A writeup of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" would simply not be complete without mentioning Aerosmith's collaboration with rap act Run-DMC. Performing the song together, the results thereof end up on the latter act's 1986 release, Raising Hell, along with a music video that very quickly received heavy airplay on MTV.

The brainchild of Def Jam's Rick Rubin, the Aerosmith/DMC collaboration is popular music's first rap-rock "crossover", and has its place firmly cemented in music history for the influence it generated.

While this influence which is probably close to incalculable, there are a few tangible things that immediately come to mind. First of all, the collaboration resulted in a very vivid introduction of rap music into the then mostly-white suburban American neighborhoods. To a lesser degree, it also gave the mainstream a taste of Aerosmith who had, to this point, often been relegated to generic "heavy metal" or "hard-rock" categorizations.

Secondly, the rap-rock combination took root in the American music culture, eventually becoming its own subgenre; On the heels of the collaboration came acts like the Beastie Boys (also on the Def Jam label), whose album Licensed to Ill became a runaway best-seller in 1987. In the years that follow, one can find all sorts of collaborations (like Sonic Youth's collaboration with Chuck D, "Kool Thing"), or rap-rock bands themselves, such as Ice-T's controversial Body Count, or the late-century success, Rage Against The Machine.

A pun that periodically shows up in TV shows and movies. The pun comes from the fact that the word 'way' in English is both a direction and a manner. The general consensus* on the origin appears to be the following vaudeville joke:

Character 1: Excuse me, I'm looking for talcum powder.
Character 2: Walk this way, please. (Starts to walk off)
Character 1: If I could walk that way, I wouldn't need the talcum powder.

This pun has shown up on screen as early as the 1930s, usually as a visual pun; a character, who has a funny walk or stance, will ask a second character to "walk this way", leading to the second character walking in the manner of the first. A good example of this played straight was in Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" with Igor (played by Marty Feldman) leading the way**. In Monty Python's Flying Circus, a variation of this pun was a running joke on the show. It involved one character asking the second to "walk this way". The second character would respond "If I could walk that way-" but would be sternly cut off and warned not to complete the joke by the first.

* General consensus online and hence not a particularly trustworthy source.
** Thanks to avalyn for that example.



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