Innocent Man

“Innocent Man” is a song left out of the Nine Lives album. Originally written during the 1996 session and produced by Glen Ballard in the South Beach studios. At the time Sony rejected it as “they were looking for something else”, while the band said it sounded like “some other band trying to do an Aerosmith song”. It was later considered for inclusion in “Just Push Play” but was still left behind.

Tyler mentioned the song to Billboard in 1999, incorrectly referring to writing it in 1998 (when clearly it was written by 1996, or before), but it could mean that it was revisited and considered to be included in the Armageddon soundtrack:

“We have a lot of songs from the last tour and songs that I wrote when I hurt my leg last year, including ‘Innocent Man,’ which we wrote with songwriter Mark Hudson.” – Steven Tyler

The 1996 demo starts with a single piano melody with Tyler’s “uuu’s” harmonising, to later welcome the rest of the band for a rocking intro that features a rather dissonant piano on the background. Verses are slow and dark, with a riff in the key of Am and Perry adding often repetitive guitar fills in between lines. A problem with part of the chorus, and other instrumental parts, is the fact that their melodies are unmemorable, simply not catchy enough. The chorus feels slow, not powerful, and fails to make use of Tyler’s trademark high pitched vocals. The guitar solo included is just a place holder and could use further development. The demo includes several layers of back vocals, synth-orchestral fills and an outro in the key of Em that leads to an extended ending jam from the band, resulting in a +5 minute-long demo in need of additional production work. Hudson is known for trying to write in reference to The Beatles in all his songs, this link is not as prominently in this demo, other that a slight keyboard reminiscing that of “Strawberry Fields Forever”.

Lyrics talk about drug abuse, the tragedy of young lives trapped in addiction, the struggle to escape them, begging for god’s forgiveness and mercy to confront a life in pain. They make reference to excess in drinking, smoking cigarettes, pot and heroin. Tyler’s own experience and testimony as a recovering drug addict point to the fact of constantly “chasing the high”, looking to recreate the same sensation of the first high every time he consumed, augmenting the dose every time when failing to achieve it, leading to experimenting with different substance abuse. It could also be a retrospective of Tyler’s live, looking back and wondering how he survived his journey from being an innocent teenager throughout his dark drug years in the early 80’s. They might additionally be referencing fail relationships that can come as consequence of excess and abuse, with the “innocent girl” possibly being a reflection of Tyler’s ex-wife, Cyrinda Foxe.

Innocent Man BMI entry

The official song copyright information also credit Joe Perry and Marti Frederiksen as co-writers. Fans got to ask Mark Hudson himself about the song (march 10th, 2006, at the Mount Blue restaurant, MA), whom gladly surprised that fans knew about the song, asked fans to pass on the comment to Tyler and to ask him to get the song released. Tyler was hesitant to further comment on the song, but acknowledged its existence.

Later that year Hudson would also confirm (through his MySpace account) that the band had completely re-worked the song in the studio. This information seems to be corroborated in the song titles listed on the whiteboard in the Pandora’s Box studio during the 2006/2007 sessions.

Further more, during a 2007 online chat for Boston.com, Joey Kramer confirmed, yet again, ongoing work on the song:

F_I_N_E___Guest_: What’s your favourite song that you are working on for the new album?
Joey_Kramer: It’s a song called “Innocent Man.”

Innocent Man
(Mark Hudson, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Marti Frederiksen)

What ever happened to the innocent man?
21 years later he don’t understand,
if god wanted him to fly, he would’ve given him wings,
now his life becomes a symphony without the strings,

What ever happened to the innocent girl?
she became a victim of a fucked up world,
she didn’t fit into the master plan,
because a woman shouldn’t be a man,

Purgatory’s waitin’, hail Mary take my pain way,
Drinkin’, flex my arms, smokin’ 20 packs of blunts a day,
Holy roll me over, get you here to say,

You can’t sail in the needle and the spoon,
or give all the credit to the man on the moon,
everyone complaining about the hand they’re dealt,
’cause they lookin’ for a feeling that they never felt,
get off the pot, get off your ass,
try to be the first but you’ll wind up last,
aaaahhhhhh…

(solo)

Whatever happened to the magical one,
he said, a heart’s out of rhythm and we come undone,
(on the runnn…)
hoping he could capture it and bring it back,
and resurrect the love before it fades to black,

Purgatory’s waitin’, hail Mary take my pain way,
Drinkin’, flex my arms, smokin’ 20 packs of blunts a day,
Holy roll me over, get you here to say,

You can’t sail in the needle and the spoon,
or give all the credit to the man on the moon,
everyone complaining ’bout the hand they’re dealt,
’cause they lookin’ for the feeling that they never felt,
get off the pot, (yehhh) get off your ass, (yehhh)
try to be the first your gonna wind up last, aaeeehhhh…
(outro)

Chords
Intro/Riff: Am – B – C / Em – F / Em
Verses: Am – G – Fm# – E (x4) / Dm
Chorus:
F – G – Am
Dm – Fm# – G
Outro: Em


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