Released as the first single from 1987's Permanent Vacation, "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" began Aerosmith's late-'80s comeback. According to co-writer Desmond Child, the titular dude was inspired by Steven Tyler mistaking Mötley Crüe's Vince Neil for a woman.
On the occasion of his receiving ASCAP’s Founders Award, Child recalled the writing of several of his hits for People. He said that he had been hired by Geffen A&R man John Kalodner to collaborate with the band, the first time they had ever worked with outside writers. As he recalled, he was "warmly greeted" by Tyler but remembered Joe Perry as being "stand-offish," and then they went to work.