Dude (Looks Like a Lady)

"Dude (Looks Like a Lady)"
Standard artwork (one of 7-inch vinyl releases pictured)
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Permanent Vacation
B-side"Once is Enough" or "Simoriah"
ReleasedSeptember 1987
1990 (re-issue)
FormatCassette, CD single, 12" single
Length4:24 (Album version)
5:13 (Alternate mix)
Songwriter(s)Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Desmond Child
Producer(s)Bruce Fairbairn
Aerosmith singles chronology
"Dude (Looks Like a Lady)"
"Hangman Jury"
Music video
"Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" on YouTube

"Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" is a song by American hard rock band Aerosmith. It was released as the first of four singles from the Permanent Vacation album in 1987. The track reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 41 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, number four on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, number 22 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart and number 45 on the UK Singles Chart. It was re-released in early 1990 and peaked at number 20 in the UK. 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, 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 gay 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.

Music video[edit]

The video for "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" features the band performing live onstage as well as random moments of characters portraying drag queens, 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 led 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.

Award nominations[edit]

"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.

Charts and certifications[edit]


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 compilation albums by Aerosmith including 1994's Big Ones, 2002's O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits, 2006's Devil's Got a New Disguise: The Very Best of Aerosmith, and the 1998 live album, A Little South of Sanity.

Concurrent with its chart run, the song was played in the 1987 comedy film Like Father Like Son, starring Kirk Cameron and Dudley Moore.

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 (Looks Like a Lady)" as one of the most important songs ever written and as the direct influence for writing the script. She was quoted as saying "Without ['Dude (Looks Like a Lady)'], there would be no Mrs. Doubtfire".[11][12]

The song was also featured in the movie It's Pat where the title character (played by Julia Sweeney) sings a karaoke version at their wedding reception. The song fits in with the running joke throughout the film, in reference to Pat's gender ambiguity.

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 PlayStation 3.

Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira sang the song with Steven Tyler on MTV Icon and also included it on the set list of her Tour of the Mongoose.

The song is played as one of the possible song choices on Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios.[13]

On August 27, 2013, Fox News played this song while introducing Chelsea Manning. As well as the network's use of masculine pronouns and Chelsea's original name, playing this song received backlash by commentators.[14]


  1. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "Dude (Looks Like a Lady) - Aerosmith | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Big Ones - Aerosmith | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  3. ^ Popoff, Martin (2014). The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade. Voyageur Press. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-62788-375-7.
  4. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0919." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  5. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  6. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  7. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  8. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  9. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  10. ^ "British single certifications – Aerosmith – Dude (Looks Like a Lady)". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 5, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Dude (Looks Like a Lady) in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  11. ^ "Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  12. ^ "Top 10 Interesting Facts About Aerosmith's Dude (Looks Like a Lady)". The Top Tens. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  13. ^ "Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith". Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  14. ^ Morse, Felicity (August 28, 2013). "Fox News plays 'Dude looks like a lady' over Chelsea Manning segment". The Independent. Retrieved May 19, 2016.

External links[edit]