ZZ Top

ZZ Top
ZZ Top (left to right: Dusty Hill, Frank Beard, Billy Gibbons) performing in June 2016
ZZ Top (left to right: Dusty Hill, Frank Beard, Billy Gibbons) performing in June 2016
Background information
OriginHouston, Texas, U.S.
Genres
Years active1969–present
Labels
Associated acts
Websitezztop.com
Members
Past members
  • Lanier Greig
  • Dan Mitchell
  • Billy Ethridge
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ZZ Top[a] is an American blues rock band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The group consists of founder Billy Gibbons (vocals, guitar), Dusty Hill (vocals, bass), and Frank Beard (drums). Initially rooted in blues, the band's style has evolved throughout their career, with a signature sound based on Gibbons' blues guitar style and the rhythm section of Hill and Beard. Their lyrics, often embellished with sexual innuendo, focus on their Texas roots and sense of humor. Popular for their live performances and the identical physical appearances of Gibbons and Hill—who are rarely seen without their long beards, sunglasses, and Stetson[citation needed] hats—the group has staged several elaborate tours.

ZZ Top formed after the demise of Moving Sidewalks, Gibbons' previous band. Within a year, they signed with London Records and released ZZ Top's First Album (1971). Subsequent releases, such as their first top-ten album Tres Hombres (1973) and the singles "La Grange" and "Tush", gained extensive radio airplay. By the mid-1970s, they had become renowned in North America for their live act, highlighted by their performances during the Worldwide Texas Tour from 1976 to 1977, which was a critical and commercial success.[citation needed]

Following a two-year break in response to creative stagnation and exhaustion, ZZ Top reinvented themselves in the late 1970s with a new musical direction and their now-famous public image. Beginning with their albums Degüello (1979) and El Loco (1981), they experimented with instruments including clavinets, saxophones, and synthesizers. They established a more mainstream sound and gained international favor with the records Eliminator (1983) and Afterburner (1985), which integrated influences from new wave, punk, and dance-rock. The popularity of their music videos, including those for "Gimme All Your Lovin'", "Sharp Dressed Man", and "Legs", helped propel them onto the television channel MTV and made them one of the more prominent artists in 1980s pop culture. Their Afterburner Tour set records for the highest-attended and highest-grossing concert tour of 1986. After additional acclaim with the release of their 10th album Recycler (1990) and its accompanying tour, their experimentation continued with mixed successes on the albums Antenna (1994), Rhythmeen (1996), XXX (1999), and Mescalero (2003). The group most recently released La Futura (2012) and Goin′ 50 (2019), the latter of which is a compilation album commemorating the band's 50th anniversary.

ZZ Top has released 15 studio albums and sold an estimated 50 million albums worldwide.[9][10] They have won three MTV Video Music Awards, and in 2004, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone ranked Gibbons number 32 on its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".[11] Throughout their career, as a band and as individuals, they have supported several campaigns and charities, including Childline, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and a fundraiser for the Delta Blues Museum.

  1. ^ Koda, Cub. "ZZ Top – Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  2. ^ Bashe, Patricia; George-Warren, Holly, eds. (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (3rd ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-0120-9.
  3. ^ Talevski, Nick (2006). Rock Obituaries – Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-8460-9091-2.
  4. ^ Bonson, Fred (August 31, 1996). "Wea's Greatest Hits". Billboard. Vol. 108 no. 35. p. 34. ISSN 0006-2510. It was the band's second album, "Tres Hombres," that established their boogie-rock credentials by peaking at No. 8 in 1974.
  5. ^ Cibula, Matt (January 4, 2004). "ZZ Top: Mescalero". PopMatters. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  6. ^ McPadden, Mike (2012). "ZZ Top". If You Like Metallica... Backbeat Books. ISBN 9781476813578.
  7. ^ Zalkind, Ronald (1980). Contemporary Music Almanac: 1980–1981 (1st ed.). Schirmer Books. p. 349.
  8. ^ Josh Jackson & Paste Music Staff (February 26, 2018). "The 50 Best Southern Rock Albums of All Time". Paste. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  9. ^ Falcon, Gabriel (July 21, 2019). "ZZ Top: After 50 years they've still got legs". CBS News. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  10. ^ Blackstock, Peter (May 15, 2019). "ZZ Top at 50: Billy Gibbons takes us back to the beginning". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  11. ^ "100 Greatest Guitarists". Rolling Stone. December 8, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2020.


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