Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler wrote this song with Desmond Child
, who is one of the most successful songwriters of his time. With Aerosmith on the ropes after releasing two underperforming albums (Rock in a Hard Place
(1982) and Done with Mirrors
(1985)), John Kalodner of Geffen Records insisted that they bring in outside writers to help restore them to their former glory. The band balked at first (sharing songwriting credits can be costly), but were impressed when Child helped them refine their raucous rocker "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)
" into a surefire hit.
Child's next composition for the band was "Angel," which unlike "Dude" sounded nothing like Aerosmith. It's a relationship song with none of the bawdy humor you would expect from the band. With Tyler pleading, "Come and save me tonight," there is a wuss factor to it that horrified longtime fans. Tyler knew he was compromising, and won't be putting the song on his highlight reel anytime soon. As John Kalodner explained in the band's biography Walk This Way
: "Tyler says that I ruined his career by making him write 'Angel' with Desmond."
There was a huge upside to the song: it was their biggest US hit to that point, charting at #3 and earning lots of radio play.