Initially unsuccessful in the UK upon its early 1984 release, in the wake of the band’s American success (the single reached # 37 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart), it was promptly re-released, and reached # 10 on the UK Singles Chart. It ties with the band’s 1992 cover of Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas as their highest-charting single in the UK.
The song was produced by band manager Bill Ham, and recorded and mixed by Terry Manning.
Gimme All Your Lovin’ was the first ZZ Top single to use synthesizers; the new sound made them a huge commercial success. Lyrically, the song is said to be a variation on a common theme for the band: Sex.
The video (see above) features ZZ Top playing at a gas station, and introduces classic ZZ elements such as the red “ZZ Eliminator Car,” the “ZZ Keychain” and the “Three ZZ Girls” as heroines. It is the first of a ZZ Top music video series.
The video was ZZ Top’s first and also the first to have a sequel. Wildly successful on MTV, the clip showed a mechanic/gas station attendant who is working when three beautiful women appear in “The Eliminator,” which was a 1933 Ford Hot Rod owned by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Our hero gets the keys to the car, and goes for a ride with the ladies, who return him some time later. In a brilliant move, they left room for a sequel, as he sees the car driving off. The story picks up in the video for Sharp Dressed Man, where our hero is now a valet. Establishing the car and the girls as iconic images of ZZ Top helped them wow the younger generation. The car was so popular that Gibbons had another one made to take on tour.
The video for this song helped pay off the car that starred in it. Billy Gibbons estimates that he spent about $250,000 buying and restoring the car, and was deep in debt on the vehicle. By putting the car in the video, it became a business expense, and thus a write-off. The car was used on the album cover and became a personification of the band.
The video was directed by Tim Newman (Randy Newman’s brother), who did all of the ZZ Top videos with the girls and cars. By using these props, he defined the band’s image without making them work very hard. Newman said in the book I Want My MTV: “The song seemed to be about a horny, yearning kid. So I had the idea to base it around a guy who worked at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. I would not be making a huge demand on ZZ Top’s acting ability if I cast them in the role of mythological characters.”
Editor’s Note: Though not necessarily my musical cup of tea in 1983-1984, this song, as well as the entire Eliminator album, still brings me back to that time period. Funny how time changes the way music makes you feel. It brings back the halls of high school, the yellow stacked lockers, and the girl who had the one right next to mine, who was always spraying copious amounts of Aqua Net hairspray on her very 80’s heavy metal hair between classes.