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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Interview with ‘Pants on the Ground’ man Larry Platt

larry Platt pants on the ground

“Pants on the Ground” songmeister Larry Platt was “Idol’s” gimmick du jour last night. The producers gave Platt a platform to perform his song even though he was more than three decades too old to qualify for the show. But they knew he was comedy gold.

On a more serious note, he was part of the civil rights movement, too. I got him on the phone at about noon today. He was rather difficult to understand at times but I cobbled together the best that I could his reactions to his song and how “Idol” portrayed him.

“It played real real good,” he said. “I liked it. I loved it.”

He was inspired to create the song three years ago when he saw a guy walking down a downtown Atlanta street with a baby in his arm and his pants slipping below his hips. “He had his underwear showing,” Platt recalled. The song came to him spontaneously. He started chanting the chorus to “Pants on the Ground.”

“He was being disrespectful so I wanted to embarrass him,” Platt said. “He rolled his eyes and pulled his pants up a little bit.”

Platt has since done that to others as well.

I tried to glean some background about him. He said he was shot in the eye when he was age three and now at age 63, is “on disability.” I asked what types of jobs he’s had over the years and he said he can fix cars. That’s pretty much all I could get. He said he loves to sing and exercise. (On the show, he proved he could do both at the same time.)

He went to the Georgia Dome last June for auditions without realizing he was way out of the age limit of 16 to 28. The producers heard his song and fell in love with him. They probably knew instantly they were going to put him in front of the judges for pure entertainment sake. “I can do things better than a lot of 28 year olds,” he said.

Why did he call himself “General” when he was never in the military? “I’m a general of the civil rights movement,” he said, saying he marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and Hosea Williams back in the 1960s. (Williams apparently coined that nickname for him.) According to my colleague Eric Stirgus, we have checked out his claims in the past and there is photographic evidence of his civil rights past. He said he would often parry with Atlanta city council members.

Platt said he likes to talk to government officials about helping the downtrodden, the poor, the homeless. “I like to help keep people from being dominated. This should be a civilized state. Everyone should be treated equal.”

I asked if he had other songs and he said he had a female version of “Pants on the Ground,” too. He also said he’s pondering offers to record the song for potential sale. (I’d say he better do it quickly!)

He concluded the interview with this advice: “Be a man. Don’t be walking around showing yourself to the world! I don’t think that’s right!”

My colleague Mike Morris dug up some more history about the guy from our archives.

Check out the story.

The Atlanta man became an overnight Internet sensation with his “American Idol” song about pulling up your pants. Comments on his performance raced across Twitter even before he stopped singing. A video was quickly downloaded on youtube, and registered over 50,000 views. Among Google trends this morning, “pants on the ground” and “pants on the ground video” were Nos. 2 and 3 on the most-searched terms (”Teddy Pendergrass” was tops).

Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

200 comments Add your comment

JTesla

January 14th, 2010
10:43 am

Pants on the ground!

Rickster

January 14th, 2010
11:09 am

God bless him! (AM I allowed to type that first word? We’ll see if Pac Man lets it get by.)

Now go on vacation Rodney!! :-)

Rickster

January 14th, 2010
11:09 am

But wasn’t it “Pants on the Ground?”

BigBam

January 14th, 2010
11:18 am

Hilarious. Hysterical. Very True. Pull ya pants up. My wife and I had a good time laughing at this. We always make comments when we see people especially grown men with their pants on the ground and now we have a song. Ain’t life grand. Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground. I feel you Larry.

Rickster

January 14th, 2010
11:22 am

Dude… what’s with the audio?? It sounds like it’s being sent via a tin cans & string telephone!

Mercedes S.

January 14th, 2010
11:32 am

Nana, prayers and wishes for all the best.

Rickster

January 14th, 2010
11:34 am

Nana, you and your dad are in my prayers as well.

Rickster

January 14th, 2010
11:35 am

And looking back at the two videos (”Pants on the Ground” and “You Are My Brother”) I found something that Randy is good for…

“Dawg, a thousand million billion percent”… comic relief.

Rickster

January 14th, 2010
11:40 am

And for a 62 year old.. he’s in GREAT shape! I wouldn’t want to mess with him.

Heck… I’m 15 years younger… and I couldn’t do those ab crunches!

wreckedpizza

January 14th, 2010
12:08 pm

Nana- you and your father are in my thoughts.

Rodney- enjoy honeymoon and time away from the blog. Queen D will do well as your stand-in, I am sure.

