentless driving rock sound, using his signature snarl and confident swagger to great effect.

The highlight of the track is its stunning chorus where the frontman’s high-pitched voice rages, accompanied by his own supersonic backing harmony. Tyler’s performance is playful yet demonstrates incredible skill as he flows effortlessly between gritty tones in the verses and melodic choruses. “Love in an Elevator” oozes rock and roll attitude and remains a firm fan favorite to this day.

What It Takes (1989)

From 1989’s Pump, “What It Takes” is a clever effort that combines both a hard rock and pop vibe into one excellent number. Tyler’s vocal performance shows that his vocal skill became stronger and more refined throughout the years. At the start of the song he’s somewhat subdued in the opening lines “There goes my old girlfriend/there’s another diamond ring/and all those late night promises/I guess they don’t mean a thing.”

Tyler expresses the pain and heartbreak associated with lost love while at the same time conveying f both resilience and inner strength.“What It Takes” helps showcase Tyler’s ability to sustain a consistently spectacular vocal performance across a track with unwavering quality.

Crazy (1993)

From the 1993 album Get a Grip, “Crazy” became a huge hit for the band, peaking at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100; it’s considered one of the band’s signature tunes. At the heart of the song’s success is Tyler’s powerful and emotional vocal performance which meanders effortlessly through this heartfelt rendition full of rock vigor.

Tyler cleverly begins with an almost whispered tone and then as the song progresses his voice slowly builds before launching into a catchy stellar chorus. He is note-perfect, even harmonizing with bandmate Joe Perry’s guitar. This particular performance is incredibly tight and continues to resonate with audiences across generations.

Cryin’ (1993)

“Cryin'” is a classic power ballad. First appearing on their 1993 album Get a Grip, it’s a high-octane performance from Tyler.

During the verses, he offers a softer sway over the band’s carefully crafted backing track, packed with country vibes. The frontman’s sustained vocals in the chorus are stunning yet his finest additions are his punchy moments in the break followed by squealing in the upper octaves.

I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing (1998)

 The epic “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” was recorded for the soundtrack of the 1998 blockbuster Armageddon. It became one of Aerosmith’s biggest hits, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. While it wasn’t the band’s usual thing, Tyler’s daughter Liv starred in the movie, so they got on board as a favor to her.

At the center of this largely generic pop-rock ballad (penned by Diane Warren) lies Tyler’s incredible vocal. It combines a gritty delivery, mixed with soaring bursts that express the track’s emotional themes. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” demonstrates the frontman’s remarkable range, starting off in a tender lower register before seamlessly transitioning into powerful choruses and a thrilling scream during the finale.

Although this track is one of the more mainstream offerings from Aerosmith, Tyler provides an epic vocal performance to directly rival some of his greatest-ever deliveries.

-Adam Leadbeater

Photo: Getty Images

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4 comments on “7 Best Steven Tyler Vocals

  1. David S

    Nice writeup! Personally I would’ve picked something from Rocks, like “Nobody’s Fault” or “Home Tonight” which show his incredible pre-rehab (and co-outsourced-songwriting) range. Cheers

  2. Janice Jackson

    Love Steven Tyler! Saw him years ago I Johnson city, TN
    I took my then 6 year old daughter
    I can’t wait to see him in Knoxville, TN in Jan 2024? Just wish I could meet him
    But I agree about the song line up
    But I love all the band music. Love you Steven!

  3. Julie Nash

    I’m so disappointed that “Seasons Of Wither” wasn’t included, or much else from the Get Your Wings album and so much more…but I am a baby boomer, and alot of critics today can’t relate. With that being said, I’ve seen them 5 times, always been my love.

  4. Timflyte

    How they never got sued for the chorus of ” sweet emotion ” by the stones , cuz to many it sounds like the chorus of ” we love you ” .

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