ZZ Top is more of a blues- than southern rock band, but there is enough Texas boogie to get them included in puresouthernrock.com. For almost four decades now, ‘that little ol’ band from Texas’ has been entertaining and producing music not just for the Southern bells and gentlemen around the Dixie but for audiences around the world as well. ZZ Top is a three member band that originated in Houston, Texas in 1969 and rose to fame in 70’s while releasing such masterpieces as Tres Hombres and Deguello.
Members of the band have impressively been together from the very beginning of band’s career up until now and consist of Billy Gibbons, on vocals, guitars and harmonica, Frank Beard on drums and Dusty Hill on vocals, bass and every now and then keyboards. Aside from the band’s impressive range of style and music, they are widely recognized for their congruent fashion: signature ZZ Top style consists of sunglasses, often matching clothes and long trademark beards of Gibbons and Hill.
All three members of ZZ Top were playing with different and rival bands in the 60’s, but when their individual groups disbanded, these three talented musicians got together and formed a band that gained them worldwide recognition and success. There are many variations on origins of the name ZZ Top, however, Gibbons set the record straight by revealing that is in honor of their idol, blues guitarist B.B. King. They originally wanted to use name ZZ King but the resemblance of the names were so staggering that they decided to change ‘king’ to ‘top’.
In 1970, ZZ Top played their first gig and has since toured relentlessly. Early releases – ZZ Top’s First Album and Rio Grande Mud – paved way to million selling Tres Hombres in 1973 with smash hit “La Grange” gaining more and more wider audience for them. Just five years after getting together, they were able to pull attendance of 50 000 during live performances. In 1977, exhausted by continuous touring, ZZ Top took an extended hiatus.
In the Eighties, ZZ Top did what few 70’s acts managed to pull off and reinvented their sound through heavy use of synthesizers. With little help from MTV, Eliminator sold more than 10 million copies and generated three hit singles – “Sharp Dressed Man” “Gimme All Your Lovin” and “Legs”. 1985’s Afterburner gained even more hits for them: “Sleeping Bag” climbed to number eight and “Stages” and “Rough Boy” helped keep the record on the charts. Recycler completed a trilogy that Eliminator had started and included hits “My Head’s in Mississippi”, “Give It Up” and “Doubleback”.
From the release of Eliminator until early nineties, ZZ Top was hugely popular all over the world. They have continued to release albums well into the new millennium and crowds still love ZZ Top, fellow musicians respect them, and music industry hails them as one of the few bands that have made a very distinctive and solid mark in the world of rock and roll.
1971 ZZ Top’s First Album
1972 Rio Grande Mud
1973 Tres Hombres
1977 The Best of ZZ Top
1981 El Loco
1992 Greatest Hits
1994 One Foot in the Blues (compilation)
2003 Chrome, Smoke & BBQ (boxset)
2004 Rancho Texicano (compilation)
2008 Live from Texas
Official Website: www.zztop.com