‘His Name Is ‘Legs’ (Ladies And Gentlemen)’ is the closing song on George Harrison’s sixth solo album Extra Texture (Read All About It).

It was a tribute to the drummer in the comedy group the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, ‘Legs’ Larry Smith, who appears on the recording.

‘Legs’ Larry Smith used to be in a group called the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. I hadn’t seen him for years. He’s a wonderfully eccentric person. He came to my house as a friend of Terry Doran. He dresses crazily and says very funny things and is completely ‘over-the-top’. He’d say ‘Hello sausage’ and things like: ‘everything’s dinky doo’. I thought ‘hello! this guy’s funny’. I was sitting around playing three-finger piano and decided to write a song about him. Really, you have to know him to find it funny…

Larry sang the bridges on the record. It’s a bit ‘off the wall’ both musically and lyrically; a piece of personal indulgence, like some other of my songs about things nobody else knows or cares about, except maybe two people. So many songs wouldn’t have come about otherwise.

George Harrison
I Me Mine

Harrison wrote the song at Christmas 1973. It was first recorded at Friar Park in 1974 during sessions for the Dark Horse album. The initial recording featured Harrison on guitar and piano, Billy Preston on electric piano, Tom Scott on saxophone, Willie Weeks on bass, and Andy Newmark on drums and percussion.

With the basic track complete, Harrison invited ‘Legs’ Larry Smith to sing the first two lines of each bridge, which he did in two takes. Smith also improvised spoken word parts towards the end of the song.

Even if you see them written down you still don’t understand them. It’s the craziest song both lyrically and musically.

English people may know more about ‘Legs’ than Americans. It’s actually ‘Legs’ Larry Smith, who was the drummer with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. And he’s a very nice person who’s very eccentric. And I’m very partial to eccentrics.

Anyway, I met him two years ago, a lot happened that Christmas. I had this piano around the fire. I just met Larry, he kept coming and going, and he just amazed me, all the things he was saying, so I decided to write a song about him. So the lyrics are just crazy, you know, just like Larry, actually.

George Harrison
Rockweek, BBC Radio 1, 6 September 1975

The song was completed at A&M Studios in Los Angeles in April 1975. The final additions were a tack piano part by David Foster, and a new horn arrangement performed by Tom Scott and Chuck Findley.

Harrison chose to mix ‘His Name Is ‘Legs’ (Ladies And Gentlemen)’ with Smith’s two spoken-word parts running simultaneously, creating an effect of incomprehensible babbling.

When I get him to sing the bridge – I’ve never seen him since then, incidentally – I just told him, look, I’ve got this song, and it was only the basic track at that time, of this song, and I want him to sing these lines in each bridge. So I gave him the words and he just went out and sort of did two takes of it, and then in the solo and at the end he just talks and says all these sort of silly jokes.

Listening to this dialogue that he says, listening to it really loud and over and over, it just gets a bit boring. I mean for everybody. Once you’ve heard the jokes a few times there’s not much fun, so I decided to put them both in at the same time and just mix them down so people have to strain with headphones to hear what it is.

George Harrison
Rockweek, BBC Radio 1, 6 September 1975

Previous song: ‘Grey Cloudy Lies’
Next album: Thirty Three & ⅓
Published: |