Rickster

January 14th, 2010
12:19 pm

Hope Linny has something to restore her files when she gets her computer replaced.

srh

January 14th, 2010
12:29 pm

Possibly the best song to ever come out of AI. It was very catchy!!

Rickster

January 14th, 2010
12:32 pm

Going back to the Boston night auditions, here’s something that made me laugh.

Justin Williams (aka “Cancer Man”) made it to Hollywood week and the judge made no sign that they recognized him when he came in.

But after he sang, Kara said, “You know, I’m going to remember you.”

http://www.ajc.com/video?bcpid=1659825399&bclid=1716449804&bctid=61644653001

Rodney Ho

January 14th, 2010
12:48 pm

You’d think the producers would have clued the judges in that he was there before. They’d done it with other contestants (Carly Smithson, Gina Glocksen)

MrsMattDuke

January 14th, 2010
1:03 pm

LOVE the song! My sentiments exactly!

Rush Cheney

January 14th, 2010
1:04 pm

Come on Rodney. Give the poor guy a break. Did you have to take a shot at him by proclaiming him “rather difficult to understand”. He’s an old guy. Cut him some slack why dont’cha.

Rush Cheney

January 14th, 2010
1:05 pm

Enter your comments here

Laverne

January 14th, 2010
1:06 pm

Hats off to the General, maybe that God sent national TV exposure will get his voice heard on other topics of all our concerns. I will buy his CD !!!

everett

January 14th, 2010
1:12 pm

“Pants on the Ground” is even a sensation in normally mellowed-out Seattle! Taking a step back, enjoying the fun, recognizing the truth in the humor – doesn’t that equal entertainment?

Fully agree with those of you who think Idol took cheap, ugly shots at the welder. And as for the little girl from Tennessee…I think she behaved with grace and dignity in the face of people who don’t understand the rich integrity “country folks” offer. And I do not give a fig about anyone’s accent; I treasure that legacy to our language.

Nana, we’re praying for you.

lunchlady k

January 14th, 2010
1:18 pm

LOVED IT !!! often we see grown men with thier pant’s on the ground then the little boys copy .. with thier pant’s on the ground …. reality is the best comedy … hope the General can make a few buks with this little song !!

al

January 14th, 2010
1:20 pm

Pratt was at Hoasa FTH a few weeks ago getting a hair cut. When he was done my friend DJ Jay let him jet on the mike and he did this song. It was hit then. Most 40 – 60 year old black males are tried of seeing this negitive image of black males. We have enough problems with crime, drugs, homelessness, job less and relationships issues so to add one more thing like having your pants below your ass is not accepetable. It is a thug image, a prision thing, a gang thing and now a gay thing. So the message is very clear pull your pants and self up NOW

[...] in, American Idol can still be counted on to deliver viral video gold. Pants On The Ground VideogumInterview with ‘Pants on the Ground’ man Larry Platt American Idol BuzzView All (61) [...]

mdl

January 14th, 2010
1:27 pm

Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground… LMBO but so true!!!!!

Mercedes S.

January 14th, 2010
1:28 pm

When I stand on the up-escalator behind some sloven-clad idiot with his pants crotch around his knees I really must steel myself not to pull his pants all the way down. It would only take one small jerk… Now I can hum “Pants on the Ground” and let it go at that. That old guy is MY Idol today!

Pete

January 14th, 2010
1:32 pm

What makes Platt so endearing and entertaining is that he’s REAL, not some desperate wannabee……….pretending, begging for attention.
Let’s hope he get’s to copyright the song, records it, and make’s a fortune off of it.
That’s what America is about.

T. Williams

January 14th, 2010
1:33 pm

Go General!!! I thought he was very entertaining and in very good shape. Loved it.

Rickster

January 14th, 2010
1:43 pm

Heck… Kara even remember Joanna Paciti having been signed previously with A&M reocrds. But she couldn’t remember Justin?

Geeesh!

Diane

January 14th, 2010
1:53 pm

I’m so tired of going to the Arbor Place Mall in Douglasville and having to view some guys underwear! Last Sunday I saw a youth with thin plaid boxers and jeans so low that you could see his unmentionables through the boxers. Sing it, General! Lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground!

Lee

January 14th, 2010
1:53 pm

Here we go again ….. who really cares?

Tryon

January 14th, 2010
1:59 pm

He got de drop on de cool fools,
Pulled em short by their own tools,
Now they know de General rules. Yeah!

