'Mama Kin' - Aerosmith


Writer: Steven Tyler

Producer: Adrian Barber

Recorded: Fall 1972 at Intermedia Studios, Boston

Released: January 1973

Players: Steven Tyler--vocals, harmonica, wood flute
Joe Perry--guitar
Brad Whitford--guitar
Tom Hamilton--bass
Joey Kramer--drums
David Woodford--saxophone
Album: Aerosmith (Columbia, 1973)

"Mama Kin" was a song Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler began writing prior to the band's formation. He started working on it in drummer and childhood friend Joey Kramer's garage. "One day I grabbed this old guitar...an acoustic with no strings. It had snow on it and was so warped you could shoot arrows with it. I wedged it between the door and let it dry out for a week. I looked at it for about two days, put four strings on it--which is all it would take because it was so warped--gobbled two Tuinals and went down to the basement."

Tyler acknowledges he copped the main riff in "Mama Kin" from the British band Bloodwyn Pig, while the lyrics came from improvised scatting. "I loved that song so much. I had so much confidence in it that I had 'Ma Kin' tattooed on my arm."

Guitarist Joe Perry says he initially had reservations about the song. "Steven obviously loved that one--I mean, he did have (the title) tattooed on his arm. But when I first heard it, I was afraid that the chords were too simple. But inevitably, the best ones are the easy ones."

Though never released as a single, "Mama Kin" became a popular album track on rock radio and a fan favorite that became a staple of Aerosmith's concert repertoire.

The Aerosmith album initially fared poorly, reaching just Number 166 on the Billboard 200 chart. But when the single "Dream On" was re-released in 1976, it became a Number Six smash and reinvigorated the debut album's sales. Aerosmith ultimately reached Number 21 and has sold more than two million copies.