Steven Tyler Biography

Singer (1948–)
The lead singer of popular rock band Aerosmith with hits like 'Dream On' and 'Walk This Way,' Steven Tyler has also served as a judge on 'American Idol.'

Who Is Steven Tyler?

Born on March 26, 1948, Steven Tyler took up drums and singing before becoming the bombastic, colorful leader of the rock band Aerosmith. The group would enjoy major chart success with hits like “Dream On,” “Walk This Way,” “Love in an Elevator” and “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” having more than four decades worth of staying power. Tyler also served as an American Idol judge for two years.

Early Life and Aerosmith

Steven Victor Tallarico, better known as Steven Tyler, was born on March 26, 1948, in Yonkers, New York. As the lead singer of Aerosmith, Tyler is considered to be one of rock's greatest showmen. The son of a music teacher, he started playing drums at a young age, but then focused on singing.

After moving to Boston in the late 1960s, Tyler eventually met up the musicians that would form the rock group Aerosmith. He reportedly met up with guitarist Joe Perry and bassist Tom Hamilton while they were playing in different bands in the Sunapee, New Hampshire, area. Guitarist Ray Tabano (who was later replaced by Brad Whitford) and drummer Joey Kramer joined up with the others to form Aerosmith. The band played its first gig together in 1970, and shared an apartment in Boston.

Commercial Success

In 1972, Aerosmith signed a contract with Columbia Records. The following year their self-titled debut album was released. It featured the song "Dream On," which was a minor hit. In the early days of the group many comparisons were drawn with the Rolling Stones because their similar bluesy sound and the physical resemblance between Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler. But with their third album, Toys in the Attic (1975), the band emerged as a leading rock group in its own right. Showcasing their talent for creating hard rock, Aerosmith scored with such hits as "Sweet Emotion" and "Walk This Way."

Personal Problems

Their follow-up album Rocks (1976) also had strong sales despite the lack of a breakout single, as did Draw the Line (1977). But by the end of the decade, the band was coming apart at the seams. Perry and Whitford eventually left the group while Tyler became heavily involved with drugs. Tyler kept the group going by adding new members, but his personal problems affected his creative abilities and Aerosmith was only a shadow of its former self.

Comeback after Rehab

By the mid-1980s, Tyler had gotten his act together after going through a rehabilitation program. In 1986, rap group Run-D.M.C. covered Aerosmith's famous "Walk This Way" single on their Raising Hell album. The rendition featured vocals by Tyler and Joe Perry, and helped push Aerosmith back into the limelight. 

By 1987, the band had made a successful comeback: That year, Aerosmith released Permanent Vacation, which featured the hits "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" and "Rag Doll." The revitalized rock supergroup had more commercial success with its next effort, Pump (1989), which featured such songs as "Love in an Elevator" and "Janie's Got a Gun." With the rise of MTV, the band's videos helped them win over a new generation of fans.

Aerosmith's winning streak continued with 1993's Get a Grip, driven in part by such singles as "Livin' on the Edge," "Cryin'" and "Crazy." By the end of 1990s, the group was unable to maintain its chart momentum, but Tyler and his bandmates were still a big draw for concerts, with droves of their fans turning out to see the group play live.

Health Issues

Health problems also cropped up for the famed performer. He underwent throat surgery in 2006 that could have ended his singing career; fortunately, the procedure was a success, but Aerosmith had to cancel half of its North American tour for that year. Also in 2006, Tyler announced that he had been treated for Hepatitis C, a liver disease. 

In 2008, Tyler checked into Las Encinas Hospital rehabilitation clinic in Pasadena, California, to recover from multiple leg surgeries to repair damage to his feet. Then in 2009, during an Aerosmith performance, Tyler fell off a stage in South Dakota, breaking his shoulder. The band was forced to cancel yet another tour.

After his fall in 2009, it was reported that Tyler would not be returning to Aerosmith. A month later, Joe Perry confirmed that Tyler left to pursue a solo career, but shortly after, Tyler assured fans that he was not quitting the band. In 2010, the frontman headed off on the Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock Tour with Aerosmith, performing in more than 18 countries.

Despite numerous challenges in 2009 and 2010, Tyler returned to the studio with Aerosmith in 2011. The band released a greatest-hits album, Tough Love, in 2011, and followed with Music from Another Dimension! in November 2012, their first full album of original material since 2001.

Memoir and 'American Idol'

Tyler's much anticipated autobiography, Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?, was released in 2011. A best seller, the book provides an inside look into his many wild exploits, with some critics comparing it to Rolling Stone Keith Richard's graphic memoir, Life. Not afraid to joke at his own expense, Tyler indicated that he suffers from "Lead Singer Disease."

Tyler scored another hit earlier that year, signing on to judge contestants on the popular singer reality show American Idol. He, along with Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson, signed on for another season at the judges' table in 2012.

In January 2012, however, Tyler found himself under fire from the public and the media. His less-than-stellar performance of the national anthem before an NFL playoff game produced a wave of criticism; many objected to the "pitchy" way in which he sang "The Star-Spangled Banner." Tyler did not publicly respond to his critics' remarks.

In July 2012, Tyler announced that he would not be returning to American Idol for a third season. "After some long, hard thoughts, I've decided it's time for me to let go of my mistress, American Idol, before she 'boils my rabbit'," he told Rolling Stone, referencing the film Fatal Attraction. "I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I'm back — but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I got two fists in the air and I'm kicking the door open with my band. The next few years are going to be dedicated to kicking some serious ass — the ultimate in auditory takeover."

Solo Work

After more than four decades in the business, Tyler released his first solo studio effort, We're All Somebody From Somewhere, in July 2016. The album showcased the singer delving into a country sound, even delivering a new take on the Aerosmith hit "Janie's Got a Gun."

In 2018, Tyler discussed the ups and downs of his career with Harvey Levin on the Fox News show OBJECTified. "I have an addictive personality so I found certain drugs I loved and didn't stop to the point of hurting my children, hurting my life, shirting my family, hurting my band," said the rock star. "There was a point where I didn't have a band and I didn't care."

Las Vegas Residency

In August 2018, Tyler and Aerosmith confirmed that the band had signed up for a Las Vegas residency. Their Deuces Are Wild show is scheduled to include 18 performances from early April into July 2019 at MGM's Park Theater.

Personal Life

Tyler is the father of four children. In 1976, he had a relationship with model Bebe Buell; they have a daughter, actress Liv Tyler. He was married to model Cyrinda Foxe from 1978 to 1988; they have a daughter, model Mia Tyler. He married Teresa Barrick in 1988, with whom he has two children, Chelsea and Taj Monroe. The couple divorced in 2006. Tyler then announced his engagement to model Erin Brady in 2011, before they called it quits in early 2013.

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