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OMG, it's Steven Tyler

Updated on January 1, 2013
Steven Tyler on American Idol
Steven Tyler on American Idol
Outrageous rocker
Outrageous rocker
Nice guy
Nice guy
Funny and Quirky
Funny and Quirky
Tyler has been lead singer for Aerosmith for nearly 40 years
Tyler has been lead singer for Aerosmith for nearly 40 years
Aerosmith
Aerosmith

This is a new experience for me. I am not easily impressed...by celebrities, money, cars, whatever. That is not to say that I don't appreciate talent, beauty, and aesthetics. I love films, theater, opera, ballet, music, and art. But it has to be the very best. I guess you might say I'm a cultural snob. Give me Puccini, Bach, Beethoven, and Shakespeare. Choreographers like Balanchine and Bob Fosse. Performers like Baryshnikov and Susanne Farrell. And DeNiro, Pacino, Depp, Miles Davis, Coltrane, Parker, Chris Botti and Yo Yo Ma. As well as Playwrights like Ibsen, O'Neill and Mamet and writers like Garcia Lorca. And I can't leave out painters like Matisse, Renoir, and Degas. I've seen, read or read about every single one of them. And those experiences have certainly infused and influenced my taste in the arts.

So why am I impressed with Steven Tyler? One reason is because I love rock music and he's an icon. My kids grew up in the 70s and I was exposed to all of it. Another reason is I think Tyler is an unusually fine talent and performer, although I must admit I was not a fan until very recently. When he became a judge on American Idol, I wanted to know all about him. So I started reading articles and scanning the net for information about him. Turns out he's a pretty nice, compassionate guy. Yes, he had a drug problem at one time, but he dug himself out of it and I think that is to be admired.

Then, after seeing and hearing several of his concerts and videos, I became aware of how talented he is and what a brilliant performer. What really locked it in for me was a concert I saw him do with Chris Botti, amazing jazz trumpet player, and the Boston Pops orchestra. I've posted it here so you can see what I mean.

If you are not a Rock enthusiast, you might wonder why Tyler is screaming through most of the first piece. It's certainly not because he can't sing without doing so, as is evidenced in the second song, Smile. No, the screaming is part of a rock singer's persona and so they can be heard above the electric guitars. Also part of that persona is flamboyant clothing, long hair, jewelry, makeup, and outrageous behavior on stage. It all adds to the theatrics that make rock what it is. And Tyler is masterful when it comes to all this, besides being a damned good singer. He certainly demands attention and has thousands of followers.

Some people are turned off by him. They forget the extreme dress and behavior is all part of the package. They don't think of it in terms of creating a persona. And it is a persona. The outrageous behavior is only part of the real person, as is evidenced when you see him in another venue, such as American Idol. His warmth, humor, and sensitivity come through loud and strong. Yes, he's wearing weird stuff...feathers, long coats, and ruffled shirts. And yes he's saying some weird stuff, but that's all part of the package. After all he's in show business and extremes are his high cards. They are part of his brand, so to speak.

On the same concert, Tyler sang a poignant rendition of Smile to his father, who had lost his wife (Tyler's mother) just two months before. He was sitting in the first row.

In a review, Richard Rushfield, a former Times staffer and author of the book American Idol: The Untold Story , said: "Amazing singer and front man, funny, sarcastic, off-the-wall, quirky Italian. Yes, that’s Tyler but did you know he was also kind, generous, caring and a wonderful father? Steven Tyler: rock legend, Liv Tyler's dad, and now American Idol judge has been in show business so long, we feel like we practically know the guy.

"Tyler is a phenomenon in himself," says Rushfield "[he} gives some of the thrills that the Osbournes brought, of seeing one of the few true gods of rock in a seemingly relaxed setting. His presence in the early episodes has brought a lot of energy and life to a production that had felt listless and bored with itself in recent years." Tyler is extremely seductive. If you haven’t done so already, just watch him for a while, you’ll see what I mean.

