The next entry in the Favorite Music Videos series features three fashion models, three men–two with long beards, one without–in dusty clothes, wearing Wayfarer sunglasses and playing guitars and drums, respectively–and a certain customized bright crimson 1933 Ford Coupe.
ZZ Top was a band with a certain following–not hugely popular, but like many bands it had its niche–and despite robust record sales, platinum records and a few moderately successful hit singles it could not grab the attention of the mainstream fan. How that all changed when guitarist/vocalist Billy Gibbons’ red hot rod made its debut appearance in this, the first of the band’s hugely popular themed music videos.
1983’s Gimme All Your Lovin’ was the first video to feature Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard (notably, the only one without a beard) as a sort of trio of magical wizards who take the side of the hero–a character that is bullied and oppressed, generally from a domineering manager or business owner–and turn the tables in the hero’s favor.
The band’s appearance is definitely unique: Gibbons once told the story of how the three men checked into their rooms at a posh Las Vegas hotel…and as they entered the lobby, which was brimming with drag queens in full attitude, garishly caricatured overdeveloped bodybuilders and celebrities awash in high fashion–instead, all heads turned toward them. That the band was not only able to market its offbeat style but to also shape themselves in a way that screamed “cool!” was one of the keys to both the band’s music and video successes.
Like others such as Robert Palmer, Duran Duran and Michael Jackson, ZZ Top was a major force in shaping the beginnings of the music video genre.
Eliminator, the album the song came from (and that also contained the hits “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Legs,” and “Got Me Under Pressure”), had some controversy associated with it, according to Wikipedia:
According to former stage manager David Blayney (15 years with ZZ Top) in his book, Sharp Dressed Men, sound engineer Linden Hudson co-wrote much of the material on the album as a live-in high-tech music teacher to Beard and Gibbons. And, despite continued denials by the band, it settled a five-year legal battle with Hudson, paying him $600,000 after he proved he held the copyright to the song “Thug” which appeared on Eliminator. David Blayney further described, in his book, the role Linden played in the process of planning and preparing Eliminator. This was well demonstrated in the writing and making of a demo of the song “Under Pressure”. Billy and Linden wrote the whole song and created a recorded demo all in one afternoon without either Dusty or Frank even knowing about it. Linden created the bass on a synthesizer, created drums on a drum machine and helped Billy Gibbons write the lyrics; Billy performed the guitars and vocals. David Sinclair, of the London Times, described in his book The Story of ZZ Top how Linden Hudson drew Billy’s attention to the possibility of using a drum machine for the final recording of the Eliminator album. Deborah Frost, writer for Rolling Stone magazine, described in her book ZZ Top – Bad And Worldwide how Linden Hudson researched popular song tempos, then presented Billy Gibbons with the results of his studies. Linden’s data suggested that 120 beats per minute was the most popular tempo in the rock music market at that time. Billy decided to go for it and recorded most of the Eliminator album at that tempo.