Lyric of the Week: ZZ TOPPIN'
Updated: Jul 29
Well I was born in sixty five into a good Jewish home
I went to Hebrew day school where I took it real slow
I was bar mitzvah’d in a big black hat
I went off to yeshiva and came out a cool cat
Well I was never in Texas, that I can’t hide
But I’m still bad and I’m still nationwide
So get out of my way I ain’t stoppin’
While I go out ZZ Toppin’
Saturday night my heart pumps a blues beat
I’m romancin’ a Cadillac down on Main Street
Dressed in my white suit lookin’ good for the girls
I’ll bet they think I’m the craziest dude in the world
I’m lookin’ for some tush as best as I can
I’m lovably loco I’m the sharp dressed man
While the gang goes out bar hoppin’
I go out ZZ Toppin’
I stopped trimmin’ the hair on my face
So it’s growin’ and growin’ till it reaches my waist
The girls in town they might think I’m weird
But they all wanna know who’s the man behind the beard
They’re lookin’ at me and wonder where I’ve been
I look over my cheap sunglasses and flash ‘em a grin
The whole city’s out head boppin’
I’m out ZZ Toppin’
©2016 The Hesh Inc.
I was aware of "that little ole band from Texas" back in the day when their tapes were advertised in the Columbia House introductory offers, but I didn't become familiar with its music until 1983, during my graduation trip back to the US after spending my high school years in Israel. Upon my return, I tuned in to the legendary MTV that I had heard so much about, and within the first half hour of watching I saw the video for "Gimme All Your Lovin'." That, along with "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs," dominated the airwaves and MTV screens in those heady days. (Of course, the band members' image was just as significant as their music, and after spending so many years in the Orthodox Jewish universe, I couldn't help but remark on their resemblance to some of the people I knew in yeshiva and elsewhere.) But I loved the band's groove, and before the end of my trip, I had snapped up several of their older albums (First Album, Fandango, and Deguello) as well as their current hit (Eliminator) and brought them back with me to Israel. Few people in my circle knew who these guys were. Then, two years later, Eliminator became a huge hit in Israel, and I was vindicated.
I'm not going to say that this was one of my greatest achievements as a songwriter, but I loved ZZ Top's image and sound, and I wanted to write a song about them, in their style. I imagined it had a groove similar to "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide." But I never recorded, performed, or rehearsed it ... come to think of it, I don't think I ever played it, even by myself. So it was all in my head, and my notebooks ... till now.