Many would agree that rock's all-time charismatic and entertaining frontman would have to be Steven Tyler. Born Steven Victor Tallarico on March 26, 1948 (just outside New York City in Yonkers), he began playing drums at an early age, but eventually switched to vocals after discovering the Beatles, as well as the tougher blues rock of the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds. After moving to Boston in the late '60s, Tallarico hooked up with two members of an up-and-coming outfit called the Jam Band, guitarist Joe Perry and bassist Tom Hamilton, and after finding drummer Joey Kramer and second guitarist Ray Tabano (who was eventually replaced with Brad Whitford), renamed themselves Aerosmith.

The band became a regional sensation, combining the blues sleaze of the Stones/Yardbirds, as well as the power of such hard rock acts as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, as Steven (who by now had changed his name to "Steven Tyler") proved to have a flair for the outrageous -- his stage outfits resembled a rock & roll gypsy look, while long scarves dangled from his microphone stand.

Tyler, who was also known for his heavy drug and alcohol abuse in the 1970s and early 1980s, completed drug rehabilitation in 1986 and had remained sober for over 20 years. He recently made headlines in May 2008 when he checked into the Las Encinas Hospital's drug rehabilitation clinic in Pasadena, California, for substance abuse

"Of all the things I ever lost, I miss my mind the most." said Tyler

Thanks to his unforgettable one-liners and general rockstar charisma, Steven Tyler, 63, has become an unexpected fan favorite of the American Idol audience.

The legendary rocker might be known for his history of hard-living, but he insists that underneath the wild hair, tight pants, and wailing voice beats the heart of a down-home boy from Yonkers, New York.

During the American Idol event on Monday night during the 28th annual William S. Paley Television Festival in Los Angeles, Tyler showed his softer side and explained why he has always had more in common with middle America than people realize.

Tyler is 63 today and on the Idol show Thursday, Stevie Wonder, the contestants and the other judges wished him a happy birthday. He appeared to be surprised and very happy. (See video below.) Also, below is one o my favorite performances of Tyler. his tribute to the Beetles Paul McCartney

Tribute to Paul McCartny

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    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      What a pleasant tribute to Tyler, alekhouse. You should email it to him c/o American Idol. I'm certain he would appreciate it. :)

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      So glad you enjoyed it. I did send the link to the article in a tweet to American Idol. Don't know if they'll see it or not.

    • tmckim profile image

      tmckim 6 years ago

      I'm sorry but Tyler gained his fame through Aerosmith. He is a rock star, not a musician. I enjoyed Aerosmith when I was growing up. I saw them in concert and the warm-up band was much better than Aerosmith. (Lynryd Skynryd)

    • janiek13 profile image

      Mary Krenz 6 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

      What a great hub! I think Steven Tyler is one of the greats.

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 6 years ago

      Wow alkehouse, this is such a good tribute to Steven Tyler! I've always liked him but wondered how he would do on American Idol... Simon who? LOL. Really though, I like Steven more because he reminds me every time I see him that no matter how many years go by, we should never forget how to ROCK!

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      @tmckim, Tyler started out as a drummer. He plays seven instruments including piano and harmonica and is also a songwriter, having written all of Aerosmith's songs with Joe Perry. I am a singer with a masters in voice and am considered a good musician. It's pretty hard to miss the fact that he is too. His father was a concert pianist and Tyler went to music school and is proficient in reading music. What more do you want?

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      @janiek13 I totally agree with you and glad you liked the hub.

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      @silvergenes You are so right. He's so much fun to watch on the show.

    • tmckim profile image

      tmckim 6 years ago

      If you're really looking for good musicianship I would suggest Dream Theater or Guilt Machine.

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Since I started watching American Idol, thank to your hubs, I have grown to like Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. Like, Silvergenes, I so enjoy seeing Steve being hip at age 63. I find his way of dressing and quirkness endearing and funky, LOL!

      Enjoyed learning more about Steve Tyler!

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      @tmckim: I'm not. But thanks

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      @violetsun I guess it takes someone mature to really appreciate that. He built a huge following since he's been on the show. I read an article where a journalist said JLo is getting a little irritated that he's getting so much more attention than she is. Don't know if that's true or not. They seem to be developing a nice friendship, have you noticed?

