Give You All My Lovin’





When I was a kid, I thought ZZ Top was a stupid, stupid band.  I could not get past their facial hair long enough to care about anything else.  Sure, I thought the videos were cool.  The hot rod alone could keep me watching.  Add in the “beautiful” women with fishnets and awesome high heeled shoes?  It seemed so glamorous to 7 year old me.  I wanted nothing more than to grow up and be one of those video girls.  The music?  Whatever.  I never got that far. I usually muted MTV the moment I saw one of those damn beards.

Last Summer I was on a business trip in Miami.  The weather was beautiful, so I rented a convertible.  I was driving down the highway and a song came on the radio. I reached over to change the station, but something stopped me.  The thundering chords of “Sharp Dressed Man” stopped me.  I swear to you, it was like I had never heard it before.  You know when you finally get a clear copy of a song, or you’re trying out new speakers and all of a sudden you hear back up singers or a bass line you never noticed before?  It was like that, but better.  “Sharp Dressed Man” is catchy, but beautifully nuanced.  You know what?  So is, “Legs”.  I mean, really.  When was the last time you heard something so awesomely bad that it actually folded in on itself and became awesomely good?  That’s what “Legs” is.  These could be some of my all time favorite lyrics:

Shes got hair down to her fanny.
Shes kinda jet set, try undo her panties.
Everytime shes dancin she knows what to do.
Everybody wants to see if she can use it.
Shes so fine, shes all mine,
Girl, you got it right.

Over the past months I’ve dug deep.  I’ve gone back to the vault.  I’ve purchased ZZ Top tracks that I never knew existed.  All the stuff from before I was born.  Andrew even TiVo’d a recent concert for me.  My appreciation for them grows by the minute. I love the music so much that the beards almost seem normal now.  I think Billy Gibbons could be one of the most underrated blues/rock guitarists of all time and I feel partially responsible.  I don’t know how I missed it, even if I was a kid. Maybe I was the only one turned off by their look to listen. I have no idea. Marc, have you ever really given them a chance or were you turned off by the inappropriate facial hair too? Can you look past it now?  Listen to this song from a concert last year over 30 years into their career:

Magnificent. Rolling Stone once referred to their music as a “flat-out guitar extravaganza” and after seeing this, I cannot think of a more fitting description. I’m having so much fun, I cannot wait to spend the next 20 years making up for lost time.

Am I crazy?



PS.  Did you know the last name of one of the guys in ZZ Top is Beard?  He’s the one without a beard.  Hee.



7 Responses to “Give You All My Lovin’”

  1. m000se Says:

    Hilarious! I have to say you’re right. Very underrated band. Sidetracked by their ridiculous beards/images and one very odd electronic tinged album. But I did grow up with them and could not avoid them like you. In rural Missouri in 1986, they were the law along with Rush and Hagar. La Grange was always my favorite if you don’t know that one.

    Christine Lavin said it best, about their look, in her great song Prisoners of Their Hairdos.

  2. Derek Giromini Says:

    One of my college roommates loves ZZ Top, and his parents lived not terribly far from one of the guys. While I’ve never disliked anything I’ve heard, they are one of those bands I need to revisit. What impresses me about them is that they have their music figured out.

  3. Jamie Says:

    Marc, I should have known the southern boy would value ZZ Top in the appropriate way. I know LaGrange and I have to say it isn’t one of my favorites. I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide is currently holding the top spot, I think.

    Derek, please revisit. I think you might be surprised. And you’re right, those men never really pretended to be something they weren’t. Exactly the reason they still have those stupid beards.

  4. emma Says:

    See, Jamie, what I love about you is that you don’t just sorta like something. When something piques your interest, you dive in and swim around. Good thing you can grab one of those beards to help you get out, or you’d be lost in ZZ land forever. Awesome revisit to the days of dirty rock.

  5. calimama Says:

    ZZ Top was one of my brother’s favorite bands. I grew up hearing “Legs” every other day. Like you, I thought it was so glam and hot. Unlike you, the beards kinda worked for me. I thought it made them different. And I always secretly liked different. I guess that’s why I didn’t think twice when given the opportunity to drive one of those “wide load” trucks for a friend who drove an 18 wheeler. Plus he had a total ZZ beard, I think he was their lost brother.

  6. Janet Says:

    Well it’s about time ZZ reminds me of Peoria…dad will be proud cause every girls crazy bout a sharp dressed man.

  7. Joe Schmitt Says:

    I’ve loved this band forever. Saw them live twice when I was in high school in Houston. Would have loved to have seen the world tour they did with livestock on stage. Can you imagine what someone in Paris thought of that? A couple of bored cows on the stage, not getting it?

    My current favorite is Heard It on the X, though Waitin’ for the Bus, Jesus Just Left Chicago, and La Grange have all held that spot.

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