ZZ Top has more than a few hits under the beards, ummm… we mean belts. Here’s the story behind some of those tunes.
ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill told Spin Magazine in 1985 the following “We wrote that song when we used to tour in cars. And every gas station in the world had a cardboard display of the cheapest and ugliest sunglasses you could imagine. I have bought a thousand pair of them. The hip trip for us was to throw them into the audience as an offering.” The band gave out so many they eventually ran out of them. They bought ‘cheaper’ glasses and gave them out, which angered some optomotrists. The optomotrists went on a bit of a campaign to discourage ZZ Top’s fans from wearing the glasses that the band gave out.
Gimme All Your Loving
Billy Gibbons spent $250,000 on the cool car that basically starred in this video. The price of the car put a big dent in his bank account and then he had an idea….. by putting the car in a video, he could write it off as a business expense. The video was directed by Randy Newman’s (famous musician) brother, Tim Newman. Tim did ZZ Top’s most memorable videos – basically all of the videos with cars and girls.
This is a song about a whorehouse in Texas, called “The Chicken Ranch,” or Miss Edna’s Boarding House in La Grange, Texas. Although the ‘establishment’ was well known in the town, the ZZ Top song brought a new level of attention to it. As a result, Miss Edna had to eventually close her “Ranch”.
This song is about a whorehouse. Many people in Texas knew about it, but when the song was released it drew so much attention to the illegal activities going on there that they had to cease operations.
During a 1985 interview with Spin magazine, Dusty Hill explained: “Did you ever see the movie, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas? That’s what it’s about. I went there when I was 13. A lot of boys in Texas, when it’s time to be a guy, went there and had it done. Fathers took their sons there. You couldn’t cuss in there. You couldn’t drink. I had an air of respectability. Miss Edna wouldn’t stand for no bulls–t. That’s the woman that ran the place, and you know she didn’t look like Dolly Parton, either. I’ll tell you, she was a mean-looking woman. But oil field workers and senators would both be there. The place had been open for over 100 years.”
Billy Gibbons told Spin Magazine (1985) that this song was inspired by a drive through Los Angeles. “I was driving in Los Angeles, and there was this unusual downpour. And there was a real pretty girl on the side of the road. I passed her, and then I thought, ‘Well, I’d better pull over’ or at least turn around and offer her a ride, and by the time I got back she was gone. Her legs were the first thing I noticed.”
Sharp Dressed Man
Dusty Hill explained that there’s more than one way to be a ‘sharp dressed man’ . “Sharp-dressed depends on who you are. If you’re on a motorcycle, really sharp leather is great. If you’re a punk rocker, you can get sharp that way. You can be sharp or not sharp in any mode. It’s all in your head. If you feel sharp, you be sharp.”
Dusty Hill explains the mutliple meanings the band was playing with in ‘Tush’. “Tush, where I grew up, had two meanings. It meant what it means in New York. Tush is also like plush, very lavish, very luxurious. So it depended on how you used it. If somebody said, “That’s a tush car,’ you knew they weren’t talking about the rear and of the car. That’s like saying, ‘That’s a cherry short.’ But tush as in ‘That’s a nice tush on that girl,’ that’s definitely the same as the Yiddish word. I don’t know how we got it in Dallas. All it could have took was one guy moving down from New York.”