ZZ Top

Origin: Houston, Texas

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Genres: Blues-Rock, Punk rock, Rock

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ZZ Top is an American rock band formed in Houston, Texas in 1969.  Since 1970, the band has consisted of Billy Gibbons (vocalist, guitarist), Dusty Hill (bassist, keyboards, vocalist) and Frank Beard (drummer, percussionist, backing vocals).

Beginning with blues-inspired rock, the trio later incorporated new wave, punk and dance rock by using synthesizers.  Their songs have a reputation for containing humorous lyrics laced with double entendres and innuendo.

The band’s top-selling album 1983’s Eliminator sold more than 10 million copies in America.  ZZ Top has sold more than 25 million albums in America and more than 50 million worldwide.

ZZ Top also holds several chart and album sales feats, including six number-one singles on the Mainstream Rock chart.  ZZ Top has achieved four gold, three platinum and two multi-platinum certifications, along with one diamond album.  Many of their songs are staples on classic and hard rock stations worldwide.

Rolling Stone Keith Richard inducted the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

The band’s name originated with Gibbons.  The trio had a small apartment covered with concert posters.  Gibbons noticed that many performers’ names used initials such as B.B. King and Z.Z. Hill.  Gibbons thought of combining the two into “ZZ King,” but considered it too similar to the original name.  He then figured that “king is going at the top” which brought him to “ZZ Top.”

As the band’s leader Gibbons became the main lyricist and musical arranger.  In 1971 ZZ Top debuted their first album ZZ Top’s First Album which exhibited the band’s humor with “barrel-house” rhythms, distorted guitars, double entendres and innuendo.  The music and songs reflected ZZ Top’s blues influences.  Shortly thereafter the band released Rio Grande Mud (1972), which failed commercially with the promotional tour playing to mostly empty arenas.

It wasn’t until ZZ Top third album Tres Hombres (1973) that they first tasted success.  The album’s sound was the result of the propulsive support provided by Hill and Beard, and Gibbons’ “growling” guitar tone.  The top ten album included the boogie-driven single “La Grange” written about a notorious brothel in Texas that also inspired the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.  Their subsequent tour featured sold-out concerts which the band recorded for their follow-up live album 1975’s Fandango!

Fandango! became the band’s second top ten album and featured the top 20 hit “Tush.”  After years of touring and the success of their last two albums the band took an extended hiatus during which time Gibbons and Beard grew chest-length beards.

In 1979, the band released the album Deguello.  While the album failed to achieve the chart success of its predecessors it did yield  two hit singles: “I Thank You,” and “Cheap Sunglasses.”

It wasn’t until 1983’s Eliminator that the band became a worldwide phenomenon.  The album featured two top-40 singles; “Gimme All Your Lovin,” and “Legs,” along with two other major hits; “Got Me Under Pressure,” and “Sharp Dressed Man.”  Eliminator was a critical and commercial success with the band’s videos in heavy rotation on MTV.  ZZ Top went on to capture Best Group Video for “Legs,” and Best Direction for “Sharp Dressed Man” at the MTV Video Music Awards.

ZZ Tops’ follow-up album, 1985’s Afterburner failed to match sales of its predecessor but became the band’s highest charting album with sales in excess of five million copies sold.  The promotional tour for the album extended into 1987.

In 2016, ZZ Top released a new live album Tonite at Midnight: Live Greatest Hits from Around the World.

In 2019, ZZ Top plays a six day residency in Las Vegas at the Venetian beginning in April.

Reference – https://www.zztop.com/


ZZ Top discography

Sacramento’s K-ZAP 93.3 FM plays ZZ Top.  All part of 50 years of Rock, Blues and More, 24-7 on our station’s stream at K-ZAP.ORG/LISTEN/

Check out ZZ Top performing “La Grange.