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August 28

Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C.

The new take on “Walk This Way” revived Aerosmith’s flagging fortunes and brought Run-D.M.C.—and rap in general—into the mainstream.

Photo by Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

1975: Rock 'n' Rap
Aerosmith first releases “Walk This Way”
When the rock band Aerosmith cut this single in the mid 1970s, they probably didn’t know they were setting the stage for a mash-up of rock and rap a decade down the road.

In 1986, Aerosmith worked with rap duo Run-D.M.C. to make a new version of the song. Its tempo and rapid-fire lyrics lent themselves well to the full rap treatment. Aerosmith’s singer Steven Tyler and both halves of Run-D.M.C.—Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels—shared singing/rapping duties on the new version.

The fun video for the remake—in which Tyler feigns indignation at the interlopers rapping his song, then dances with them—only helped the song rocket up the charts. It was the first major hit featuring the melding of rock and rap music.
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