KPH

January 14th, 2010
2:01 pm

Good show last night. I was kind of surprised at how much good talent showed up in Atlanta. I think I saw a couple of top tens in the mix. The General was a hoot and I totally agree with the message in the song. Pull your damn pants up dummies! :-)

Billy D

January 14th, 2010
2:01 pm

whats awesome is you can see him the 1st tuesday of the month at fulton county court house…threatening to kill people. hes a great american hero!

Emma

January 14th, 2010
2:05 pm

I can’t get Pants on the Ground out of my head. You go General.

Paige

January 14th, 2010
2:11 pm

He should collab with Kanye…

Necole Bitchie.com: Pants On The Ground…

January 14th, 2010
2:12 pm

[...] Whew Chile. Where do they find these people? lol! Source [...]

Necole Bitchie.com: Pants On The Ground…

January 14th, 2010
2:12 pm

[...] Whew Chile. Where do they find these people? lol! Source [...]

JTesla

January 14th, 2010
2:15 pm

So next week we get Shania? Talk about someone that could leave their pants on the ground… at the foot of my bed. Just sayin.

— TV Tattle

January 14th, 2010
2:19 pm

[...] 14, 2010 "Pants on the Ground" man — a civil rights veteran — liked his "Idol&#034… "It played real real good," Larry Platt said of his much talked-about visit on last [...]

Melissa's mom

January 14th, 2010
2:21 pm

My husband and I thought it was great! I hope this makes Mr Platt rich.

D

January 14th, 2010
2:24 pm

I thought that ending the show with the General was classic. He left us with a catchy phrase that these young men need to listen too…..the do look like fools with they pants on the ground…..I am still laughing at his tune…..lmao!

Fly Boi J

January 14th, 2010
2:26 pm

There are actually a couple of remixes on Youtube.

Heres one of them

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0txIu_8vKEY

[...] guy? And how did he end up on the show? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tracked Platt down and asked him a few questions over the phone. Apparently, [...]

Greg

January 14th, 2010
2:29 pm

No doubt….fools…get those pants off the ground. No one wants to see your skidmarked draws son.

bridget haar

January 14th, 2010
2:30 pm

omg i loveeeee this song!!!!!!! simons right this would be a hit song!!!!! :D

6Digitballin

January 14th, 2010
2:35 pm

that was originally my song but carletta told me to stop singing it at the marta stations! I didnt listen and now he is famous and not me!

CJ

January 14th, 2010
2:37 pm

I’m pretty sure i’ve seen this guy when walking to a sporting event begging for money.

Denyse

January 14th, 2010
2:42 pm

Larry Platt is MY IDOL!! I have been singing that song ever since last night. If William Huong can make it big with that crappy singing he did — and even got a record deal and played Vegas — I’m sure SOMEONE will lett Platt record “Pants on the Ground.” Go Larry!!!

[...] guy? And how did he end up on the show? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tracked Platt down and asked him a few questions over the phone. Apparently, [...]

Hallelujah!

January 14th, 2010
2:45 pm

Enter your comments here

Hallelujah!

January 14th, 2010
2:46 pm

b98.5 put a beat to “Pants on the Ground” and did a remix this morning! Hilarious!!!!! Made my day.

Ms Chelle

January 14th, 2010
2:48 pm

He made the show worth watching….

T-Bar

January 14th, 2010
2:51 pm

I love you General Larry! You are the best & I sincerely hope you get a winfall from this. Say hello to Dr. Pirtle for me! -R-

Highlander

January 14th, 2010
2:57 pm

I’ve been thinking about last night’s show and the post production that went into it (fake reenactments, silly sound effects, added graphics, etc.) What I finally realized is, it looked like a cross between American Idol and TMZ! (NOT in a good way! …Could there BE a good way??)

It came off as kinda disrespectful of Atlanta in particular and the South in general! Just another “smart” move by Simon Fuller and his gang!

[...] guy? And how did he end up on the show? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tracked Platt down and asked him a few questions over the phone. Apparently, [...]

Highlander

January 14th, 2010
3:03 pm

Deirdre is correct. (Again, dammit!) ;-)

Karen Carpenter was the first to make a hit of ‘Superstar’ and still holds the top Billboard spot with it, followed by Luther and (in the distance) Ruben. But she wasn’t the first to release it. That distinction goes to Southern rocker Leon Russell, who actually wrote it.

KJ

January 14th, 2010
3:04 pm

“It came off as kinda disrespectful of Atlanta in particular and the South in general!”

