Why Steven Tyler Was Impressed By Vince Neil’s Girly Appearance

Almost anything can be a source of inspiration for the artists to make something new out of it. It is not an easy job to write a song as it is known that songwriters sometimes struggle to produce new song ideas when they face writer’s block. Though they eventually come up with a piece, it can take quite a while for a musician to complete a song.

On the other hand, musicians can find inspiration in the glimpse of an eye, giving birth to some interesting stories behind many favored songs. In the case of Aerosmith’s song ‘Dude (Looks Like A Lady),’ Steven Tyler found a source of inspiration that nobody else could’ve seen, and the incident surprised him personally.

How Did Vince Neil Inspire Steven Tyler For A Song?

‘Dude (Looks Like A Lady)’ was released as the lead single of Aerosmith’s ninth studio album, ‘Permanent Vacation,’ in 1987. The song gained mainstream success and received two MTV Video Music Award nominations in 1988. The band released an entertaining official music video for the track, featuring the band performing live on stage and some characters portraying drag queens.

The song has also received a severe backlash from fans and LGBTQ+ activists for being transphobic despite its success. It mainly talks about a man with a feminine appearance, which causes him to be mistaken for a woman. It has been mainly accused of demeaning trans people due to its lyrical and music video content.

Besides all these debates, the inspiration behind the song is quite interesting. As the story goes, Steven Tyler once ran across Vince Neil at a bar and mistook him for a woman with long blonde hair. Their encounter was so impacting that Tyler turned it into a song.

Why Did Vince Neil’s Girly Appearance Impress Steven Tyler?

Mötley Crüe’s frontman also confirmed the story during an old interview and said that the song Steven Tyler wrote with the former Aerosmith co-writer Desmond Child was about him. Child also reflected on the song’s story in a previous interview and revealed that the track’s chorus riff came up when Steven Tyler realized he mistook Vince Neil with a woman.

Desmond Child’s words on the inspiration behind the song:

“So the story was that they had gone to a bar wherever they lived, south of Boston on the shore. And at the end of the bar was this gorgeous, platinum mullet with the curvy waist and white skin and black nails. They just saw the back of her. And so they were there with their crew, and they were drawing straws like, ‘Who’s gonna go up and say something?’

So all of a sudden, she turns around, and it’s Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe! And they were like, ‘Oh my God! Oh, sh*t! Oh my god!’ Then Steven immediately starts saying, ‘That dude looks like a lady! Dude looks like a lady? Dude looks like a lady!’ And boom, the riff was born.”

Another interesting anecdote regarding the story behind the song came from Nikki Sixx. In his autobiographical work, ‘The Heroin Diaries,’ Sixx revealed that Steven Tyler was impressed by Vince Neil’s feminine look because he could still manage to attract women around him despite his girly appearance. Tyler was so surprised by his mastery of impressing women despite his female-like appearance that he took it as an inspiration for writing a new song.

You can listen to ‘Dude (Looks Like A Lady)’ below.