ZZ Top – Tush

The first time our band played in front of an audience…this was our opening song in the high school theater when I was 16. We thought of it as an old song but we played it in 1983…by that time it was only 8 years old.

ZZ Top came up with this song before a gig at a rodeo arena in Florence, Alabama. They were practicing a few hours before the show when Gibbons hit on the opening lick. He kept the riff going, and Dusty Hill improvised a vocal. The song was on the Fandango album.

The song peaked at #20 in the Billboard 100 and #14 in Canada in 1975.

On a humorous note… ZZ Top considered changing the lyrics and performing this as “Bush” when they were asked to play for fellow Texan George W. Bush at his inauguration party in 2001. They decided against it.

The song was named the 67th best hard rock song of all time by VH1.

From Songfacts

In a 1985 interview with Spin magazine, bass player Dusty Hill explained: “Tush, where I grew up, had two meanings. It meant what it means in New York. Tush is also like plush, very lavish, very luxurious. So it depended on how you used it. If somebody said, “That’s a tush car,’ you knew they weren’t talking about the rear and of the car. That’s like saying, ‘That’s a cherry short.’ But tush as in ‘That’s a nice tush on that girl,’ that’s definitely the same as the Yiddish word. I don’t know how we got it in Dallas. All it could have took was one guy moving down from New York.”

According to guitarist Billy Gibbons, they got the idea for the title from a song called “Tush Hog” by the Texas musician Roy Head, released in 1967.

Like “Pearl Necklace,” “Tube Snake Boogie,” and “Velcro Fly,” this song has different meanings depending on the listener interpretation. Such ambiguity keeps the songs radio-friendly while appealing to ZZ Top’s core audience.

The band pointed out to anyone who may have been offended that this song is gender neutral – it can be sung by a man or woman. Their point was proven in 1981 when the group Girlschool covered it on their album Hit & Run.

This was the first national hit for ZZ Top, who were very popular in Texas but little-known elsewhere. They usually play it in their encore.

This was ahead of its time if you consider how many “booty” songs came out years later, including “Baby Got Back,” “Rump Shaker” and “Thong Song.”

Billy Gibbons played a Les Paul guitar on this track through a 1969 Marshall Super Lead 100 amp. In the solo, he used a slide. He also used an unusual processing device called a Cooper Time Cube. Gibbons explained in Guitar World: “In a small rack-mounted can sits a small speaker right up next to maybe 50 feet of one-inch rubber tubing, which is coiled, spring-like. The sound waves actually take longer to travel, having to make these corners, creating a type of delay which is quite unlike the familiar sound of a digital delay. Some of the guitar sounds that appear to be doubled on the early albums are actually the byproduct of that oddball Cooper Time Cube.”

Tush

I been up, I been down
Take my word, my way around
I ain’t askin’ for much
I said, Lord, take me downtown
I’m just lookin’ for some tush

I been bad, I been good
Dallas, Texas, Hollywood
I ain’t askin’ for much
I said, Lord, take me downtown
I’m just lookin’ for some tush

Take me back way back home
Not by myself, not alone
I ain’t askin’ for much
I said, Lord, take me downtown
I’m just lookin’ for some tush

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

9 thoughts on “ZZ Top – Tush”

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