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Sharp Dressed Man
"Sharp Dressed Man" is a song performed by ZZ Top from their 1983 album Eliminator. The song was produced by band manager Bill Ham, and recorded and mixed by Terry Manning. Pre-production recording engineer Linden Hudson was very involved in the early stages of this song's production.
At 2007's VH1 Rock Honors, Nickelback covered the song as a tribute (Billy Gibbons had earlier made a guest appearance on Nickelback's own song "Rockstar" & "Follow You Home"). ZZ Top played this song at halftime of the 2008 Orange Bowl college football bowl game.
The video for "Sharp Dressed Man" continues the "male fantasy come to life" of the "Gimme All Your Lovin'" video released earlier in 1983. As in the previous video, an attractive man (dancer/model Peter Tramm) who is experiencing frustration in his menial job is assisted in gaining social stature and prowess by a triad of very attractive and somewhat mysterious women traveling in ZZ Top's signature red car. ZZ Top themselves play a role in the narrative, both by playing themselves as performing band members and as rather ethereal spirits who encourage and assist the young man by providing him with the car keys that enable him to go for a very long drive with the women. The young man returns to the site of his previous frustration (his workplace, a nightclub) and empowered both by his new-found status and by both the women's and ZZ Top's encouragement, embarks on a new romantic adventure with another attractive young woman (actress Galyn Görg) who has previously abandoned her date.
Directed by Tim Newman
This is the only video in the trilogy that does not have an intro.
Cover versions and parodies
- The song is played at the Bang Bang Bar in episode 15 of the revived Twin Peaks series, underscoring a key fight scene.
- In a dream-themed episode of St. Elsewhere, orderly Luther (Eric Laneuville) falls asleep with the song playing on the radio. He dreams himself into a version of the video taking place at St. Elsewhere; the mysterious ZZ Girls and the red Eliminator car appear, but the band members are impersonated by the show's stars Howie Mandel, Ed Begley, Jr., and Stephen Furst. At the end of the song, Luther wakes and opens the door to leave--and finds the ZZ Keychain in the lock.
- Lucyfire, the musical project of Johan Edlund, Tiamat front-man, covered this song on their first album, This Dollar Saved My Life at Whitehorse, released in 2001.
- Brad Paisley released a country version of the song as a single in 2002, which also appeared on the album Sharp Dressed Men: A Tribute to ZZ Top.
- The song was performed by 2008 American Idol winner David Cook along with the legendary band on the American Idol finale on May 21, 2008
- Norwegian heavy metal band Chrome Division recorded a cover of the song for their 2008 album, Booze, Broads and Beelzebub.
- Canadian Electropop band Dragonette created a cover of this song.
- Deborah Harry covered the song on her "Domination" tour of the UK, Switzerland and Belgium in July 1991. Her former band, Blondie, brought the song back twenty years later in their Panic of Girls Tour. In the Dallas show, Billy Gibbons joined the band to sing the song along with Harry.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic used "Sharp Dressed Man" in his song "Hooked on Polkas".
- Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song in "Romancing Miss Stone," an episode of their 1980s TV series. During the song, Simon and Theodore impersonate ZZ Top.
- Clifton Chenier performed "Sharp Dressed Man" on his 1992 album I Ain't No Playboy.
- One episode of Irregular Webcomic!'s podcast, Irregular Podcast, featured the authors singing a parody entitled "Time Traveling Man" in a time travel-themed episode.
- Tim Hawkins parodied it as "Old White Man."
- Dutch singer Ilse DeLange sometimes performs this song in live concerts.
- Former National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) wrestler Jimmy "Jam" Garvin used the song as his entrance theme.
- Austin band 8½ Souvenirs play a swing version on their album Twisted Desire.
- Nickelback at the 2007 VH1 Rock Honors Ceremony.
- Charlie Daniels Band covered the song on their Tailgate Party album, released in 1999.
- ApologetiX parodies the song in "Smart Blest Man", telling the story of Solomon
- Jessica Simpson performed the song along with ZZ Top in 2008.
- The song was used in a promotional advertisement for the 2013 video game Crysis 3.
- The M.O.B. (a supergroup consisting of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, guitarist Jonny Lang, and Steven Tyler) performed the song on the 2011 album ZZ Top: A Tribute from Friends.
- The song was used as a theme song for the television series Duck Dynasty, with the intro styled like ZZ Top's videos. ZZ Top would later play the song in the series finale.
- A cover of the song was featured in the music video game Guitar Hero while a master recording of a live performance was used in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.
- In the Ulence Flats Bar in Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter (renamed the Rocket Bar in the VGA remake), ZZ Top is featured as a live performer. "Sharp Dressed Man" is one of the songs which they play in the game.
- In 2011 The Beards covered the song on the compilation album Like a Version Volume 7.
- In 2017 experimental group Xiu Xiu covered the song for The A.V. Club Undercover series.
- Chris Young has occasionally covered this song at his live shows.
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