May 17, 2017

Run-DMC 'Tougher Than Leather' (May 17, 1988)

Run-DMC Publicity Photo Tougher Than Leather

Today marks the 29th anniversary of RUN DMC's fourth studio album, 'Tougher Than Leather.' It was released through Profile Records on May 17, 1988. I was 10 years old when the album dropped, but I do remember sitting with the cassette and thinking it wasn't really speaking to me. To this day, the biggest track on the album, 'Run's House,' almost makes me cringe when I  hear it. In Dan Charnas' book, 'The Big Payback,' he says: 'It was March of 1988. The songs for Run-DMC's new album had been sitting on the shelf for almost a year. It was May before Profile shipped the Tougher Than Leather LP, which was supposed to be released in tandem with Bill Adler's Tougher Than Leather book (which went on sale a year earlier) and Def Pictures' Tougher Than Leather movie (which wouldn't hit theaters until September). Run-DMC's video for their first single, 'Run's House,' was received politely by hip-hop fans, in the way a person might greet an old lover after having been swept off one's feet by another. Both Rush and Profile paid dearly for their excessive sales expectations, printing and distributing far more albums than they sold. Tougher Than Leather became an industry joke: it shipped platinum. It returned double platinum." The group's impact on the culture is undeniable and many of us wouldn't be here without them, but suffice to say, this just wasn't the album for me. All that said, it did go platinum and it's rock influences certainly targeted a wider audience. The Run's Houe Tour in '88 was great and the Bonus Track version to the album included 'Christmas In Hollis,' which I do consider a classic, too. Have you seen the movie?

Run DMC Tougher Than Leather DVD