I’m pretty sure that ship had already sailed for the night, given the bridge-jumping girl, the kid that almost died, the girl dressed up as a GEE-tar, etc, etc.

SportsFan31313

January 14th, 2010
3:04 pm

Well Mr Platt has definately got his his recognition. :-) He doesn’t need American Idol to send him to Hollywood. I am sure he has now earned it. :-)

SportsFan31313

January 14th, 2010
3:05 pm

Pardon the typos

A Fan of the General

January 14th, 2010
3:05 pm

God Bless the General! He’s been sticking it to the Atlanta City Council for years! I think it would only be fitting for the council to have him honor us with a selection in the next council meeting.

Chris

January 14th, 2010
3:12 pm

Yet another typical thug representing Atlanta! Boy do black people like him need serious help! I wonder when he will make his first trip to jail?

rabair

January 14th, 2010
3:22 pm

Larry, only you could come up with a song like that. I have known you all my life and I never thought that I would see you on American Idol! Larry God is really blessing you and you are most deserving. You have always, since I can remember, tried to do something postive for our race. Thank you Larry and many blessings.

say what?

January 14th, 2010
3:28 pm

is NO ONE going to discuss the racial overtones of Gen Platt’s performance?

THANKs to HIM for calling out and making total FOOLS out of those thugs running around wid dey
pants on de ground!

KPH

January 14th, 2010
3:29 pm

Chris the thugs are for the most part the people he is singing about. He didnt come across as a thug at all to me.

rabair

January 14th, 2010
3:32 pm

Chris, maybe you are from another country. Read some American history. There is nothing thugish about a race of people that were torn from their country, stripped of their native languages, all their culture and religion taken away, and they survived.

[...] guy? And how did he end up on the show? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tracked Platt down and asked him a few questions over the phone. Apparently, [...]

Anita

January 14th, 2010
3:34 pm

I love this song. My coworkers and I have been singing it all day. It fits the situation of today. I am sick of these young men wearing these sagging pants hanging off their butts. PULL YOUR DARN PANTS UP!!!!

CALHOUN ALUM

January 14th, 2010
3:34 pm

as i watched him last night i could not help but notice the button he is wearing on his left side. it looks just like Wayne Williams. (atl child murders) Can anyone confirm or deny?

Cutty

January 14th, 2010
3:36 pm

CJ- Nice shot you took at a civil rights pioneer. Gen. Platt is a good man, and if you knew him, you’d feel real stupid with your remarks.

gg

January 14th, 2010
3:38 pm

Hey Everybody! Glad we are over that cold snap! I can’t stand seeing boys & men with their pants to their knees. “Tuck it in’! I laughed so hard last night!

gotigers

January 14th, 2010
3:40 pm

I thought he was the best all night. Loved that he was dissing the younger generation on how stupid they look with the gold teeth, the pants around the ankles, the sideways hat, etc.

c note

January 14th, 2010
3:43 pm

Love the song…I will buy it when it comes out.

[...] guy? And how did he end up on the show? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tracked Platt down and asked him a few questions over the phone. Apparently, [...]

atl43289

January 14th, 2010
3:54 pm

Food for thought…”Pants of the Floor” sounds an awful lot like “Here come the judge”.

Keisha

January 14th, 2010
4:02 pm

The button looks like Emmett Till and his mother.

Deirdre

January 14th, 2010
4:02 pm

Larry…if you’re reading this can I ask you a question? Do you have a German Shepherd? I swear I know you!

Todd

January 14th, 2010
4:13 pm

Yet another shining moment for Atlanta. Isn’t it sad that it takes so little to entertain people these days!

[...] guy? And how did he end up on the show? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tracked Platt down and asked him a few questions over the phone. Apparently, [...]

Paul

January 14th, 2010
4:22 pm

post a link on your facebook page and this thing will really take off!!!!

everett

January 14th, 2010
4:28 pm

Todd, the General did Atlanta proud. He provided humor, energy and a quirky tune that is just fun. Life doesn’t have to be intense every single minute.

Highlander

January 14th, 2010
4:29 pm

Although I am a huge Idol fan (figuratively, not literally), I’m not very impressed with the show so far. I agree with some comments already posted that the tone of these shows seems far more mean-spirited regarding the less talented auditions than previous seasons.

Yes, we’ve always laughed at the delusional souls who made up a large portion of the people auditioning, but it looks to me like AI is more blatant in it’s derision of them this season.

CALHOUN ALUM

January 14th, 2010
4:37 pm

who is emmett till?

