Like many rock bands, Aerosmith's songs were primarily written by their lead singer (Steven Tyler) and guitarist (Joe Perry). Bands who wrote their own songs were loath to bring in outside writers, as they usually felt they could compose just fine on their own. Then Desmond Child worked with Kiss and came up with "I Was Made For Loving You
," which got him a shot with Bon Jovi, resulting in the massive hits "You Give Love A Bad Name
" and "Livin' On A Prayer
." John Kalodner, who was an A&R executive at Aerosmith's label, convinced them to write a song with Child, and this was the result.
When we spoke with Desmond Child in 2012
, he told the story: "They had never written with an outside writer, and they were not happy to see me. They were going along with it to please John Kalodner, but they were not that happy about it.
Steven (Tyler) was much more friendly, as he is, and was very generous, really, and showed me a song that they had started called 'Cruisin' for the Ladies.' I listened to that lyric, and I said, 'You know what, that's a very boring title.' And they looked at me like, 'How dare you?' And then Steven volunteered, sheepishly, and said that when he first wrote the melody he was singing 'Dude Looks like a Lady.' It was kind of a tongue twister that sounded more like scatting. He got the idea because they had gone to a bar and had seen a girl at the end of the bar with ginormous blonde rock hair, and the girl turned around and it ended up being Vince Neil from Motley Crue. So then they started making fun of him and started saying, 'That dude looks like a lady, dude looks like a lady, dude looks like a lady.' So that's how that was born. That's the true story of how that was born. So I grabbed onto that and I said, 'No, that's the title of the song.'"