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by celebrities, mon ey, cars, whatever. That is not to say that I don't appreciate talent, beauty, a nd aesthetics. I love films, theater, opera, ballet, music, and art. But it has to be the very best. I guess you might say I'm a cultural snob. Give me Puccini, Bach, Beethoven, and Shakespeare. Choreographers like Balanchine and Bob Fosse. Performers like Baryshnikov and Susanne Farrell. And DeNiro, Pacino, Depp, Mile s Davis, Coltrane, Parker, Chris Botti and Yo Yo Ma. As well as Playwrights like Ibsen, O'Neill and Mamet and writers like Garcia Lorca. And I can't leave out p ainters like Matisse, Renoir, and Degas. I've seen, read or read about every sin gle one of them. And those experiences have certainly infused and influenced my taste in the arts. So why am I impressed with Steven Tyler? One reason is because I love rock music and he's an icon. My kids grew up in the 70s and I was exposed to all of it. An other reason is I think Tyler is an unusually fine talent and performer, althoug h I must admit I was not a fan until very recently. When he became a judge on Am erican Idol, I wanted to know all about him. So I started reading articles and s canning the net for information about him. Turns out he's a pretty nice, compass ionate guy. Yes, he had a drug problem at one time, but he dug himself out of it and I think that is to be admired. Then, after seeing and hearing several of his concerts and videos, I became awar e of how talented he is and what a brilliant performer. What really locked it in for me was a concert I saw him do with Chris Botti, amazing jazz trumpet player , and the Boston Pops orchestra. I've posted it here so you can see what I mean. If you are not a Rock enthusiast, you might wonder why Tyler is screaming throug h most of the first piece. It's certainly not because he can't sing without doin g so, as is evidenced in the second song, Smile. No, the screaming is part of a rock singer's persona and so they can be heard above the electric guitars. Also part of that persona is flamboyant clothing, long hair, jewelry, makeup, and out rageous behavior on stage. It all adds to the theatrics that make rock what it i s. And Tyler is masterful when it comes to all this, besides being a damned good singer. He certainly demands attention and has thousands of followers. Some people are turned off by him. They forget the extreme dress and behavior is all part of the package. They don't think of it in terms of creating a persona. And it is a persona. The outrageous behavior is only part of the real person, a s is evidenced when you see him in another venue, such as American Idol. His war mth, humor, and sensitivity come through loud and strong. Yes, he's wearing weir d stuff...feathers, long coats, and ruffled shirts. And yes he's saying some wei rd stuff, but that's all part of the package. After all he's in show business an d extremes are his high cards. They are part of his brand, so to speak. In a review, Richard Rushfield, a former Times staffer and author of the book Am erican Idol: The Untold Story , said: "Amazing singer and front man, funny, sarc astic, off-the-wall, quirky Italian. Yes, thatâ s Tyler but did you know he was also kind, generous, caring and a wonderful father? Steven Tyler: rock legend, Liv Ty ler's dad, and now American Idol judge has been in show business so long, we fee l like we practically know the guy. "Tyler is a phenomenon in himself," says Rushfield "[he} gives some of the thril ls that the Osbournes brought, of seeing one of the few true gods of rock in a s eemingly relaxed setting. His presence in the early episodes has brought a lot o f energy and life to a production that had felt listless and bored with itself i n recent years." Tyler is extremely seductive. If you havenâ t done so already, just watch him for a while, youâ ll see what I mean. Many would agree that rock's all-time charismatic and entertaining frontman woul
d have to be Steven Tyler. Born Steven Victor Tallarico on March 26, 1948 (just outside New York City in Yonkers), he began playing drums at an early age, but e ventually switched to vocals after discovering the Beatles, as well as the tough er blues rock of the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds. After moving to Boston in the late '60s, Tallarico hooked up with two members of an up-and-coming outfit called the Jam Band, guitarist Joe Perry and bassist Tom Hamilton, and after fin ding drummer Joey Kramer and second guitarist Ray Tabano (who was eventually rep laced with Brad Whitford), renamed themselves Aerosmith. The band became a regional sensation, combining the blues sleaze of the Stones/Y ardbirds, as well as the power of such hard rock acts as Led Zeppelin and Deep P urple, as Steven (who by now had changed his name to "Steven Tyler") proved to h ave a flair for the outrageous -- his stage outfits resembled a rock & roll gyps y look, while long scarves dangled from his microphone stand. Tyler, who was also known for his heavy drug and alcohol abuse in the 1970s and early 1980s, completed drug rehabilitation in 1986 and had remained sober for ov er 20 years. He recently made headlines in May 2008 when he checked into the Las Encinas Hospital's drug rehabilitation clinic in Pasadena, California, for subs tance abuse "Of all the things I ever lost, I miss my mind the most." said Tyler Thanks to his unforgettable one-liners and general rockstar charisma, Steven Tyl er, 63, has become an unexpected fan favorite of the American Idol audience. The legendary rocker might be known for his history of hard-living, but he insis ts that underneath the wild hair, tight pants, and wailing voice beats the heart of a down-home boy from Yonkers, New York. During the American Idol event on Monday night during the 28th annual William S. Paley Television Festival in Los Angeles, Tyler showed his softer side and expl ained why he has always had more in common with middle America than people reali ze. Tyler is 63 today and on the Idol show Thursday, Stevie Wonder, the contestants and the other judges wished him a happy birthday. He appeared to be surprised an d very happy. (See video on YouTube.) Also, below is one of my favorite performa nces of Tyler. his tribute to the Beetles Paul McCartney (also on YouTube)