Rag Doll (Aerosmith song)

Rag Doll (Aerosmith song)

"Rag Doll"
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Permanent Vacation
B-side "St. John", "Rag Doll (Rockapella Mix)"
Released 1988
Format Cassette, CD, Record
Recorded 1987
Genre Hard rock, blues rock, funk rock
Length 4:24
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Steven Tyler
Joe Perry
Jim Vallance
Holly Knight
Producer(s) Bruce Fairbairn
Aerosmith singles chronology
"Rag Doll"
"Love in an Elevator"
Alternative cover

"Rag Doll" is a song by American hard rock band Aerosmith. It is from the 1987 album Permanent Vacation. It was released as the final single from the album in 1988. It was written by Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Jim Vallance, and Holly Knight.


  • Song origin 1
  • Chart performance 2
  • Song structure 3
  • Notable B-Side 4
  • Music video 5
  • Cover versions 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Song origin

The song's lyrics were primarily written by Tyler and Vallance, Perry originating the guitar riff, and Vallance writing the bass line. The song was originally titled "Rag Time" but John Kalodner didn't like that, so Holly Knight was called in to help change that lyric. She suggested "Rag Doll", which was actually another title Steven and Jim had thought of.

Chart performance

It peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100, #12 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and #42 on the UK charts.

Song structure

The song is notable for drummer Joey Kramer's 1-2-1-2 lead beat in the beginning of the song, Joe Perry's slide guitar, and a horn section arranged by Tom Keenlyside.[1] The song is in B minor. The melody and lyrics to the second verse are based on the vocal countermelody of the Rolling Stones' cover of Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On" that appears on Got Live If You Want It! in which Keith Richards sings "Yes I'm movin'" in response to Mick Jagger singing "I'm movin' on". The music on the radio single differed from the album version in having a more urgent, driving beat, fueled by Tom Hamilton's bass, and slightly different sax notes. This version had an earlier fadeout, omitting the classic clarinet and trumpet duet behind Tyler's scat singing. The video (see below) is based on the album version of the song.

Notable B-Side

The B-Side of the Maxi for "Rag Doll" contains a version of the main song, called "Rockapella Mix". This is a much sought-after version of the song, with a lot of the instruments missing from the track, and just an occasional bass drum.

Music video

The music video (directed by Marty Callner) flashes back and forth between an Aerosmith concert at Freedom Hall Civic Center and the Sigma Nu Fraternity house, both in Johnson City, TN. Other locations include Bourbon Street and Ryan's Irish Pub, both in New Orleans. In the video's closing moments, Steven Tyler is driving a Shelby Cobra down Hamilton Street in Johnson City.

Cover versions

Ted Nugent, Tony Franklin, Vinnie Colaiuta and Derek Sherinian covered the song for the Aerosmith tribute album Not the Same Old Song and Dance (Eagle Records, 1999). Backing vocals were by David Glen Eisley.


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External links