Is Anybody Out There?

“Is Anybody Out There?” is a melodic mid-tempo song written by Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Jim Vallance in Vancouver, 1987. It could be considered a 3-time Aerosmith outtake, as the band worked on it during the sessions for Permanent Vacations, Pump and Get a Grip. The song might have take inspiration from Pink Floyd’s 1979 song of the same name.

“We started writing Anybody Out There in March or April 1987, during the Vacation sessions, but we didn’t finish lyrics.  We came back to it in April ’92 and added a vocal to our 1987 demo track.”

Jim Vallance 2006 via email

The song include very melodic verses, and ascending pre-chorus, a rockish simple chorus, a bridge that sound promising, and a good guitar solo by Perry. But the lyrics were never properly finished.

The song became familiar to fans when an 1990 acoustic rehearsal in Kansas for their Mtv Unplugged was leaked in the form of the bootleg “Unwired” in 1995. It’s inclusion could be either the band randomly playing the song, or a hint of them actually attempting to finish and premiere a “new” song in the first Mtv Unplugged.

This acoustic version did not contained any finished lyrics (other that the title in the chorus). It’s an overall good live performance up until the bridge, where they make a mistake (band played wrong chords) and stopped playing it.

The 87 and 89 demos also failed to deliver any relevant lyrics (they contain a few random words that lacked any meaning together). While the 1992 version indeed contained lyrics, they still didn’t feel good, the rhythm was not right, they were not properly finished, they were just a place holder. When it comes to the bridge in the demo, it included a few different chords, some Tyler screaming, and a Perry guitar solo that kicked in like a machine gun, really good.

The improvement that the track had from 1987 to 1992 was very little. You can tell there was a clear lack of interest from the producers, which was probably the main reason the song never got the priority it needed:

“Even though Jim Vallance wrote many great songs with Tyler and Perry, I didn’t think Is Anybody Out There was good enough to be on a record, and neither did Bruce Fairbairn.”

John Kalodner 2004 via his website

In a 1989 magazine interview, Tom Hamilton said that he hoped that “Anybody Out There” would make the record (Pump) even when it was not in the “A list”. Later on, Steven would often mention the song title during interviews randomly, most notably during a video interview as part of the media pack for his 2011 autobiography, “Does the noise in my head bother you?”.

Indeed, the book “The fall and rise of Aerosmith” by Mark Putterford, says that in 1988, during the process of recollection of material for ‘Pump’, there where 2 songs left out “Is Anybody Out There” and another one called “Worlds Collide”.

A fan covered the song based in samples leaked, lyrics, independent research. The lyrics in the cover are a combination of the acoustic version and 1987 demo and original contribution (not Tyler).

Anybody Out There? (1987 demo)

One’s a time, in to my head,
My stile if i were you,
There’s a bird in to the air,
A one da dabadabadu… uh!…

There’s a time when to come,
A way to lay in you,
I put a girl that looked so hat,
Maked me go out of my way… uuuu…

Show me yours, I’ll show you mine,
Lady kindda crazy,
Any time I’m on the hill,
I see my mother up on the hill… uuu…
I wanna know oouoououo…

Is anybody out there?,
Cause’ i just came where we come,
Is anybody out there?,
Cause’ i just can’t get you door, no!!!…

Watch a tear, put it up,
Your acting kindda crazy,
What you’ve got, its what she’s got,
Let your heart come to the hill… uuu…
I wanna know oouoououo…

Is anybody out there?,
Cause’ i just came where we come,
Is anybody out there?,
Cause’ i just can’t get you door,

Ladabuda badudabo, dabadabu,
Ohhhh oo uh… Ohhhh oo uhh…
Is anybody out there!!!…

(solo)

Is anybody out there?,
Cause’ i just came where we come,
Is anybody out there?,
Cause’ i just can’t get you door…

Intro: D
Verses:
D – D – D – Am
D – D – D – C – Bm – Ab – Am
C – Bm – Ab
Chorus:
A – Bm – D
A – Bm – C (X2)
Bridge:
Em (X4)
A – G – Bm – Ab
A – Bm – C – D – Em5


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