“Sharp-dressed depends on who you are. If you’re on a motorcycle, really sharp leather is great. If you’re a punk rocker, you can get sharp that way. You can be sharp or not sharp in any mode. It’s all in your head. If you feel sharp, you be sharp.”
— Dusty Hill, bassist, ZZ Top
The video for Sharp Dressed Man picks where the video for Gimme All Your Lovin’ left off. The three girls are still driving the Eliminator, the ghosts of ZZ Top are still giving away the keys to the car, and Peter Tramm is still stuck in a job where he gets no respect. In Gimme All Your Lovin’, Tramm was a gas station attendant. In this video, he’s working as a valet at an exclusive club and not even Truman Capote is willing to give him any respect. Luckily, the ghosts of ZZ Top have not forgotten about Tramm and, after one ride in the Eliminator, Tramm is ready to hit the dance floor and win the love of the young woman (played by Galyn Gorg) who earlier looked back at him while being dragged into the club by her boorish boyfriend. By the end of the video, even Truman Capote is getting down!
Sharp Dressed Man remains one of ZZ Top’s signature songs and this video is still among their best-remembered. It’s not surprising that the video was an MTV hit because, for many members of the then-young network’s audience, it was the ultimate in wish-fulfillment. No matter who you were or who was treating you with disrespect, there was always a chance that ZZ Top might appear and toss you the keys to Billy Gibbons’s car.
Like Gimme All Your Lovin’, this video was directed by Randy Newman’s brother, Tim. Tim Newman would return to direct the next installment in the adventures of the Eliminator and the ZZ Top Girls, Legs. Anyone want to guess what tomorrow’s music video of the day is going to be?