Origin: Houston, TX
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Billy F. Gibbons is an American musician, singer, songwriter, producer and actor, best known as the guitarist of the American rock band ZZ Top. He was ranked at number 32 on the 2011 Rolling Stone list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
From Houston, Texas, he began his career in the Moving Sidewalks,conceptually inspired by friend and fellow musician, Roky Erickson and The 13th Floor Elevators. The band released Flash (1968) and opened four dates for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Longstanding rumors have it that at the end of the tour Hendrix gave Gibbons the pink Stratocaster he had been playing as token of his appreciation for Gibbons’ level of talent, and that Hendrix subsequently stated that Gibbons was one of the best guitarists in the US.
Gibbons formed ZZ Top in late 1969 with bassist/vocalist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank “Rube” Beard, and released ZZ Top’s First Album in 1971. The albums that followed, Rio Grande Mud (1972) and Tres Hombres (1973), along with extensive touring, solidified the group’s reputation as a hard-rocking power trio. In the 1980s, ZZ Top released their three biggest-selling albums: Eliminator (1983), Afterburner (1985) and Recycler (1990). A wave of music videos for the hit singles “Legs”, “Gimme All Your Lovin'”, and “Sharp Dressed Man”, among others, became mainstays on MTV.
In 2004, ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They have the distinction of being among a very small group of bands with a 40-year-plus history that still has all of its original members.The band’s unique blend of boogie and humorous, sometimes raunchy, lyrics, supported by Gibbons’ blues-based prowess, continues to attract generations of fans. Gibbons has been a recording and performing collaborator with icons of many genres of music: Blues (B.B. King); Jazz (Les Paul), Hard Rock (Nickelback), Punk Rock (Social Distortion) and now, Afro-Cuban. His new solo project is Billy Gibbons and the BFG’s, with his debut album, Perfectamundo (November 6, 2015).Gibbons studied Latin percussion in mid-1960s Manhattan with its preeminent virtuoso, “Mambo King” Tito Puente, a friend of Billy’s bandleader dad. Puente taught the young Gibbons the essential Latin rhythms via conga, bongo, maracas and, most importantly, timbales. “Banging away on ‘em came back like riding on a lost bicycle” says Gibbons.
In recent years, Gibbons has acted on television shows, most notably Bones, playing a fictionalized version of himself.