Dude (Looks Like a Lady)
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|"Dude (Looks Like a Lady)"|
|Single by Aerosmith|
|from the album Permanent Vacation|
|B-side||"Once is Enough" or "Simoriah"|
|Format||Cassette, CD single, 12" single|
|Genre||Hard rock, blues rock|
|Length||4:24 (Album version)
5:13 (Full version)
|Writer(s)||Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Desmond Child|
|Aerosmith singles chronology|
"Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" is a song by American hard rock band Aerosmith. It was released as the second of four singles from the Permanent Vacation album in 1987. Bowing at #84 on 3 October 1987, the track reached #14 on the Hot 100 on 12 December 1987 - 2 January 1988, and #41 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, #4 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and #45 on the UK Singles Chart in 1987. It was re-released in early 1990 and peaked at #20. The song was written by lead singer Steven Tyler, lead guitarist Joe Perry and professional songwriter Desmond Child.
The song, which originally started out as "Cruisin' for a Lady", talks about a male with an effeminate appearance, possibly a drag queen, who is mistaken for a female. Steven Tyler states in the book Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith: "One day we met Mötley Crüe, and they're all going, 'Dude!' Dude this and Dude that, everything was Dude. 'Dude (Looks Like a Lady)' came out of that session.".
According to an interview with Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe conducted for Swedish television, the title of the song originated from a New York bar crawl where Tyler and Neil had drinks at a bar where the waiters were dressed in women's clothes. This, according to Neil, prompted Tyler to comment; "Dude looks like a lady!". Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx, in his book, The Heroin Diaries, claims that the song was specifically inspired by Neil.
Joe Perry came up with the chorus riff, and Tyler came up with the chorus refrain.
The video for "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" features the band performing live onstage as well as random moments of characters portraying transvestites, including a cameo appearance by A&R man John Kalodner dressed up in a wedding dress at one point. This is a joke based on the fact that Kalodner always dresses in white. Joe Perry's wife Billie also appears in the music video, pretending to play the saxophone on stage.
There are also some provocative sexual performances, both lead by singer Steven Tyler as well as a presumed female who has her skirt torn off to reveal the Aerosmith "wings" tattoo on her buttocks. The video was directed by Marty Callner.
"Dude" picked up two MTV Video Music Award nominations in 1988 (the first for the band). It was nominated for Best Group Video and Best Stage Performance, but failed to gain the wins. The band made up for it eventually, winning over 10 "moon-men" and 4 Grammys in the 1990s.
The song has long been a staple on both rock radio and in concert, as the band has regularly rotated it into their set lists over the years.
The song has been featured on a number of subsequent compilations by Aerosmith including Big Ones, O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits, Devil's Got a New Disguise and the live album A Little South of Sanity.
Professional wrestler Roddy Piper appeared as a guest VJ on MTV shortly after the song's release. During one segment, the song's video was played, followed by a Michael Jackson video. Piper appeared afterward, repeatedly chanting "Dude looks like a lady!" in the manic fashion of a wrestling interview, intended more as a jab at Jackson than any reference to Aerosmith or the song.
In 1993, the song was prominently featured in the film Mrs. Doubtfire, during a montage of the main character bonding with his family in disguise as a woman. The song was also used in the film's TV ads. Randi Mayem Singer, the writer of Mrs. Doubtfire, credits "Dude..." as one of the most important songs ever written and as the direct influence for writing the script. She's quoted as saying "Without ['Dude (Looks Like a Lady)'], there would be no Mrs. Doubtfire".
The song was also featured in the movie It's Pat where the title character (played by Julia Sweeney) sings it at karaoke at their wedding reception. The song fits in with the running joke throughout the film, in reference to Pat's gender confusion.
The song was performed live by the band in the movie Wayne's World 2 and is featured on the soundtrack for the film.
The video for "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" is featured on the karaoke game Singstar Vol. 2 for PS3.