Legs (song)

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"Legs"
Single by ZZ Top
from the album Eliminator
B-side "A Fool for Your Stockings"
Released 1984
Format
Recorded 1982
Genre
Length
  • 4:35 (Album)
  • 3:34 (Single)
  • 4:31 (Remix)
  • 7:48 (Dance Mix)
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Bill Ham
ZZ Top singles chronology
"TV Dinners"
(1983)
"Legs"
(1984)
"Sleeping Bag"
(1985)

"Legs" is a song performed by the band ZZ Top from their 1983 album Eliminator. The song was released as a single in 1984 and reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. The special dance mix version of the song peaked at number thirteen on the dance charts.[3] Although all three members of ZZ Top are credited with playing on the track, only Gibbons was actually present; engineer Terry Manning was responsible for all the musical parts save the lead guitar.[4] However, David Blayney (ZZ Top stage manager for 15 years) explains in his book[5] Sharp Dressed Men that the pumping synthesizer effect in "Legs" was introduced in pre-production by Linden Hudson. During the final tracking sessions, Terry Manning (final Eliminator tracking engineer) called Linden Hudson and asked how he did the synth effects for "Legs", although Terry could have easily pulled it off if he needed to. The single version of “Legs" is much more synthesizer-driven than the album version. Although you can hear a synthesizer throughout the album version, it is toned down. There is also a three-note guitar riff heard throughout most of the album version of “Legs”, and it is a minute longer than the single version.

Music video[edit]

The "Legs" video was the third and last of the Eliminator series of videos that introduced the now-iconic 1933 Ford,[6] "Eliminator girls", and ZZ Top-as-benevolent-spirits tropes, all of which have become firmly established aspects of the band's iconography. "Legs" was important in this regard as it diversified the subject of transformation from man ("Gimme All your Lovin'" and "Sharp Dressed Man") to woman.

After stepping in a mud puddle and bumping into tough-looking but polite bikers at a crosswalk, a pretty salesgirl (Wendy Frazier) enters a burger joint. She places a take-out order but suffers harassment by everyone there except a handsome young cook who is also bullied by his co-workers. The salesgirl takes her order, escapes the place and her tormentors, but in her haste leaves her glasses and a food container. The cook retrieves the items and runs after her to the shoe store where she works.

At the shoe store, the store owner and the senior salesman both shove the salesgirl around, while a customer laughs raucously at her misfortune. The cook dashes into the shop and then to the stock room to return the girl's items. She thanks him shyly, but the owner and the salesman burst in, and heave the cook out of the store. The Eliminator pulls up, and the Eliminator girls (Jeana Tomasino, Kymberly Herrin, and Danièle Arnaud) emerge from the car. They help the cook to his feet, dust him off, then slip into the shoe store through the back door. The Eliminator girls find the dejected salesgirl, put her abusers in their place, then present the salesgirl to the ZZ Top band members, who have suddenly appeared to bestow upon her the keys to the Eliminator.

The salesgirl is whisked away for a complete makeover: new hairstyle, makeup, and sexy new wardrobe, including pink stockings and garters, a matching short skirt, and spike heels from her now-doting boss. The Eliminator arrives at the burger joint, where the salesgirl debuts her confident new self. She strides into the restaurant with the Eliminator girls behind her. With the help of the friendly bikers, the salesgirl gets her man as the Eliminator girls keep the more aggressive men at bay. The happy pair leaves the restaurant hand in hand and ride away in a dune buggy, while the burger joint's female owner and the rowdy customers watch them leave, sullen and angry over being put in their place. The Eliminator girls invite some of the friendly bikers to join them and the Eliminator drives away as the ZZ Top band members appear one last time to wave at the camera.

This was the third music video directed by Tim Newman.

The spinning, furry Dean guitars also premiered in this video.

Awards[edit]

The video won the 1984 MTV Video Music Award for Best Group Video.[7] This was the first year the award was given. The commercial and music video director, Tim Newman, provided direction and cinematography for this as well as the ZZ Top music videos "Gimme All Your Lovin'," "Sharp Dressed Man," and "My Head's In Mississippi" (as well as "I Love LA," for his cousin Randy Newman). Sim Sadler and Bob Sarles edited "Legs," for which both received nominations for Best Editing in the first MTV Video Music Awards, in the Billboard Music Video Awards, and in the American Music Video Awards that year.

Cover versions[edit]

Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for "Soccer to Me", a 1985 episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Nickelback covered the song on the 2011 ZZ Top: A Tribute from Friends

Tina Turner added the song to her live concerts and a live recording of it was include on the second disk of her box set The Collected Recordings – Sixties to Nineties.

Trace Adkins covered his version in 2002 on the album Sharp Dressed Men: A Tribute to ZZ Top.

Kid Rock covered the song on the 2002 album WWF Forceable Entry.[8]

Parody[edit]

The video was parodied in a 1984 episode of St. Elsewhere, in which ZZ Top themselves, as well as the Eliminator girls appeared. In the scene, hospital orderly Luther (Eric Laneuville) falls asleep as the radio is playing "Legs", and he dreams the Eliminator girls come to his aid, helping him to seek revenge on senior hospital staff who have oppressed him.

Chart performance[edit]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ZZ Top: Biography". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Retrieved July 1, 2013. ""Legs" introduced a pulsating synthesizer beat into ZZ Top's crunching blues-rock riffs." 
  2. ^ Diehl, Matt. "ZZ Top: Rhythmeen". Rolling Stone. Audio-music.info. Retrieved July 1, 2013. "Touted by ZZ Top as a return to roots, Rhythmeen finds the power trio ditching the synth-pop thud of their '80s hits "Legs" and "Sharp Dressed Man."" 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 287. 
  4. ^ The Big ZZ Top thread at the Wayback Machine (archived March 23, 2006). ProSoundWeb. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Blayney, David (1994). Sharp Dressed Men. Hyperion Books. p. 227. ISBN 0-7868-8005-8. 
  6. ^ "The ZZ Top Eliminator: Profile of a Hot Rod". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  7. ^ Rosen, Craig (August 5, 2013). "ZZ Top’s ‘Legs’ and the Women Who Own Them". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Sound Tracks". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media) 114 (11): 24. 16 March 2002. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  9. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  10. ^ "Ultratop.be – ZZ Top – Legs" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  11. ^ "Legs – ZZ TOP" (in Dutch). Top 30. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ CHART NUMBER 1438 – Saturday, July 21, 1984 at the Wayback Machine (archived July 29, 2007). CHUM. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Top Singles." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  14. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – ZZ Top - Legs search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  16. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – ZZ Top – Legs" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  17. ^ "Charts.org.nz – ZZ Top – Legs". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  18. ^ "Archive Chart: 1985-03-09" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  19. ^ a b "Eliminator – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  20. ^ CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JULY 21, 1984 at the Wayback Machine (archived October 1, 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  21. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 41, No. 17, January 05 1985". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1984". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  24. ^ The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1984 at the Wayback Machine (archived September 30, 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  25. ^ Frost, Deborah (1985). ZZ Top – Bad And Worldwide. Rolling Stone Press. ISBN 0020029500. 
  26. ^ Sinclair, David (1986). Tres Hombres: The Story of ZZ Top. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-86369-167-6.