“HISTORY OF MAN” Pat Macdonald’s humorous recount of humanity for Aerosmith

“History of Man” is an Aerosmith outtake from the 1996 South Beach sessions for the Nine Lives album. The song was written by Pat Macdonald and Mark Hudson, brought to the band by Hudson and produced during the first attempt of the album with Glen Ballard producing it.

As listed on a 1996 South Beach tape

The song title can be read in a tape from the South Beach studio listed as “new version”, hinting at the existence of at least a couple of takes recorded by Aerosmith. The side of the tape where this song would have been was reportedly blank. However, there’s confirmation from different sources that the song was actually recorded by the band (minus Joey who was replaced by Steve Ferrone for the Ballard sessions).

Pat got to hear a cassette copy of the Aerosmith version played in a car stereo and comments that Steven sang one of the verses in a “Bob Dylan”-esque voice. The band and producer were considering this as a potential single for the album and video clip concepts were being discussed.

“Mark wrote ‘Livin On The Edge’ for Aerosmith and he was writing new tunes for them and had this track and a title, and wanted me to come up with the lyrics. It was basically a writing assignment. His instructions were: ‘trace the history of man from the perspective of love gone wrong. And make it humorous.’ It was a great challenge, but the payoff was that Aerosmith did actually record it, and it was slated for release on an album that got canned after they fired their producer. I did get to hear their demo, but wasn’t allowed to have a copy. I later ended up recording it myself.”

Pat Macdonald

One of the authors, Pat Macdonald (formerly of Timbuk 3), release an acoustic version of the song in his album “Pat Macdonald Sleeps With His Guitar” in 1997.

The lyrics basically chronicle “The History Of Man” in about four and a half minutes.

An updated rock version was later recorded and released by Rick Wood in 1999 (By The Artists of Steel Bridge Songfest, Begging His Graces: The Songs & Sins of pAt mAcdonald – SIDE C). The original CD version is available from the Holiday Music Motel.

The song doesn’t really fit the style of Nine Lives, but by listening to the faster Rick Wood version one has to wonder what Aerosmith could have done with it. The bridge, during the stops in the “this fire” section, lends especially for some serious rocking and Tyler screaming.

The song was probably omitted because of several reasons, the drama over changing producer, the style and tone of the song and the lyrics being somewhat similar to the ones in Adam’s Apple (but going beyond Adam and Eve and covering a bit of all human history, ala “The Big Bang Theory Theme”. Here’s to hoping it will be included in the upcoming Aerosmith box-set.

The History of Man

Two little monkeys, wild and free
One fell down from a big tall tree
The other one’s yellin “Mama look at me”
The History of Man

Eve was tweaked, Adam couldn’t speak
Flashed on the apple and his knees got weak
Took a big bite and started to write
The History of Man

Trees shakin, hearts breakin
Time takin everything down
Tears dryin, fig leaves flyin
Babies cryin all night long

Paradise lost, and on the next page
Cain slew Abel in a jealous rage
Next thing you know, it’s the Holy Crusades
The History of Man

“This is absurd” came the word from Jehovah
“You can’t get to Heaven in a Chevy Nova
Noah, build a yacht, we gotta start over!”
The History of Man

Winds wailin, buckets bailin
Feets failin on trails untrod
Waves crashin, lightnin flashin
Good ol’ fashioned wrath o’ God

This fire has been here from the start
And no rain’s gonna drown it out
This fire still burns here in my heart
And no amount of pain’s gonna stomp it out

Cicero couldn’t keep his big mouth shut
So Antony wreaked some havoc on his butt
Then lost his to Cleopatra, that slut
The History of Man

Primordial ooze to the primate boogie
Blue suede shoes and tryin to get lucky
Born to lose and lookin for nookie
The History of Man

Love makin, hearts breakin
Time takin everything down
Tears dryin, lovers tryin
One more trip on the merry-go-round

This fire has been here from the start
And no rain’s gonna drown it out
This fire still burns here in my heart
And no amount of pain’s gonna stomp it out

Ivan the Terrible, Atila the Hun
Hannibal the Cannibal to Mao Tse Tung
Charlemagne to Saddam Hussein
The History of Man

There’s always been suckers, hungry and sick
Always some fucker with another dirty trick
Planting some flag and wavin his dick

Shit keeps flyin, heroes dyin
They’re back in next week’s episode
Walls shakin, hearts breakin
And we keep takin it on the road
Years keep flyin, lovers keep tryin
One more trip on the merry-go-round
Winners reap on, losers weep on
Carnivals keep on comin to town

So jush little baby, don’t you cry
Everybody’s gonna get a little piece of pie
Just cross your heart and hope to die
It’s the History of Man…

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