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.
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.
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.
More AEROSMITH at mikeladano.com: