This morning, we read the news that the surviving members of Run-DMC would be flying out to London to perform “Walk This Way” with Aerosmith at the Hyde Park Calling festival. The news of what, by our count, is approximately the 354,945th live performance of the collaborative cover since its original release in 1986 made us wonder when, if ever, we’d be able to listen to the song without instinctively groaning “Oh man, not again.”
Look, we know that, as far as fusing hip-hop and rock, “Walk This Way” is an important song–the symbolic breaking down of the wall between Run-DMC’s and Aerosmith’s studios was indeed a huge moment for music. But we live in a time where every promotional opportunity possible gets wrung out of any slightly important cultural artifact, resulting in trainwrecks like the Super Bowl performance of the song, which was Run-DMC free and had that whole Britney-wearing-socks-on-her-arms thing. And then there’s the series of increasingly bizarre “Walk This Way” covers, all of which are trying to hitch their wagon to its “classic” status while neutering and/or confusing the over-the-top sexual innuendos that are pretty much the entire point. (Exhibit A.) Those refractions result in the current state of the song: It’s a tarnished idol that’s ready to accept all comers–and we don’t mean that in a flirty way, but a desperate one.
So please, Aerosmith: Make this performance of “Walk This Way,” starring you and Run-DMC and whoever else you manage to drag up on stage with you, your last–or even, your last for a while. Give the track a rest, stop allowing people to cover it, and let it breathe so it can regain some of its stature, or at least be heard in either of its recorded forms once in a while. Just think: The moratorium will allow you guys to pick some other gems from your catalog, thus reminding people that you have a huge, purchasable catalog of excellent rock tracks. (Not that you asked, but we’d start with “Lick And A Promise” or “Toys In The Attic.” Or, hell, even “Voodoo Medicine Man.”)
AEROSMITH To Reunite With RUN DMC At London Gig? [Blabbermouth]