REVIEW: Aerosmith – “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” 12″ single

It’s THE WEEK OF SINGLES!  Each day this week I’ll be bringing you reviews and images of a recent CD or vinyl single acquisition.  

Monday:  Van Halen – “Best of Both Worlds” 7″ single
Tuesday:  Deep Purple – “Above and Beyond” CD and 7″ singles


AEROSMITH – “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” (1987 Geffen 12″ single)

There was an old Canadian magazine called Music Express that was…well, it was OK.  Back in 1987 they did a spread on the new Aerosmith (Permanent Vacation), including a really cool caricature of Steven Tyler that I cut out and kept.  This Aerosmith article contained what I now consider to be a myth, although one that led me on a wild goose chase for years.


Music Express

The magazine claimed that one of the new Aerosmith B-sides was a song called “Once is Enough”, a collaboration with Willie Nelson.  Not only did I believe this to be true, but it was seemingly confirmed by an old customer of mine who insisted she had this Willie Nelson tune.  Now I’ve finally acquired the “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” 12″ single with “Once is Enough”, and there is absolutely no indication that Nelson had anything to do with it.  I wonder if the confused writer thought that John Kalodner in the music video for “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” was Willie Nelson?  That’s as much insight as I can offer on this strange myth.

As it turns out, “Once is Enough” is an outstanding song, and no wonder:  It was written by Richie Supa, who also wrote three of my personal Aero-faves:  “Chip Away the Stone”, “Lightning Strikes”, and “Amazing”.  Supa has a certain magic in his melodies, rooted in old time rock n’ roll.  When Aerosmith record a Supa song, the results are seldom disappointing (“Pink” being the only letdown I can think of).  It does have a country twang to it, particularly the intro, but otherwise this is a rock n’ roller.

Although “Once is Enough” is instantly likeable and arguably an unknown classic, it was never released on any of the numerous Geffen Aerosmith compilations.  I think it’s stronger than much of the material on Permanent Vacation itself.  I can only assume it did not make the album because it’s too different from the songs that did.  In fact it probably would have fit better on Pump, which also had some twang on the hit “What It Takes”.  The country vocal harmonies are really sweet, and Joe Perry lays on some awesome slide.  When it takes off into full-on rocker mode, it’s irresistible.  Why a great tune like this remains so hard to get more than 25 years after its release, I don’t know.

The rest of the songs on the single are Permanent Vacation album tracks:  “Dude”, “Simoriah” and “The Movie”.  I’ll be honest, I never thought much of “Dude”.   It was originally titled “Cruisin’ For A Lady”, but obviously the new words (supposedly inspired by Motley Crue) have become a Tyler landmark.  So, good on them.  It’s been used in numerous movies and is a radio staple today.  With that Bruce Fairbairn horn section in there, I just thought it was too pop.   No matter how I feel about this commercial rock song, Joe Perry’s solo smokes.

Both “Simoriah” and “The Movie” are filler as far as I’m concerned.  For its merits, Permanent Vacation had a bit too much filler on it.  I’m more of a Pump guy myself.  As filler goes, “Simoriah” has a speedy groove going for it, but it’s not an outstanding song.  “The Movie” is just an atmospheric instrumental.  I’ve never felt that Aerosmith compose the most interesting instrumentals in the world.

Just 3/5 stars for this one…but 5/5 stars for “Once is Enough”!

One last thing:  I also have a CD single for “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” completely different from this.  It was obviously a later release, since one of the B-sides was “Love In An Elevator” live.  “Once is Enough” was not on that CD single.


Music From Another Dimension! (2012 deluxe & regular editions) – Get A Grip (1993 limited “cow hide” cover) – Draw the Line (1977) – Record Store Tales Part 95:  Aerodouche Dandy


  1. I always thought he said, “Do me like a lady”. Haha

    It’s true though, Vacation does have way too much filler on it, compared to Pump which really…”All killer, no filler”, one might say.

    Sorry Mike, I’ve been reading this blog for several months now and frequently attempt to reply but for various reasons haven’t. I was a 10 year retail vet with one of the major American Brick and Mortar companies that recently went under, (I wont say which one but it started with a B, hehe). I often laugh and/or cry when I think about some of the crazy stuff that happened in that universe. This space helps me remember some damn good times and many more crappy ones. Keep up with the good stuff and I will attempt to reply more in the future. By the way thank you and your Canadian brethren for Rush.


