|Origin||Houston, Texas, U.S.|
ZZ Top // is an American rock band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band has, since 1970, consisted of vocalist/guitarist Billy Gibbons (the band's leader, main lyricist and musical arranger), bassist/vocalist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard. "As genuine roots musicians, they have few peers", according to critic Michael "Cub" Koda. "Gibbons is one of America's finest blues guitarists working in the arena rock idiom [...] while Hill and Beard provide the ultimate rhythm section support."
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily from the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
Houston is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas, fourth most populous city in the United States, as well as the sixth most populous in North America, with an estimated 2018 population of 2,325,502. Located in Southeast Texas near Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, it is the seat of Harris County and the principal city of the Greater Houston metropolitan area, which is the fifth most populous metropolitan statistical area in the United States and the second most populous in Texas after the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, with a population of 6,997,384 in 2018.
Texas is the second largest state in the United States by area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.
The band released its first album, ZZ Top's First Album , in 1971. Beginning with blues-inspired rock, the trio later incorporated new wave, punk rock and dance-rock by using synthesizers. Their songs have a reputation for containing humorous lyrics laced with double entendres and innuendos.
ZZ Top's First Album is the debut studio album by the American rock band ZZ Top. It was produced by manager Bill Ham, and was released on January 16, 1971, on London Records. Establishing their attitude and humor, ZZ Top incorporated boogie, hard rock, and Southern rock influences into their sound. Thematically, the album is lively, playful and at times brash, filled with the band's personal experiences and sexual innuendos that became central to the group's image. Seeking inspiration from Fleetwood Mac, ZZ Top began recording the album at Robin Hood Studios in Tyler, Texas. "(Somebody Else Been) Shakin' Your Tree" was the only single released from the album, it failed to appear on the Billboard charts.
New wave is a genre encompassing numerous pop-oriented music styles popular in the late 1970s and the 1980s with ties to mid-1970s punk rock. New wave moved away from traditional blues and rock and roll sounds to create pop and rock music that incorporated disco, mod, and electronic music. Initially new wave was similar to punk rock, before becoming a distinct genre. It engendered subgenres and fusions, including synth-pop.
Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.
The band's top-selling album is their 1983 release Eliminator , which sold more than 10 million copies in the United States. Total record sales of 25 million place ZZ Top among the top-100-selling artists in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.That includes 11 gold, seven platinum and three multi-platinum albums as of 2016, according to the RIAA. By 2014, ZZ Top had sold more than 50 million albums worldwide.
Eliminator is the eighth studio album by the American rock band ZZ Top. It was released on March 23, 1983, by Warner Bros. Records. Recorded in Tennessee during 1982, the album was produced by the band's manager Bill Ham and peaked at the top of the charts in many countries. "Gimme All Your Lovin'", "Got Me Under Pressure", "Sharp Dressed Man", "TV Dinners" and "Legs" were released as singles. A Diamond certified album, Eliminator is ZZ Top's most commercially successful release, with sales of over 10 million copies in the United States alone.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a trade organization that represents the recording industry in the United States. Its members consist of record labels and distributors, which the RIAA says "create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legally sold recorded music in the United States." The RIAA headquarters is in Washington, D.C.
ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a museum and hall of fame located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, on the shore of Lake Erie, that documents the history of rock music and the artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have influenced its development. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was established on April 20, 1983, by Ahmet Ertegun, founder and chairman of Atlantic Records. In 1986, Cleveland was chosen as the Hall of Fame's permanent home, and the museum was dedicated on September 1, 1995.
The original line-up was formed in Houston and consisted of Gibbons, bassist/organist Lanier Greig (died February 2013)and drummer Dan Mitchell.
The name of the band was Gibbons' idea. The band had a little apartment covered with concert posters and he noticed that many performers' names used initials. Gibbons particularly noticed B.B. King and Z.Z. Hill and 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".
Riley B. King, known professionally as B.B. King, was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. King introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that influenced many later electric blues guitarists.
Arzell J. Hill, known as Z. Z. Hill, was an American blues singer best known for his recordings in the 1970s and early 1980s, including his 1982 album for Malaco Records, Down Home, which stayed on the Billboard soul album chart for nearly two years. The track "Down Home Blues" has been called the best-known blues song of the 1980s. According to the Texas State Historical Association, Hill "devised a combination of blues and contemporary soul styling and helped to restore the blues to modern black consciousness."
