The rendition wasn’t honored by the Grammy Awards with a nomination at the time, but 34 years later the iconic tag-team of Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. corrected the oversight by reminding viewers that their 1986 rap-rock classic version of “Walk This Way” could still bang.
Featuring Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Steven Tyler alongside Run-D.M.C.'s Reverend Run and DMC (the trio’s other member, Jam Master Jay, died in 2002), the record, noted Common in introducing Aerosmith, “broke down the barriers between rock and rap and changed the game forever.”
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Aerosmith was on the agenda because the band was given the MusiCares Person of the Year at the non-profit’s annual Grammy-week charity event. The band opened with their 1993 hit “Living on the Edge,” but stopped abruptly. “You know what, let’s try something different,” Perry said, before a wall dropped to reveal Run-D.M.C. Armed with a pair of turntables and two DJs, Rev. Run and DMC amped up the proceedings, and attendees grooving in aisles to a throwback jam.
One musician, however, was notably absent during the “Walk This Way” performance: Aerosmith drumnmer Joey Kramer, who was barred from the band’s rehearsals earlier this month.. The band’s longtime drummer had been sidelined by injury in the spring, but was hoping to return for Sunday’s high-profile gig. Kramer unsuccessfully sued Aerosmith to regain his drummer status. He was, however, honored with the rest of the band at the MusiCares event.
And the beat went on at Staples Center, as the rockers and the rappers combined styles to remind listeners of a time when the two genres had yet to co-mingle. Aerosmith have been nominated for 14 awards, and won four of them, most famously for “Janie’s Got a Gun” and “Crazy.” For their part, Run-D.M.C. was nominated in 1986 for “Raising Hell” in the R&B performance by a duo or group with vocal.