Title track from their 1967 album. The song reached #12 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in 1967.
the Hombres were a garage/psychedelic rock band formed during the mid-60s music era, in Memphis, Tennessee. The Hombres were: Jerry Lee Masters (bass), Gary Wayne McEwen (guitar), B.B. Cunningham (lead vocals, keyboards. He was also the brother of Bill Cunningham of The Box Tops) and John Will Hunter (drums). All were alumni at the Memphis High, and started their professional career by playing as a touring/road band version of Ronny & The Daytonas. However, the band was also dreaming of a career of its own. Cunningham and McEwen wrote the song “Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out),” which had the potential to be a hit single. It did become a Top 20 smash, peaking at #12 in 1967. But it was the only hit this band had achieved. After a few unsuccessful singles, by 1969 The Hombres were no more and are now seen as a one-hit wonder.
Interview of band member Gary Wayne McEwen. From markprindle.com
Now. Where did “Let It All Hang Out” come from? Let me take you back to the night before. Like I said, we were doing a tour in Texas. We were Ronnie and the Daytonas. So we were doing, you know, doing shows as Ronnie and the Daytonas. And we did a lot of `em. A lot of shows with a lot of people. A lot of big-name acts, which kinda surprised me.
So we were driving down the highway. We were doing about 80 miles an hour in a Cadillac with a trailer on the back. Which is always a lot of fun. It’s just constantly vibrating back and forth. And we’d reached a point – this was like right at dawn – I mean, we’re talking about when the coffee in your mouth has just really gone bad, you know, kinda bad breath. And you’re tired. You’re just fatigued. You’ve been traveling hours upon hours in the back seat. And all of a sudden – you know, Jerry’s doing the driving. And all of a sudden, he puts on the brakes and everybody leeeeans forward Like “What in the world are ya doin’, man?” And Johnny says, “It’s a chicken wreck!” “It’s a what?” He says, “It’s a chicken wreck!” And I looked up over the seat, and there were dead chickens all over the road. Some truck that had been filled with a whole bunch of cages full of chickens had jack-knifed or did something. And he was all over the road. And there were dead chickens and there were live chickens and there were chickens on the barbed wire. And the live chickens were picking on the dead chickens. And all this is going on, and BB is sitting over there in the left rear, and he just kinda opens up the door and begins falling out the door. You know, just kinda like sliding right out. And he says, “Well, let it all hang out!” And I broke up. I mean, it just – you ever had one of those times when you’re just so tired and fatigued, somebody says some kinda stupid joke or something, and you laugh your head off until you cry? That’s what happened to me. I just said, “‘Let it all hang out’? Where in the hell did you ever come up with that?” He said, “Oh, it’s just something we used to say when I was in the Air Force.”
And so the next night, we’re in Pasadena and we’re getting ready to write this song. Now, we don’t have any material to record. And so I’m sitting there and we’re just thinking about all this crap, and I said, “BB, what in the world was it you said last night that just broke me up so bad? You know, earlier this morning?” And he said, “Uh, I don’t. Well, I don’t.It was uhh.. let it – let it all hang out! That’s what it was.”
So there I began. We were going to write all the lyrics with no rhyme at all. Absolutely no rhymes. Just “AH GABBA DEE GOBBLEY JOBBA DEE!” Just something dumb. And I told him, “I can’t stand it. We’ve got to rhyme at least one line of this.” So I started thinking of all the words – “about,” “snout,” “doubt” – think of all kinds of words that rhyme with it. And I said, “Hey, there’s a bunch of `em!” And as we were sitting in that motel room, he’s trying to shave. The water isn’t workin’ half the time. And so we started picking up things. I said, “Just tell me something. What’s the craziest thing you can think of right now, off the top of your head? Just tell me.” And he says, “I don’t know, I can’t think of anything – HOT DOG!” I said, “What’s the matter?” He says, “My razor broke.” I said, “Okay, I’ll go with that!” (laughs)
He was talking about his Track II razor – that thing fell apart! He says, “Hot dog!,” you know? “My razor broke.” And see – oh no no no, I know what it was. I said, alright, I asked him, I said, “What’s the first thing -” That wasn’t the first thing though. The first thing – I said, “What’s the first thing you can think of?” and he says, “No parking by the sewer sign.”