Harriett

January 14th, 2010
4:48 pm

Calhoun, he was a very young black guy from up north, who was visiting relatives in Mississippi, and he was beaten, covered in barbed wire, killed, then weighted down with barbed wire and tossed into a river. When his body was recovered, his death sparked even more fervor and determination for the Civil Rights Movement to go forth. His mother wanted an open casket so that she could show the world “what they’ve done to my baby.”

Harriett

January 14th, 2010
4:48 pm

Meant to say weighted down with bricks.

Harriett

January 14th, 2010
4:58 pm

Time for me to go. Hope everyone has a good evening and that Nana does not have bad news. She’s special to all of us, and our prayers are with her.

Calhoun Alum... that's not Wayne Wms

January 14th, 2010
5:03 pm

Sorry Harriett, it was not Emmitt Till either. That’s the Davis guy from near Savannah whose conviction of murdering a cop is being called into question. Practically all witnesses have recanted their testimony and stated they were pressured by local law enforcement to testify against Davis. Apparently the other uncharged suspect was known, in the community where the shooting occurred, as the one who committed the crime.

KidCatalyst

January 14th, 2010
5:23 pm

I can sooo see the GENERAL becoming the next “Mr. T” of this generation. Take your catchy rap songs, some fancy footwork & add some PSA’s you could help redirect our country’s youth. I’m 100% behind you. ***GO GET ‘EM GENERAL!!!***

Platt's Lt.

January 14th, 2010
5:36 pm

Gen. Larry Platt is a decent man who cares deeply about civics, justice, access and equity — especially for the disenfranchised. Here are a few answers to previous comments/questions:
Rickster: he’s in great shape because he runs everywhere he goes.
CJ: you’ve never seen THIS man begging for money. (Cutty is right)
Calhoun: The button is a picture of Troy Davis, questionably sentenced to Death Row in GA.
Deirdre: No German Shepard.

JTesla

January 14th, 2010
5:37 pm

I thought Mr. T was the Mr. T of this generation?

[...] Ho, a blogger for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, did a phone interview today with General Larry Platt a day after his appearance in American Idol. Platt claims he was happy how is performance was [...]

DICKEY

January 14th, 2010
6:04 pm

larry platt just statin the facts about how you youngsters act . LOOKIN LIKE AFOOL JUST AINT COOL . THAT LOOK IS JUST STUPID. Bless you Larry fer speakin up . them parents lettin this happen need to grow up.!

SL

January 14th, 2010
6:13 pm

God bless this man. He is truly and inspiration to us all, and who cares if he isn’t a real general? He marched with MLK for civil rights, and EVERYONE should respect him, even if he comes up with a goofy song (which is totally beast).

Rev Derrill Wilson

January 14th, 2010
6:37 pm

General, the message is clear. Our children need to hear that they look like fools with their pants hanging off their behinds. This is fashion fad evolved from prison. This form of dressing is how inmate let other inmates know they are available. So my question is why is this so cool? If our children are going to be somebody the world will respect they need to listen to General Larry Platt. The General gave himself on Bloody Sunday for a great cause, the right to vote. Mr. Platt paid the price for the right to vote. Mr. Platt thank you for your sacrifice on Bloody Sunday. Thanks for not giving up you made a difference because you were involved. Now here he is again telling our youth they need to shape up their image and not look like fools with their pants on the ground. God Bless you General see ya at the King March Monday.

dejah

January 14th, 2010
6:40 pm

well i didnt here him but i like what i have heard.

je

January 14th, 2010
6:52 pm

Larry, Really!! You need to get that song recorded now, With only you singing. I Fully agree with you on the Pants business. I’d Love to pull them down when I see a dude walking like a duck. Best to you!

Tammy

January 14th, 2010
7:01 pm

I hope you get rich on this song Mr. Platt!!! Hats off to the General!!

ric

January 14th, 2010
7:22 pm

droopy drawers no more. go larry ! Go Larry!!

megan

January 14th, 2010
7:48 pm

LOVE HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PANTS IN THE GROUND IS MY NEW FAVORITE SONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I WISH HIM ALL THE BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =)

Aussie

January 14th, 2010
8:15 pm

I watched it last night on Cable and couldnt stop laughing, Good job!

[...] guy? And how did he end up on the show? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tracked Platt down and asked him a few questions over the phone. Apparently, [...]

DamntheButcher

January 14th, 2010
8:30 pm

Yes the button he had on was a photo of the cop killing thug that should already be rotting ih hell.