Monkey on My Back

"Monkey on My Back"
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Pump
FormatVinyl record, Cassette, CD
Songwriter(s)Joe Perry and Steven Tyler
Producer(s)Bruce Fairbairn
Aerosmith singles chronology
"The Other Side"
"Monkey on My Back"
"Love Me Two Times"

"Monkey on My Back" is a song by American hard rock band Aerosmith. Written by lead singer Steven Tyler and lead guitarist Joe Perry, the song was released on the band's 1989 album Pump. It was released as a promotional single to rock radio in 1990, where it reached No. 17 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

Song information[edit]

The song is one of Aerosmith's most straightforward songs about how the band overcame drug abuse and addiction, and got the "monkey off their back." In the video The Making of Pump, Steven Tyler discusses how it was one of the few songs on Pump with profane lyrics, in the line "feeding that fuckin' monkey on my back". But Tyler felt he needed to make use of the word, to be more harsh and garner more attention on the issue. He felt it would make kids' ears perk up and listen to the lyrics and message of the song, which was more effective in telling the consequences of drug use, rather than the attitude of the time which was simply "just say no".

Live performances[edit]

The band performed the song heavily on the Pump Tour from 1989–1990 and also on other tours throughout the 1990s. Additionally, the band performed the song at several famous televised performances, including on Saturday Night Live on February 21, 1990 as well as at their MTV Unplugged performance on September 18, 1990.

"Monkey on My Back" was also included on the band's 1998 live compilation A Little South of Sanity.