Nine Lives (Aerosmith album)

Nine Lives
Aerosmith - Nine Lives.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 18, 1997 (1997-03-18)[1]
RecordedSeptember–November 1996
  • Avatar, New York City
  • The Boneyard
GenreHard rock
Aerosmith chronology
Get a Grip
Nine Lives
Just Push Play
Alternative Cover
Original album cover, replaced due to controversy.
Original album cover, replaced due to controversy.
Singles from Nine Lives
  1. "Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)"
    Released: February 11, 1997
  2. "Hole in My Soul"
    Released: August 5, 1997
  3. "Pink"
    Released: November 18, 1997
  4. "Full Circle"
    Released: 1997

Nine Lives is the twelfth studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released on March 18, 1997. The album was produced by Aerosmith and Kevin Shirley, and was the band's first studio album released by Columbia Records since 1982's Rock in a Hard Place. It peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. One of the album's singles, "Pink", won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.


Early recordings took place at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, where the band worked with producer Glen Ballard. There, Steven Tyler and Ballard co-wrote the lyrics for "Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)", "Taste of India" and "Pink".[2] Other collaborators, including Desmond Child and Taylor Rhodes, joined Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry to write songs. Child previously collaborated with Aerosmith on such hits as "Angel," "Crazy" and "Dude (Looks like a Lady)."

Only a week before rehearsals, drummer Joey Kramer was suffering from depression, having grieved the loss of his father a few years prior.[3] With Kramer unavailable, rumors began to circulate that the band would disband. Steve Ferrone was brought in to play drums until Kramer was able to return.[2] "I came back with a nice perspective on what I bring to the table in Aerosmith," Kramer reflected. "That was healthy for me. We ended up rerecording because people were listening to the tracks and were saying some negative stuff about it and saying the band didn't sound the same."[4]

Originally set for a summer release in 1996, the album was delayed, because Columbia Records felt dissatisfied with the nine tracks that Aerosmith and Ballard had produced.[5] Further issues occurred in July that year, when the band asked their manager Tim Collins to step down after almost twelve years of partnership.[6] In his 2014 autobiography Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith, Perry recounted that Aerosmith felt betrayed by Collins, as he would pit the members against one another.[1] With their longtime manager gone, the band decided to hire in-house producer Kevin Shirley, and set up at Avatar Studios in New York City. Shirley, who had also worked with Journey, helped with the album's overtones and instruments, particularly the guitar sounds. In a 1997 MTV special promoting the making of Nine Lives, Tyler declared: "He's got it somewhere stuck between Toys in the Attic and Rocks."[7]

The new sessions began in September 1996, and continued to November. Following the shift in production, Kramer recovered from his depression, and returned to the studio.[2] Instead of playing his tracks over Ferrone's, the band rerecorded from scratch on all of the completed tracks with Kramer.[3] John Kalodner, Columbia's A&R executive was brought back to supervise the project, after he had been pushed off the production in Florida by Collins. He helped trim the twenty-four songs that had been written to thirteen.[2] Initially, the band called the album "Vindaloo"[5] after adding in elements of Indian music throughout some of the songs, including a sarangi intro by Ramesh Mishra on the song, "Taste of India". But upon completing the track "Nine Lives", the band felt that would make the perfect title, serving as a metaphor for the album's troubled conception.


The booklet for Nine Lives contains 12 pieces of album art (including the cover). Each picture contains a smaller version of the previous picture within itself. The final picture is included in the first, creating an infinite loop. It was designed by Stefan Sagmeister.

The original cover art, inspired by a painting in a book by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, featured Lord Krishna (with a cat's head and female breasts) dancing on the head of the snake demon, Kāliyā. The Hindu community protested, feeling the artwork was offensive. The band had been unaware of the source of the artwork, and the record company apologized, leading to the next prints removing the art from the cover and booklet.[8][9] The new cover featured a cat tied to a circus knife-thrower’s wheel.[10]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[11]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[12]
Robert Christgau(neither)[13]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[14]

In his AllMusic review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine compared Nine Lives to previous Aerosmith albums stating, “Nine Lives, in contrast, is overlabored, with Aerosmith making a conscious effort to sound hip and vibrant, which ironically simply makes them sound tired." He also criticized the album's troubled production saying, "Not only are the performances perfunctory, but the songs aren't catchy no matter how hard it tries, 'Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)' never develops a hook, and it is not an exception".[11] Elysa Gardner from Rolling Stone was more favorable in her 1997 review concluding, "For those who simply can't abide a collection of Aerosmith tunes without its share of power ballads, Nine Lives doesn't disappoint".[14]


