Legs (song)

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"Legs"
Legs - ZZTop.jpg
Single by ZZ Top
from the album Eliminator
B-side "A Fool for Your Stockings"
Released 1984
Format
Recorded 1982
Genre
Length
  • 4:35 (Original Version)
  • 3:33 (Single Mix)
  • 4:31 (Extended Mix)
  • 7:48 (Dance Remix)
Label Warner Bros.
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Bill Ham
ZZ Top singles chronology
"TV Dinners"
(1983)
"Legs"
(1984)
"Sleeping Bag"
(1985)
"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 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 remix 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 (David Wakefield) 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. ZZ Top's trademark showcar, the Eliminator, pulls up with the Eliminator girls (Jeana Tomasino, Kymberly Herrin, and Danièle Arnaud). The Three help the cook to his feet, dust him off, then slip into the shoe store through the back door. The Eliminators find the dejected salesgirl, put her abusers in their place, then present the salesgirl to the ZZ Top, who magically appear to bestow her the Eliminator's keys.

The Three whisk away the salesgirl for a complete makeover: new hairstyle, makeup, and sexy new wardrobe (pink stockings and garters, a matching short skirt, lace-trimmed ankle socks with spike heels). The Eliminator arrives at the burger joint, where the salesgirl debuts her confident new self. She strides into the restaurant with the Eliminator Girls and, with the help of the friendly bikers, uses muscle to keep the more aggressive men at bay. Taking her fella, the cook, by the hand the happy pair leaves the restaurant and ride a dune buggy into the distance. The burger joint's female owner and the rowdy customers watch them leave, sullen over being put in their place. The Eliminator girls invite some of the friendly bikers to join them and the Eliminator drives away as ZZ Top magically 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]

Parodies[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.

On the May 9, 2017 episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Fallon dressed as Dusty Hill, and was joined by guests Chris Stapleton (as Billy Gibbons) and Kevin Bacon (as Frank Beard). Imitating ZZ Top, the trio sang a parody of "Legs" as "Neck" in the show's recurring "First Drafts of Rock" segment. The song referred to body parts other than legs, including the lines "She's got thumbs / She uses them to text me / What is texting? / It's 1983."

Chart performance[edit]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gundersen, Edna (December 21, 2013). "Catalog box sets sum up Beatles, Dylan, Eagles, Ramones". USA Today. Retrieved May 7, 2015. 
  2. ^ Diehl, Matt (February 2, 1998). "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". Archived from the original on March 23, 2006. Retrieved 2010-02-07.  . ProSoundWeb.
  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. 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. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6797." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Legs". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – ZZ Top - Legs search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  14. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – ZZ Top – Legs" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  15. ^ "Charts.org.nz – ZZ Top – Legs". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  16. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  17. ^ a b "Eliminator – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  18. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JULY 21, 1984". Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. . Cash Box.
  19. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 41, No. 17, January 05 1985". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1984". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  22. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1984". Archived from the original on September 30, 2012. . Cash Box.
  23. ^ Frost, Deborah (1985). ZZ Top – Bad And Worldwide. Rolling Stone Press. ISBN 0020029500. 
  24. ^ Sinclair, David (1986). Tres Hombres: The Story of ZZ Top. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-86369-167-6.