Rag Doll

Album: Permanent Vacation (1987)
Charted: 42 17

Songfacts®:

  • Like many other Aerosmith songs, this one is about sex. Most of the lyrics were written by Steven Tyler and Jim Vallance, who is a Canadian songwriter whose credits include "Summer Of '69" and several other Aerosmith songs, including "Deuces Are Wild." Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry came up with the riff and Vallance with the bass line. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Flor - Setubal, Portugal
  • The song was originally called "Rag Time," a title inspired by the New Orleans feel to the music and by his assortment of scarves. As detailed in Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith, Geffen Records guru John Kalodner loved the song but hated the title and subject matter, insisting that "Rag Time" means nothing to kids. After rejecting many other suggestions provided by Tyler and Vallance, he called for help, hiring the hit songwriter Holly Knight to fly to Vancouver to work on the song. She came up with the idea to change the title to "Rag Doll," and received a songwriting credit for her efforts.
  • Some of Holly Knights other credits include "The Best" and "Love Is A Battlefield." Holly told us about working on this song: "I was brought in to sort of fix it, be the doctor. And I don't really like doing that. I don't like just walking in and changing something that someone felt was the right thing to write, and then I'm supposed to come in, because sometimes they can be resentful of that in the future. But it used to have another title, and I came in and changed a few words. The song was written, and I always was regretful of the fact that I didn't get to write more with them and show them what I could do. But I've had many, many people tell me that the contribution I made is what made it a hit. Sometimes just turning the screw is what makes all the difference." (Check out our interview with Holly Knight.)
  • The lyrics, "Never see you leaving by the back door... man" are a reference to the blues song "Back Door Man." The line has a double meaning, as the girl has so much going for her that she doesn't have to sneak around, but the singer is willing to be her "Back Door Man," which is the guy who sneaks in to see her.
  • This was the third Aerosmith video directed by Marty Callner, following their clips for "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Angel," which were the first Aerosmith videos to get significant airplay on MTV. The "Rag Doll" video was shot in New Orleans during the band's 1988 tour.
  • Joe Perry played steel guitar on this track. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Michael - Morris County, NJ

Comments: 2

  • Dakota from Palatka, FlThis song was also featured on the Sega Genesis game Revolution X. The game itself is about Aerosmith.
  • Katie from Tulsa, OkWith all my friends, this song has came to be related to me and i adopted it as the song that best fits me!
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