    1. Hey man thanks for commenting! Good to meet another 10 year vet of the old brick-and-mortar stores.

      My buddy Bob used to think the lyric was “Do the rockin’ baby”. I don’t know what that would mean. Maybe the “rockin’ baby” is a dance.

      I wish I could take thanks for Rush, alas I was but a toddler when the first album came out! But I share your sentiments!


  2. That sounds like a B-Side I need to hear! Never seen this single on my travels. I’ll be keeping an eye out for it now. I used to feel the same way about Pump vs. Vacation but recently, Vacation has started to edge it as my favourite. For all its flaws and filler it has more character than Pump I think. I agree that Dude is a bit overrated as a song though but it has some great moments.


    1. Girl Keeps Coming Apart I’m lookin right at you. Baring the Zappa refrence that Tyler only dreams he would have come up with that song is horrible. I wonder which has more filler Vacation or Get A Grip?Both re solid but overlong and overproduced. Products of the CD era imo.


      1. Actually I forgot about that one! I think it’s skewed with me cause in the past I much preferred Pump and have probably just wore it out now whereas Vacation is fresher to me. I thought Get a Grip was slightly more filler infested… too many ballads at any rate! Great burp at the end though (guessing that was Tyler).


        1. I really enjoyed it. Only had it on VHS though, I’ll need to get the DVD at some point. It’s really weird seeing how John Kalodner picks through all the stuff they were doing. It’s quite tense at points!


        2. Is there a DVD release? I would buy that too, all I have is the VHS which was well enjoyed and played.

          Kalodner and Fairbairn both I think, Scott. I remember Fairbairn saying, “News For You Baby, and Looking Up Your Old Address…those songs don’t do it for me.” And Tom Hamilton (or somebody) said it feels like somebody calling your baby ugly.


        3. It’s out on DVD. No frills but it’s very cheap.

          Yeah, that’s right about Fairbairn too but with Kalodner coming in as well it just seemed like an extra-odd situation. That said, if Kalodner ever brings out a book I’m buying it for sure. I’ve read some interviews with him and they’re always fascinating.


        4. Kalodner is one hell of a smart guy!

          I had the same impression as you though. It felt like, “This guy has the final say — if he doesn’t like it, it doesn’t come out.” That was my impression.

          I don’t care about frills on that DVD — the whole show was the frill for me. Really candid behind the scenes stuff before Metallica did it. In fact I heard Metallica did it on the Black album BECAUSE of Aerosmith.


        5. It’s only about £4 on Amazon here so it’s definitely worth it. One of the best behind the scenes docs I’ve seen. Seemed to be genuinely warts and all.

          Yeah, cause Kalodner seemed to be the final rubber stamp. And he could be so picky! Like wanting single words changed to make them more hit friendly. A lot of times I agreed with his decisions but on the other hand it might have contributed to that soulless quality that 1537 mentioned.


        6. Sure that’s possible. Too many cooks maybe?

          I do need to get that DVD again. It was really great and I strongly recommend it to any Aero-fans reading this who have not seen it. I’m putting it on my Christmas wishlist right now actually. If I get it, I promise a review in 2014. Hell maybe HMO would be willing to do a joint review?!?

          Anyway I think it captures a clean band at the peak of their talents and passion. Joe Perry was clear — he didn’t want filler on Pump. He thought the filler on Permanent Vacation was a shame. What’s the point of recording a song that you never play live? That was what he said at the time.


        7. Sure I’d be up for doing a joint review! I’d need to buy it too but this chat has really put me in the mood to see it again.

          That’s a good point from Joe, maybe someone should remind him he said that! He seems to have forgotten!


        8. I think maybe the trouble is that you can only know what is filler in retrospect. I mean, a band gets together and makes a record. And at the time, I want to believe, they liked every song they put on there and thought it deserved to be there. Maybe they had a sense of one or two songs that could possibly hits, but in truth you just never know. Maybe none of them would be, or there might be 8 of them. Yes, you can control quality of content, so why would a band purposely make songs they knew were just there to fill in time? It boggles. I may be naive on that one, but I still wanna give the benefit of the doubt.


        9. I agree with you actually. I’m sure some bands (Kiss) purposely released filler because it was all they were capable of and they knew it at the time. I think Paul knew that Asylum had filler on it, but he didn’t have much else to use.

          And also some songs deemed to be filler become favourites later. So you really never can tell can you? I guess the ultimate decider will be the fans.

