Angel

Album: Permanent Vacation (1987)
Charted: 69 3

Songfacts®:

  • 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.
  • This slick ballad was not typical of Aerosmith's work, but the song was a hit and led to several successful slow songs over the next few years, including "Amazing" and "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing." Since the band had a huge catalog of rockers and a history of unruly behavior, they managed to avoid the Foreigner trap and maintain their status as a rock band despite the occasional forays into ballad territory. It helped that their next single was "Rag Doll," which picked up the pace.
  • The music video for this song did very well on MTV. Their previous clip, for "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)," was Aerosmith's first to get heavy rotation on the network, so they used the same director on "Angel": Marty Callner.

    The video is comprised of footage taken from shows on their 1988 North American tour mixed with a liberal helping of special effects and familiar rock video shots like "guitarist on deserted highway," "band in back alley" and "smashing a wall." With solid production values, a hit song and an established band, there was no way MTV wasn't going to play this video.
  • You might notice some similarity between this song and the early Aerosmith hit "Dream On." When Steven Tyler sat down to write with Desmond Child, he played him the chord to "Dream On" to get them started. They had the bones of "Angel" together a short time later.

Comments: 16

  • Abraham from JakartaAerosmith was fave band of my mom's family. I remembered 25 years ago this month it's my first, also as firstimer day I workin onboard cruise ship. I joined ship @ Vancouver (when Alaska season started) After finished dinner service in dining room I think in my bed maybe It would be nice if there's just a little spliff for me to relax. You know suddenly there's someone knockin on my cabin door. when I open there's 2 guy one said hey you come w/us . They bring me into a big that occupied for 6 person. when I came in I smell weed all over cabin. F*#k yeah! I start to introduce myself, we havin good times and when we get High one of those play Big Ones CD and when song Angel all of us sing it together Oh, my Jesus. Oh memories It's so cool. :)
  • Bill from East Bay, CaliforniaTo Drew from B'Hama, AL.
    Check your AC/DC catalog... you must be pronouncing some of the words wrong to "Touch Too Much" where they refer to "She had the face of an angel" and "the body of Venus", so yeah, you're wrong, but I get what you were trying to convey. You just picked a bad example.
    Cheers, anyway!
  • Gino from HoustonBare with me on this one and lets get some facts straight.......I am the original Desmond Child, the Mutt in the Lange and now the Max Martin go to guy amongst many other pseudonyms. I co-wrote the chorus and some of the lyrics. I attended a college in Nacanowhere where it became ghost town from the walk from my dorm (the units) to the mail room which was right near the music room. I usually walked through ghost town to play piano at the music room. Many events occurred to make this walk a ghost town. It was my senior year in college and it was Friday night when I took a walk through ghost town to the mail room. There was a guy sitting at the mail room, and we started to chat. I knew for sure that I was not going to be stranded at this college or heading home during this spring break. We finally came up with Port Aransas, and away we traveled. I got totally wasted, and I was 21 at the time. He drove, and he was not legal to drink. Just when we arrived to Port Aransas he tried to pick-up a girl which did not go well, so he raced off down the beach. I remember people dodging out of the way of his car. A police officer pulled us over. I stumbled out of the car wasted, and the officer almost put a whipping (arrest) on me, but I was able to stand straight and not move - I think. He was able to talk his way out of trouble. The next day I over heard someone say that all the jails at Port Aransas and Corpus Christi were filled early the previous night. I stayed wasted pretty well 24-7 the whole time. I never thought there would be so many girls at Port Aransas. The beaches were full from the pier at Port Aransas all the way down the beach to Corpus Christi. Oh, yeah the guy that drove hooked up with the girl that rejected him when we arrived. He also got her pregnant I found out later. I went home Saturday where the song Angel started to form on paper. I thought about the many incidents at Nacanowhere traveling through ghost town where I survived. There were so many babes that week at Port Aransas. I returned to Nacanowhere Sunday night and headed to the piano room. I had the tune in my mind and started to sing some of the song and the chorus. As I approached the mail room there were three girls approaching from a distance, and Steven Tyler at the opposite side of the girls near the residence dorm that was suppose to be under renovation all three years I attended. At least I thought this dorm was under renovation. He started to sing the song and took off back to the dorm. I went into the mail room hoping the three girls would come into the mail room and show some approval to the song. The girls never came into the mail room, so I gave up on the song, and I did not go to the music room to try and compose some music. I did not have enough training at the time to compose music to the lyrics anyway, but I did compose some tunes. Oh yeah, while at Port Aransas we stayed at a placed owned by Johnny Cash's 3rd cousin. It was the only place left with vacancies at $40 a night - that calculates to $20 a piece a night.
  • Morgan from Fredericksburg, VaA lot of people give so much credit to Tyler but even Tyler gives a majority of the credit to Desmond Child for writing Angel. Child also wrote many other hits for Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Cooper, Kiss and Cher. Angel only took Child 45 min to write.

    -Morgan, Fredericksburg, Va
  • Steve from Hillsboro, NhThe part of the video with the "angel" above the stage/crowd was filmed at the Worcester Centrum. I was there.
  • Robert from Waltham, MaAnother example of selling your soul by having a pop songwriter write a song for your rock band. If they're gonna use a songwriter to write most of their stuff they, in my opinion, should get the guy who wrote some of the stuff on Toys In The Attic and Rocks. Much less wimpy.
  • Drew from B'ham, AlOf all bands, Aerosmith. Emotional use of the word "angel" in the '80s. The last thing I'd expect of a (morally) wild band like Aerosmith. I'll bet AC/DC never used the term "angel" or made any slow, emotional recording. But that's as far as I know; I could be wrong. As always, several bands have a side to them I have probably never heard about.
  • Homer from Springfield, KyI love this song! I think this and I don't wanna miss a thing are my favorite ballads by Aerosmith.
  • Brittney from Orlando, Flsteven tyler is the best singer that ever lived ! i love this song to nd who cares if its from another song? exactly no one. Because this song is kick a**!
  • Nishit from MumbaiSteven Tyler really shows off his voice in this one, and the way he cries out for his angel is absolutely brilliant..
  • Robert from Los Angeles, Caright on ozz man, every once in a while you need to hear that slow ballad from a great hard rock band. it proves they can still rock and are not confied to one style.
  • Lauren from WrexhamThat song by The Who is called "Baba O'Riley".
  • Ozzi from Brookhaven, Pathis is a great love song from Aerosmith, I love Aerosmith as a hard rock band, but once in awhile you need that slow song by the heavy rockin band. Songs like this and every rose has its thorn by Poison and home sweet home by Motley Crue you need to hear, just to show that these bands still kick ass even when they slow down there songs.
  • Steven from Vancouver, WaActually, Larry is right. In the very beginning, the first three chords are the same as The Who's "Teenage Wasteland". But it's hardly noticable since the tempo is a little different. It's not like Aerosmith was riping off The Who though.
  • Chris from Madison, WiYeah okay except not at all... in any way shape or form.... nice try though Larry
  • Larry from Knoxville, TnThe intro to this song is the exact same as The Who's "Teenage Wasteland"
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