Aerosmith’s Joe Perry Lost His Prized Guitar but Found It 20 Years Later With Another Famous Guitarist

Joe Perry is one of the world’s most famous guitarists, finding fame with the legendary rock group Aerosmith. Perry is known for his amazing guitar skills, plus the cool guitars he plays onstage, but the musician once had to part ways with a favorite instrument. Did you know another famous guitar player helped him get it back?

Joe Perry and Aerosmith’s rise to fame

Perry and Aerosmith rose to fame in the ’70s with hits like “Dream On,” “Walk This Way,” and “Sweet Emotion.” However, the band’s rampant drug and alcohol use created tension within the group, and Perry and frontman Steven Tyler clashed. The pair even had to record their parts of 1977’s Draw the Line separately because they didn’t want to be in the same room as each other. 

Things came to a head in 1979. Perry threw a glass of milk at bassist Tom Hamilton’s wife. Perry and Tyler got into a heated argument, and the guitar player left the band. 

Steve Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith perform at the Oakland Coliseum in 1979
Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler and Joe Perry at the Oakland Coliseum in 1979 | Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Luckily, the split was temporary, and Perry rejoined Aerosmith in 1984. However, the guitarist had some tough times apart from the band, and Perry struggled financially. In 1980, he decided to sell some of his guitars, including his iconic 1959 Gibson Les Paul.

Which rockstar ended up with Joe Perry’s guitar?

“It was 1980, I just left Aerosmith,” Perry explained while appearing on Conan. “It was Christmas time and I needed some bread. That was the best guitar to sell. I could get rid of it pretty quick because they are very rare.”

He continued, “Anyway, I sold it and really didn’t think much of it. Time went on…the band got back together again and we started to have some success again, and I thought maybe it would be a good idea — maybe I could find some of those old guitars that had gone the way of the wind.”

“So, I started looking for this one,” Perry explained. “And I had all my guitar techs looking everywhere, and Brad [Whitford, Aerosmith guitarist] walks in and said, ‘I know where your guitar is’ and he opens a guitar magazine and the centerfold has Slash’s guitar collection and right in the middle was that guitar.”

Slash eventually gave the guitar back

However, when Perry reached out to the Guns N’ Roses guitarist about buying the guitar back, Slash refused, saying, “Oh man, please don’t ask me that,” according to Guitar World.

Perry continued to ask Slash about the guitar over the years, but the answer was always no. The Aerosmith guitar player had pretty much given up hope on getting the Les Paul back when he got a birthday surprise. 

The musician was about to take the stage with Cheap Trick to perform at his 50th birthday party when he was handed the guitar and a message: “Slash says, ‘Happy Birthday.'”

Aerosmith’s current performance plans

Perry still plays the guitar today, performing with Aerosmith on tour and at their Las Vegas residency. The band is currently taking a break while Tyler is in rehab; the rock star relapsed after undergoing foot surgery. 

Aerosmith fans can’t wait for the band to take the stage again — and are happy to see Perry playing his beloved 1959 Gibson Les Paul!

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