‘Train Kept A Rollin’, was written by Tiny Bradshaw in 1951. The song was given new life by The Yardbirds in 1965 then again by the inimitable Aerosmith when they recorded it for their second album ‘Get Your Wings” in 1974.

Their version is actually a two-part song, the first has a slower groove arrangement, while the second uses that of the Yardbirds. Aerosmith turned it into a hard rock standard and a staple of classic rock radio; it remains one of their most popular tunes.

But few people know that they had a little help along the way when, during the recording, Record Producer Jack Douglas saw the now legendary session man Steve Hunter sitting outside the studio taking a cigarette break from a different session and he asked Steve to play a solo over the first half of the track.

It was very quick Steve recalls, he got his own guitar which he thinks would have been a 1959 Les Paul TV Special. They took some time to get a sound, then, ran through the track. But, as he did not have the vocal in his headphones they ran through it again this time with the vocal in, and Steve nailed it.

He got paid about $750 for doing it, then, as it turns out, 'Train' had a huge impact on the career of the young, inexperienced Aerosmith. They went on to bigger and better things, becoming one of the highest paid, most domineering bands in Rock Music.

Unbeknownst to Steve, Douglas also enlisted his session companion Dick Wagner to play the solo over the second half simulated live ‘Yardbirds’ section.

Neither Hunter or Wagner got a credit on the album, as ‘ghosting’ as it’s sometimes called was fairly common practice at that time.

Hunter has no idea why he was asked to record the solo; as he says, it was none of his business. The rest of the band we’re all there, they were very nice to him and he was never asked to teach anybody what he played.

In 2013 Joe Perry played a solo on Steve's solo album 'The Manhattan Blues Project' (The Brooklyn Shuffle) alongside his buddy Johnny Depp, so clearly there are no hard feelings and why should there be.

Statement from Steve Hunter

"Aerosmith was in Studio C of The Record Plant and I was doing work with Bob Ezrin in Studio A. I had a long wait between dubs and was waiting in the lobby. Jack Douglas popped his head out of Studio C and asked "Hey, do you feel like playing? I said sure, so I grabbed my guitar and went in" "I had two run thru’s, then Jack said "great' that's it! That turned out to be the opening solos on 'Train Kept A Rollin’ " steve hunter 2/1/2015

Here is a selection of other classic solos from Steve Hunterer


Tom Callanan said...

I was a huge fan of Alice Cooper Group and recognized that this guitar sound was the same as what I heard on 'Muscle of Love'. I was once thrown out of a Legal Sea Foods in Chestnut Hill (where a member of Aerosmith was dining) for SUGGESTING that Joe Perry didn't play on that track. I saw Aerosmith back in the day at Boston Garden - and my basement band was better. I saw the original ACG in the same venue the previous year - and THEY WERE GREAT!

Victoria said...

I have been reading your posts regularly. I need to say that you are doing a fantastic job. Please keep up the great work.

Natalie said...

I just found out about this and regret not knowing sooner! Sounds amazing keep up the good work!

Tom Maynard said...

I once played in a band with John Connelly from Nuclear Assault and he told me that Steve Hunter played a part or two on one of their albums as well, but there is no mention of it here.

JMH said...

Hey Tom Callahan what was the name of that million selling song your band recorded? oh right I forgot your basement band didn't have a huge hIt record...or 10.

Joseph O'Keefe said...

I saw Aerosmith soon after their first album came out (still their best, IMHO) the first time I believe they played Detroit, with Roy Buchanan as,the opening act, probably at Ford Auditorium, or possibly Masonic or The Michigan Palace, not sure. The show was excellent, and my fellow guitarist buddy and me both thought Joe Perry blew "Telecaster guitar god" and his lame band off the stage. Next time we watched Aerosmith blow KISS off the stage in Detroit, no surprise there, sorry KISS fans, I'm not one.

Gandalf said...

I read an account online that Perry was having problems tackling the solo, and as producer, Jack made an executive decision to save the session/studio time. Of course, afterwards Perry got the feel of the song for live performances - apparently that day just wasn't his day. It happens. I do believe the 2nd half WAS a live track that had studio tinkering, however - it wasn't 'simulated.'

inyourmind said...

I love Joe Perry but he can’t play that lead like it sounds on the record, he just doesn’t play lead like that, he incorporates a lot of slide into his leads.

Brad Whitford is the one who plays that lead properly and that’s because he’s much more of a technical player, much more precise than Perry.

When I think of classic Aerosmith leads, most of them are by Brad Whitford.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Brad Whitford is more precise & calculated in his solos & Perry seems loose & kinda sloppy in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Lou Reed’s album Rock and Roll Animal was Hunter and Wagner’s masterpiece!

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