You know how theme weeks on SFTD work by now. We pick (the royal we, it’s just me) seven songs by a massive band and ping from originals to cover version to side projects and back to the source over a week. Finding good acts who have covered one of the biggest bands of the 1960’s was not difficult. Narrowing them down to the most SteveForTheDeaf mix of artists and songs kinda was. One cover version muscled it’s way to the front though. Aerosmith were a big deal for me at the same time The Doors were a big deal for me. So the idea of The Toxic Twins covering Jim and Co was very appealing. Getting my hands on a copy of it however, that was to become a challenge.
Let us digress…
In 1990 Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr made a star vehicle buddy comedy called Air America which fell flat on its face because it was actually not a star vehicle buddy comedy at all. Except it made a ton of money. It was the third biggest film of that year. People don’t remember it though. Because it was awkward, dark and too critical of the CIA and US foreign policy in a year the CIA and US foreign policy were too busy doing shady shit in the Gulf. I kinda didn’t hate it, but the film is not the thing we’re here to discuss.
The soundtrack album. Opening track, side one. Love Me Two Times by Aerosmith. Pretty great huh? The rest of record? Not so much. A Mama & The Papa’s track, Steeley Dan, The Temptations. It looks like my Mum chose the tracklisting for most of the album. So there it is. A cool track I want. And a price tag that comes out the same as a full price classic. I could buy Rumors, Dark Side Of The Moon or the new Jane’s Addiction record for that money.
So it sat there. Never mind I thought (oh well, whatever) It’ll pop up on a B-Side soon enough. Aerosmith had already thrilled us with the comeback album Done With Mirrors, the actual comeback of Hip Hop crossover Walk This Way with Run DMC and then a double hitter of Permanent Vacation and Pump had really put them at the front of the heavy rock scene in the UK like never before. Because the Geffen years had a bit of a false start in the UK there were singles released and re-released all the time (see my Angel post from Hair Metal Power Ballads week for a critique on the diminishing returns of Aerosmith single buying in that era) one of them had to feature Love Me Two Times eventually right? Right? Err no.
Aerosmith did apparently release the single in the US in 1990. And rumour has it that the song made top 30. I have never seen a copy and paying import prices seemed to out weight the chances of finding a marked down copy in a bargain bin as the 1990’s rolled on and the appeal of vinyl and/or Mel Gibson waned. So it became a fabled thing. Known of but unheard.
In their performance of the very first episode of MTV’s Unplugged TV show the ‘Smiffs play a honey tonk take of this very The Doors classic. They did it right after Steven dedicates their version of the song to Jim. He shouts out the bands iconic 60’s changing appearance in the same studio as the Ed Sullivan Show where Light My Fire lit up all sorts of PTA botherin’s.
In 1991 a box set of Rare Aerosmith outtakes was released. Three CD’s, eye wateringly priced in a long thin cardboard box that would not survive decades of being opened and closed. Gifted to me by a girlfriend on my birthday. It was full of delights. Beatles covers, Steven Tyler’s old bands (Chain Reaction) debut single, live versions. Tracks from Joe Perry’s solo years, from Brad Whitford’s dalliance with another band, Instrumental jams. I soon forgot about Love Me Two Times.
This compilation was all on the old label stuff though, so Air America was too new for excavation, too old by 1994 to be on the ‘want list’. After this the band protected the peace with their old label CBS.
Following the success of Pandora’s Box and the rejuvenated Sweet Emotion there was to be a big old round up box set called The Box Of Fire. It featured all of the Columbia Records years tracks in it. Again Love Me Two Times fell between the cracks even tough the band dug up a 1987 take of the 50’s rock and roller Rockin’ Pnuemonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu from another movie soundtrack. However, no LM2T. I never even considered the Box Of Fire as anything other than a rip off. There are 13 discs and only 5 new tracks. 2 of those are instrumentals, one is a live version of a Dream On with strings, the other the Pandora’s Box remix of Sweet Emotion again. that makes Huey Piano Smith’s song the single new song on a 100 squididdles boxset. Fffffssss.
When The Pirate Bay, Napster, LimeWire and Metallica all started drawing battle lines suddenly there was a hole in the fence. I finally heard Love Me Two Times while giving a terminal virus to an old OS of mine on one of those site. Rockin Pnuemonia too.
Well, of Course Aerosmith aren’t the only band to cover it. I understand Rebecca Black did a version that washed it’s face in 2017. Yes that Rebecca Black. Joan Jett has been there done that. Loved it. Two times. The Living End, John Cale, Lou Gramm, The Mission and Long John Baldry. They’ve all counted it off.