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Yes, Nancy as a matter of fact I did especially on his birthday surprise. I notice the body language between Steve and JLo is a warm one. Since I am hearing impaired, body language and lip reading is how I pick up communication cues. Hope it doesn't change. :)

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Yeah, they were actually touching each other...hope that doesn't bother Mark Anthony or Erin Brady (Tyler's girlfriend).

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

      That was really cool when Stevie Wonder surprised him with the song! Great piece!!

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks, Audrey. I had fun researching and writing it.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      I really loved your hub. I, too, have been watching Steven Tyler on American Idol. He is eccentric and fun to watch. I also enjoyed the videos you posted. I feel I know him much better now. His song for his "daddy" was very touching. Thanks.

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Hi elayne, Yeah, he is fun to watch and I also love the video where he sang "Smile" to his dad. It was very touching.

      Glad you liked the hub.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 6 years ago from Southern California

      I never really knew Steven Tyler by anything but his name and reputation. But after seeing him on American Idol I am beginning to like him, from just his appearance on American Idol, he seems genuinely nice. The tribute is very nice, I hope he sees it. Very good Alexhouse. Voted up/awesome!

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks Freta, Yeah, I think since he's been on Idol he has picked up a lot of new fans. He really comes across as being friendly and pretty down to earth.

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 6 years ago

      Such a treat! I am a hard rocker fan, and my son, too, grew up in the '70's, but I already liked pretty hard rock, so it was easy to fall for the truly heavy rockers, metal and all, of the '70's/'80's genres. Love the tribute. Thought it cool that you admit to being a bit of a entertainment snob--liking only the best--think that's why you've been taken by Tyler you do appreciate the very best of whatever, that is what he is--being being a genuine decent, caring human. Love the way you explain the "packaging," because that is what turned so many people away without giving rockers a chance. Thanks for the tribute!

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Teylina, So nice to hear from someone who really appreciates Rock. I agree with you about Tyler, he's a genius at what he does.

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      Your kids grew up in the 70s?! I did too but I was never really a big Steven Tyler fan. My daughter is! I loved this, especially Smile with BPO. Thanks alekhouse.

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for the nice comment.

    • profile image

      Katerwaul 6 years ago

      Actually this daughter, grew up in the sixties and partially the seventies.. Though Aerosmith has never been on my go to music list despite some catchy, classic tunes, I have to admit I am loving him on American Idol too. So nice to see his off-stage personality come through. Who knew he was so down to earth?

      I don't think his goofiness his part of "selling" any persona, I think that's just him, and it's part of what makes him pretty cool and endearing. I completely agree with another poster, Simon who ??

      And yeah it's great for younger people to see that us creative types -- artists and musicians and other folks don't keel over and die in middle age !!!

      Nice post mom.

      katerwaul

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks, Katerwaul, great comment. Glad to see more appreciation of a very talented, interesting, endearing, and cool guy.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I think Steve Tyler looks better now then he did when I first saw his videos on MTV in the late 80's.

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      I agree with you. Of course, despite the fact that he's older, he's in better shape. From what I've read, he's in AA and really taking care of himself now that he's recovered.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 6 years ago

      Alekhouse ,greetings , I have to tell you a story about Steve Tyler , when I was a kid in high school Areosmith was a local band unknown I think they were from lower New Hampshire and Massachusetts, I used to go and watch them perform at local dance halls and high schools. We ,of course, thought they were so great then , and as I "outgrew" them and then saw Tyler on Idol , I am pretty impressed by his behavior and judgement. He's a genuine person it seems . Not just a another rocker, :-]

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Yeah, evidently Tyler lived in Lake Sunapee (still has a house there) in New Hampshire and that's where he met Joe Perry. I think he's doing a great job on Idol. Amazing how he turned himself around from crazed rocker on drugs to clean living human business man and still great musician.

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      sord87 5 years ago

      I would not never forget his song in Armageddon.He is a rock legend ever!

    • alekhouse profile image
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      Nancy Hinchliff 5 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Yeah, he really is a great rock singer and song writer.

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