One of your favorite rock classics has an unusual origin, related to – of all things – a comedy by Mel Brooks. The title of the 1975 Aerosmith song “Walk This Way”, known for singer Steven Tyler’s shrill vocals and iconic guitar riff, was directly inspired by the comedy horror film “Young Frankenstein”.
The title was indeed taken from a line spoken during the film, as confirmed by the members of the group in a 2014 interview with the Wall Street Journal. A decade after the original release of “Walk This Way,” the group teamed up with rap group Run-DMC to release a cover of the song with a music video.
The remake was widely credited with bridging the rock-rap divide in the ’80s, and in 2014 was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. That year, lead guitarist Joe Perry and Tyler got together to discuss the song’s origins.
According to Perry:
Halfway through recording our âToys in the Atticâ album in the early ’75s at the Record Plant in New York, we were stuck. Writing was a long and difficult process for us at that time. Our first two albums were mostly songs we played in clubs. For “Toys” we wrote three or four songs and then we had to write the rest in the studio. We decided to try the song I made up in Hawaii, but we didn’t have any lyrics or title yet. We took a break.
Steven, Joey, Tom [Hamilton], Brad [Whitford] and [producer] Jack [Douglas] went down to Times Square to see “Young Frankenstein” by Mel Brooks, which was in theaters at the time. I had seen it before, so I stayed behind and stayed on the roof. When the guys came back, they were throwing lines from the movie at each other. They were laughing at Marty Feldman greeting Gene Wilder at the castle gate and telling him to follow him. “Walk this way,” he said with a limp, handing Wilder his staff so he could walk in that direction as well. While all of this was going on, Jack stopped and said, “Hey, ‘walking this way’ might be a good title for the song.” We agree. But we still needed words.
The scene from the film can be viewed here:
And here is the clip of their cover of “Walk This Way” and their collaboration with Run-DMC
Tyler ended up writing the rest of the song, but the title of it was taken directly from the Brooks comedy movie. We therefore evaluate this statement as “True”.