          Well, LeBrain says Vacation had some filler on it…a few tracks anyway.


      2. I haven’t reviewed Vacation yet, but I did Get a Grip earlier this year (link at the bottom of this article) . One thing I had issues with was filler on Get a Grip. The great songs are “amazing” (bad pun intended) and the filler is slip worthy.

        I my humble opinion, Pump was the last record without filler.


    2. By all means, if you find this single, get it. Of course after you do so, I’m sure the band will just officially release it on a greatest hits CD anyway. Isn’t that always the way?


      1. One day – I’m only reviewing LP’s beginning with a ‘B’ this month…

        I liked Pump at the time (I thought ‘Vacation’ was too soft at the time), but listening to it now I find it a really soulless LP.


        1. I hope you own an album by Bum Bar Bastards, then. (I do.)

          A soulless LP huh? Interesting. I haven’t played Pump in a while. I’ll have to see if I can hear what you’re hearing. It’s heavily produced obviously.


  3. I definitely picture ‘dude’ in the promos for Mrs. Doubtfire – although Pink isn’t their best, it made for a good song of the day in my classes today, reminding students to wear pink for anti-bullying day tomorrow!


    1. I love Mrs Doubtfire! Hilarious movie of the 90s.

      Great thinking, using Pink for anti bullying day. As a survivor of bullying myself I think this is one of the most important issues today. Certainly one of the most troubling.

      As I go forward in my blog I also want to look backward to the days I had to put up with bullying. It’s important.


      1. Agreed – my school is taking a group of students off-site next week to have a ‘leadership camp’ where the goal is to start to change the school culture.

        Instead of reacting to bullying and do the same old anti-bullying strategies (and possibly just end up pushing it underground), the plan is to really focus on what it means to be a student at our school and what is/isn’t done.

        It will likely take a while, but it will be worth it if it makes the high school experience safer/more enjoyable.


  4. This is a really cool single. You’re knocking it out outta the park as always, Lebrain!

    Me, I enjoy Permanent Vacation. I did a run-through of it a little while back and was pleased to be reminded of how bluesy it can be. And I think the horn section makes Dude. But I’m a trumpet player. I will always cheer for the horn section.

    You mentioned comps, I totally meant to buy that red-cover old standard comp of them, the earlier stuff, when we were inTaranna. Dammit, it just occurred tome now. I’m sure it’s readily available, but if I’m not mistaken, aren’t there different versions of it too? I want the one my neighbour in residence at university had. You know, that one!


    1. Yup, that one is Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits. However I prefer the updated version, Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits 73-93. It has all the same songs plus a few essential extras, such as Chip Away the Stone (a MUST) and Lightning Strikes. I strongly recommend that over the original 10 track CD.

      And thanks for the compliments and encouragement. I don’t do this for me, I do it for YOU!

      No, I do it for me too :)


      1. Is that 73-88? I found that one. Of course, Amazon makes no mention of Chip away the stone. And there’s a ton of versions, sorting them out looks to be a nightmare. If you see the right one, cheap, snag it and I’ll send you cash monies for it?


        1. Yes, sorry. 73-88! That’s it. I’ll be happy to get it for ya. Sometimes you’ll see it at a Best Buy for cheap. I’ll keep my eyes peeled. That is the one to have.


  5. Yeah Permanent Vacation was a good step up for them at the time. PUMP is far better and like Mike said the last good Aero with no filler.
    I always dug Hangman Jury and St John off PV…loved the swampy,blueness of it…..


    1. YES! The swampy bluesy feel, that Aaron also mentioned. Those two songs stuck out to me right away, first time I ever played the album.

      Speaking of which, first time I ever played the album, I RENTED it and taped it! Remember CD rentals? It’s been close to 25 years since CD rentals were legal here.


        1. Do you remember that? I rented Permanent Vacation from Steve’s TV on Frederick. Also rented Poison’s Flesh & Blood, and the Iron Eagle 2 soundtrack.

          A buddy of mine used to rent from a place called CD Emporium. I think it later became the Blockbuster store on Weber St.


        2. No, I don’t recall that at all. Then again, my hometown still only has about 300 people in it, so we weren’t exactly the first place to get the new waves of anything.


        3. I remember 89-90 a buddy of mine was rented CDs every week from CD Emporium, he was onto all the new music before anyone else because he was trying out ANYTHING. They closed around 91. Steve’s TV sold off their CD rentals in 91. I bought one…can’t remember which…


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