Steven Tyler

One of America's most recognizable rock singers in the '70s and beyond, Steven Tyler is the frontman of Boston's eternal hellraisers Aerosmith. Unlike most of his bandmates, Tyler was not a native Bostonian: Born Steven Tallarico, he was raised in New York and grew up attending rock concerts, including the Woodstock Festival in 1969. He met his future bandmates, guitarist Joe Perry and bassist Tom Hamilton, when they were playing in a band he caught in New Hampshire. With the addition of drummer Joey Kramer and co-guitarist Brad Whitford (who joined after founder Ray Tabano was sacked at Tyler's behest), the band moved to Boston and took the name Aerosmith in 1970. From the start Aerosmith was seen as a classic-model, bad-boy rock band in the tradition of the Rolling Stones, with the love/hate chemistry between Tyler and Perry compared to that of Jagger and Richards (the pair eventually began calling themselves the Toxic Twins, a play on the Stones' Glimmer Twins). Tyler and Perry also formed a songwriting team that produced most of Aerosmith's material; though their breakthrough song "Dream On" was a piano ballad that Tyler wrote before joining the band. Aerosmith reigned through the '70s with a string of arena-ready hits-notably "Walk This Way," which Tyler wrote about his sexual initiation. Yet the band's misadventures caught up with them by decade's end, especially in Tyler's case. His heroin addiction led to erratic performances and dissent in the band, with Perry and Whitford temporarily leaving. He was also sidelined for most of 1980 from a motorcycle accident, and would later learn that he fathered a daughter, the future actress Liv Tyler, by model Bebe Buell who initially kept Tyler's fatherhood secret due to his addiction. During 1984 Aerosmith regrouped and took on a new manager who insisted the members get clean; Tyler was the first through rehab and later became an antidrug spokesman. The new attitude led to a second commercial heyday for the band, who embraced '80s production and had another run of hits including "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)"and "Janie's Got a Gun," still with Tyler as main lyricist. They maintained the hit streak through the uncharacteristic power ballad "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (written by Diane Warren for the "Armageddon" soundtrack) in 1998. There would be more drama as Tyler and Perry clashed again, with reports in 2009 claiming that Aerosmith was seeking a new singer. That year Tyler fell off the stage in South Dakota, and was later hospitalized for addiction to painkillers (He would also reveal that he'd been diagnosed with Hepatitis C). 2016 brought his first-ever solo album, We're All Somebody from Somewhere, nominally a country album, though its sound wasn't a million miles from the band. He also ruffled feathers among Aerosmith purists by serving as a judge on "American Idol" (Fox 2002-2016) in 2011. Aerosmith continued to defy the odds and tour with the classic lineup, beginning a Las Vegas residency in April 2019.