Aerosmith, yesterday and today

Paul McAlpine

Back in 1973, a high school photographer named Paul McAlpine took this photograph of some young rockers from Boston in front of 1325 Commonwealth Ave. If they look familiar, yes, that’s Aerosmith and, yes, that’s where they played Monday’s impromptu concert celebrating the release of their 15th and newest album, “Music From Another Dimension!”

The photo, which was taken just as Aerosmith’s self-titled first album was being released, is part of the Boston collection at the Museum of Fine Arts. On Monday the MFA tweeted the photo, which is not on display at the museum. “Surprise art and a surprise concert,” the MFA tweet read.

McAlpine, 56, works at the MFA in the library archive. He said Monday by phone that he met the band during the summer between his junior and senior years at South Weymouth High School after shooting pictures of another hard rocker, Alice Cooper. He said Steven Tyler approached him after the Cooper concert and asked him to shoot his own up-and-coming band.


They started at 1325 Commonwealth, where the band members had written some of their earliest songs.

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“The curved mirror belonged to Steven,” McAlpine said. “We just hung it on a tree outside. I took only a dozen pictures, then we went to the reservoir. That picture really captured the time. It was a historic location for them. For me it captures the very early days of Aerosmith.”

As for the current days of Aerosmith, the band played on Monday longer than expected, but shut down Allston exactly as expected. For more details and pictures from the performance, see the Names page, B14.

Doug Most can be reached at dmost@
. Follow him on Twitter @Globedougmost.