The Comedy Classic That Inspired Aerosmith's Walk This Way

Between the original version that appeared on "Toys in the Attic" in 1975 and the funky rendition released 11 years later with Run-D.M.C., Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" has enjoyed a long life of popularity and distinction amongst the band's impressive roster of hit songs (via Discogs). The track is supercharged with a smooth, confident groove that maintains some sharpness around the edges and almost forces you to get up and dance without even thinking about it. No doubt, it's one of the hottest tracks in rock n' roll history, and it's a song that never seems to go out of style. 

For 3 minutes and 42 seconds, frontman Steven Tyler bellows the song's namesake through his operatic shriek of a vocal delivery that's become signature to the band's music, but you might be surprised to learn that the words he's shouting into the mic aren't actually his own. According to Goose Neck Music, "Walk this Way" was directly inspired by a line uttered in Mel Brooks' comedy classic "Young Frankenstein" (1974). 

Young Frankenstein inspired 'Walk This Way'

Apparently, while the band was recording "Toys in the Attic" in New York City, they encountered a stubborn bout of writer's block that refused to subside. To take their minds off music for awhile and clear their heads, the band and their producer Jack Douglas traveled down to Times Square to catch a late night viewing of "Young Frankenstein." The film was wildly popular at the time and considered a comedic masterpiece, so it was bound to provide some jocular relief and alleviate some of the daunting pressure to conceive new music. However, the troupe of rockstars could have never expected that the film would lead to a new direction in their writing process (per Snopes). 

"I had already seen it, so I stayed behind and hung out on the roof," guitarist Joe Perry recalled (via Snopes). "When the guys returned, they were throwing lines back and forth from the film. They were laughing about Marty Feldman greeting Gene Wilder at the door of the castle and telling him to follow him." 

The scene that inspired 'Walk this Way'

If you've seen "Young Frankenstein," you probably already know what scene we're talking about. Early on in the film when Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) arrives in Romania in the thick of the night, he is greeted by Igor (Marty Feldman), the grotesque and squeamish little hunchback whose bulging eyeballs nearly protrude past his crooked nose. After welcoming his new master, Igor beckons him to the carriage and invites him to "walk this way." When Dr. Frankenstein starts to follow, Igor stops him and clarifies, "this way," and hands him his cane. He's literally instructing him to mimic his hunched, contorted shuffle, which Dr. Frankenstein cordially does. 

"'Walk this way,' he says, limping, giving his stick to Wilder so he can walk that way, too," Joe Perry went on (per Snopes). "While all this was going on, Jack [Douglas] stopped and said, 'Hey, 'walk this way' might be a great title for the song.' We agreed."