Just out of nowhere?
And I said, “What!? Are you – What in the heck brought that on?” And he says, “I’ve never seen a sign that says `Sewer.’ Have you?” And I go, “Well, I’ve seen Stop signs.” And he says, “Well, you ever seen a `Sewer’ sign?” “Come to think about it, no!”
So it was “No parking by the sewer sign/Hot dog, my razor broke.” And here he is, trying to rinse off this razor with this water, and I said, “Well, how about water dripping UP a spout?” There’s the water pouring down, and I said, “Why wouldn’t this spout reverse? Water dripping up a spout? That rhymes with out! I don’t care, let it all hang out!” So there’s where the first verse came from.
I’m thinking about the idea of what about if a guy were walking upside-down on the ceiling, you know? And then we just started thinking just crazy things, like “Hanging from a pine tree by my knees.” Man, you can’t hang from a pine tree! Can ya? What would happen if you tried to hang from a pine tree? You’d fall on your head! “Sun shining through the shade.” Well, how does sun shine through shade? I mean, shade is shade. It don’t shine through it, not really. Just stupid crap like that. And here, the third line, “Nobody knows what it’s all about. It’s too much man, let it all hang out.”
“Saw a man walking upside down.” BB goes over and tries to turn on the television set, and the darn thing wouldn’t work. You know, “My TV’s on the blink.” “Made Galileo look like a Boy Scout.”
Yeah, what does that mean?
That came from an album from a guy named Brother Dave Gardner.
“It’s rainin’ inside a big brown moon.”
Where’d that come from?
Well, let me ask you something. You ever mooned anybody? You ever stuck your butt out the window? Well, Johnny come up with that one. And you know what it would mean if you said it was a BROWN moon. Now there was a phrase going on at that time, during that era – now we said this line, “How does that mess your baby up, leg?” – everybody would say, “How does that mess your mind up, Jack?” And so after a while, if you’re four guys together, you get to where you start inverting things, like “How’s that mess your leg up, baby?” “How’s that mess your baby up, leg?” “How’s that mess your mind-” You see, just stupid crap. It’s stuff you’re doing at the supper table or in the Holiday Inn room. “Well, how’s that mess your baby up, leg?”
“Eating a Reuben-“
“-sandwich with sauerkraut.” I think one of the guys ordered a Reuben sandwich one time just `cause it was on the menu. I took a bite of it; it was horrible. At least, I didn’t like it. But that’s just something, you know, we found it on the – see, we stayed in every Holiday Inn, so we knew the menus pretty good. “Don’t stop now baby/Let it all hang out.”
So that’s what we did. And BB just talks funny. I don’t know – a lot of people seem to think that it was some kind of Texas drawl or something. Naw! This boy just talks that way! (laughs) Huey was down the hall on the phone the whole time we were recording. So, after he got off the phone, he came to hear what we had done. When he heard it, he said, “That @!X#** is a monster!”
Let It All Hang Out
“A preachment, dear friends, you are about to receive
On John Barleycorn, nicotine, and the temptations of Eve”
(Bronx cheer)No parkin’ by the sewer sign
Hot dog, my razor’s broke
Water drippin’ up the spout
But I don’t care, let it all hang outHangin’ from a pine tree by my knees
Sun is shinin’ through the shade
Nobody knows what it’s all about,
It’s too much, man, let it all hang outSaw a man walkin’ upside down
My T.V.’s on the blink
Made Galileo look like a Boy Scout
Sorry ’bout that, let it all hang outSleep all day, drive all night
Brain my numb, can’t stop now
For sure ain’t no doubt
Keep an open mind, let it all hang outIt’s rainin’ inside a big brown moon
How does that mess you baby up, leg
Eatin’ a Reuben sandwich with sauerkraut
Don’t stop now, baby, let it all hang outLet it all hang outSource: LyricFindSongwriters: Jeff Paris / Moon Calhoun