Some releases of Nine Lives feature different track listings, most notably the two Japanese editions which both feature the song "Fall Together". The song was included as a B-side on the album's first single "Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)". The European re-release of the album's third single "Pink", features the B-side "What Kind of Love Are You On". The song was originally titled "What Kind of Lover You Want", and was one of many outtakes left from the recording sessions in Florida.[15] The song was re-titled "What Kind of Love Are You On" and featured in the 1998 movie Armageddon, as well as its associated soundtrack.[15] Another outttake titled "When the Monkeys Come" was reworked by the band in 2000 to promote the release of Charlie's Angels.[citation needed] The song's original title was changed to "Angel's Eye", with some of the lyrics being rewritten to suit the movie's style.[citation needed] Other unfinished tracks that were discarded during the recording sessions in Florida include, "Bacon Biscuit Blues", " Bridges Are Burning", "Heart of Passion", "Loretta" and "Trouble". Tyler also mentioned a song called "Where the Sun Never Shines" during an MTV interview shortly after the album's release.[16]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Nine Lives"Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Marti Frederiksen4:01
2."Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)"Tyler, Perry, Glen Ballard3:26
3."Hole in My Soul"Tyler, Perry, Desmond Child6:10
4."Taste of India"Tyler, Perry, Ballard5:53
Side two
5."Full Circle"Tyler, Taylor Rhodes5:01
6."Something's Gotta Give"Tyler, Perry, Frederiksen3:37
7."Ain't That a Bitch"Tyler, Perry, Child5:25
8."The Farm"Tyler, Perry, Mark Hudson, Steve Dudas4:27
Side three
9."Crash"Tyler, Perry, Hudson, Dominic Miller4:26
10."Kiss Your Past Good-Bye"Tyler, Hudson4:32
11."Pink"Tyler, Richard Supa, Ballard3:55
Side four
12."Attitude Adjustment"Tyler, Perry, Frederiksen3:45
13."Fallen Angels"Tyler, Perry, Supa8:16
Total length:1:02:54


Additional personnel


  • Producers – Kevin Shirley and Aerosmith
  • Engineers – Mark Hudson, Joe Perry, Rory Romano, Elliot Scheiner, Kevin Shirley, Steven Tyler
  • Second engineer – Rory Romano
  • Mixing – Elliot Scheiner, Kevin Shirley
  • Mastering – Leon Zervos
  • Programming – Sander Selover
  • Horn arrangements – David Campbell, Steven Tyler
  • String arrangements – David Campbell
  • Guitar technicians – Lisa Sharken, Jim Survis
  • Production engineer – David Frangioni
  • Art direction – Christopher Austopchuk, Gail Marowitz
  • Photo art direction – Christopher Austopchuk, Gail Marowitz
  • Photography – F. Scott Schafer
  • Calligraphy – Jeanne Greco
  • Stylist – Fiona Williams-Chappel



Chart (1997) Peak
Australian Top 50 Albums[17] 13
Austrian Top 75 Albums[18] 2
Flanders, Belgium 100 Albums[19] 11
Wallonia, Belgium 100 Albums[20] 5
Canadian Albums Chart[21] 2
Finnish Top 50 Albums[22] 1
French Top 100 Albums[23] 5
German Albums[24] 3
Japanese Albums Chart[25] 3
Netherlands Top 100 Albums[26] 17
New Zealand Top 40 Albums[27] 14
Norwegian Top 40 Albums[28] 6
Spain (AFYVE)[29] 5
Swedish Top 60 Albums[30] 3
Swiss Top 100 Albums[31] 3
UK Albums Chart[32] 4
US Billboard 200[21] 1

Year-end charts

Chart (1997) Position
German Albums Chart[33] 43
Japanese Albums Chart 43


Year Single Chart Position
1997 "Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)" Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
Top 40 Mainstream 29
The Billboard Hot 100 35
"Hole in My Soul" Mainstream Rock Tracks 4
The Billboard Hot 100 51
Top 40 Mainstream 63
"Nine Lives" Mainstream Rock Tracks 37
"Pink" Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
Top 40 Mainstream 23
"Taste of India" Mainstream Rock Tracks 3
1998 "Pink" The Billboard Hot 100 27


Organization Level Date
IFPI - Finland Gold[34] 1997
BVMI - Germany Gold[35]
Swiss Music Charts - Switzerland Gold[36]
Swiss Music Charts - Switzerland Platinum[36]
BPI - UK Silver[37] March 1, 1997
Gold[37] July 22, 2013
RIAA - USA Gold[38] May 6, 1997
Platinum[38] May 16, 1997
2× Platinum[38] June 8, 1998
CRIA – Canada Gold Mar 31, 1997
Platinum Mar 31, 1997
2× Platinum Mar 31, 1997
3× Platinum Oct 30, 1998
IFPI - Austria Gold[39] May 12, 1997
ZPAV - Poland Gold[40] Sep 16, 1997
ABPD - Brazil Gold[41] 1999
Platinum[41] 2007


Grammy Awards

Year Winner Category
1998 "Pink" Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal


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  3. ^ a b Joey Kramer; Patrick, William (2009). Hit Hard: A Story Of Hitting Rock Bottom At The Top. HarperOne. ISBN 0061887943. Retrieved July 10th, 2016
  4. ^ Chamberlain, Rich (May 2017). "The stories behind the songs: Aerosmith – I don't want to miss a thing". Classic Rock. No. 235. p. 26.
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  10. ^ Shock and Awe: Top 10 Controversial Album Covers
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  12. ^ Browne, David (1997-03-14). "Nine Lives Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Nine Lives". Robert Christgau.
  14. ^ a b Elysa Gardner (1997-02-21). "Nine Lives | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-01-11.
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External links[edit]