3 Classic Rock Songs for People Who Say They Don’t Like ZZ Top

To say the Houston-born blues band ZZ Top has an aesthetic is an understatement. To say the trio has helped to make the long, Santa Claus-like beard famous would be another. Indeed, to know ZZ Top is to recognize their sound, look, and style immediately. It’s what makes them great. But it can also be, perhaps, what might put some people off.

Videos by American Songwriter

But no matter what you think about the group formed in 1969 with the long facial hair, sunglasses, and rock licks, the band has some undeniable songs. Here below, we wanted to dive into three of them (a trio for a trio) to showcase what makes ZZ Top terrific. Indeed, these are three songs for people who say they don’t like ZZ Top.

“Legs” from Eliminator (1983)

As with a number of ZZ Top’s hits, this song contains an amorous, even sexual, connotation. This song, which was released in 1983 on the band’s album Eliminator, has something of another meaning too. When lead singer Billy Gibbons sings, She got legs / She know how to use them, that can mean the subject is showing off a lovely physical trait, or she knows how to walk away from those who don’t give her the proper attention. Either way, this track, which hit No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, was the most popular track from ZZ Top, thanks to the radio and the early days of MTV. Sings Gibbons on the offering,

She got legs
She knows how to use them
She never begs
She knows how to choose them

She got a dime
All of the time
Stays out at night
Moving through time

“Sharp Dressed Man” from Eliminator (1983)

Another from the band’s breakout album Eliminator, this song stands the test of time. It may not have been the highest-charting song from ZZ Top (indeed, “Legs” is that for the group), but it may be the group’s longest-lasting. The one, forgive the pun, that actually has the longest legs. Why? Because it deals with attraction and beauty from more of a reserved standpoint. It’s not as direct as the single above. Instead, it’s subtle. Not a bathing suit shot but a photo of a person in a nice tuxedo—that’s the vibe. As such, the track will continue to live on in movies and TV shows whenever people are getting dressed up to go out. On the number, Gibbons sings,

Clean shirt, new shoes
And I don’t know where I am goin’ to
Silk suit, black tie
I don’t need a reason why-hy-hy

They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
‘Cause every girl crazy ’bout a sharp-dressed man

“La Grange” from Tres Hombres (1973)

From the band’s 1973 album Tres Hombres, this track demonstrates the band’s prowess for Southern blues rock. Less a novelty song like those above, this track get to the core of the genre. However, also like the songs above, it still is imbued with the band’s love for physical attraction, as the subject matter has to do with a brothel on the border of La Grange, Texas, known as the “Chicken Ranch.” And that place is also the subject of the movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, starring Dolly Parton. Sings Gibbons on the song,

Well, I hear it’s fine if you got the time
And the ten to get yourself in
A hmm, hmm
And I hear it’s tight most every night
But now I might be mistaken
Hmm, hmm, hmm
Have mercy

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Photo: Ross Halfin / BMG

Leave a Reply

Post-Millennial Classics: Fiona Apple’s “O’ Sailor,” a Song that Shone Despite a Muddled Release Process

Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish’s New Album ‘Hit Me Hard and Soft’ Becomes Her Third No. 1 Release in the U.K.