ZZ Top was managed by Bill Ham, a Waxahachie, Texas native, who had befriended Gibbons a year earlier. They released their first single, "Salt Lick", in 1969, and the B-side contained the song "Miller's Farm". Both songs were credited to Gibbons. Immediately after the recording of "Salt Lick", Greig was replaced by bassist Billy Ethridge, a bandmate of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Mitchell was replaced by Frank Beard of the American Blues. Due to lack of interest from the major American record companies, ZZ Top accepted a record deal from London Records, the American affiliate of the British Decca Records label. Unwilling to sign a recording contract, Ethridge quit the band and Dusty Hill became his replacement. After Hill moved from Dallas to Houston, ZZ Top signed with London in 1970. They performed their first concert together at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Beaumont, Texas, on February 10.
In addition to assuming the role as the band's leader, Gibbons became the main lyricist and musical arranger. With the assistance of Ham and engineer Robin Hood Brians, ZZ Top's First Album (1971) was released and exhibited the band's humor, with "barrelhouse" rhythms, distorted guitars, double entendres, and innuendo. The music and songs reflected ZZ Top's blues influences. Following their debut album, the band released Rio Grande Mud (1972), which produced their first charting single.
ZZ Top released Tres Hombres in 1973. The album's sound was the result of the propulsive support provided by Hill and Beard, and Gibbons' "growling" guitar tone. Dan Erlewine wrote that the album "brought ZZ Top their first Top Ten record, making them stars in the process". The album included the boogie-driven "La Grange" (written about the Chicken Ranch, a notorious brothel in La Grange, Texas, that also inspired the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas ). On the subsequent tour, the band performed sold-out concerts in the US. ZZ Top recorded the live tracks for their 1975 album, Fandango! , during this tour. Fandango! was a top-ten album; its single "Tush" peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Tejas , released in 1976, was not as successful or as positively received as their previous efforts, although the album went to number 17 on the Billboard 200.ZZ Top continued the Worldwide Texas Tour in support of Tejas, though they had been touring for seven years. The band then went on what was supposed to be a 90-day break from public appearances. Gibbons traveled to Europe, Beard went to Jamaica, and Hill went to Mexico. The break extended to two years, during which Gibbons and Hill grew chest-length beards.
In 1979, ZZ Top signed with Warner Bros. Records and released the album Degüello . While the album went platinum, it only reached number 24 on the Billboard chart.The album produced two popular singles: "I Thank You", a cover of a song recorded by Sam & Dave, and "Cheap Sunglasses". The band remained a popular concert attraction and toured in support of Degüello. In April 1980, ZZ Top made their first appearance in Europe, performing for the German music television show Rockpalast . Their next album, El Loco , was released in October 1981, and featured the singles "Tube Snake Boogie", "Pearl Necklace", and "Leila".
ZZ Top's next album was even more successful. Eliminator , released in March 1983, featured two top-40 singles ("Gimme All Your Lovin'" and "Legs"), and two additional Top Rock hits ("Got Me Under Pressure" and "Sharp Dressed Man"), with "Legs" peaking at number 13 on the Club Play Singles chart.Eliminator was a critical and commercial success, selling more than 10 million copies, and several music videos were in regular rotation on MTV. The band also won their first MTV Video Music Awards in the categories of Best Group Video for "Legs", and Best Direction for "Sharp Dressed Man". The music videos were included in their Greatest Hits video, which was later released on DVD and quickly went multiple-platinum. However, the Eliminator album was not without controversy. According to former stage manager David Blayney in his book "Sharp Dressed Men", sound engineer Linden Hudson co-wrote much of the material on the album while serving as a live-in high-tech music teacher to Beard and Gibbons. Despite continued denials by the band, it settled a five-year legal battle with Hudson, paying him $600,000 after he proved he held the copyright to the song "Thug".
Despite not selling as many copies as Eliminator, 1985's Afterburner became the band's highest-charting album,racking up sales of five million units. All of the singles from Afterburner were Top-40 hits, with two ("Sleeping Bag" and "Stages") hitting number one on the Mainstream Rock chart. The music video for "Velcro Fly" was choreographed by pop singer Paula Abdul. ZZ Top's grueling Afterburner World Tour lasted well into 1987, which also had the release of The ZZ Top Sixpack, a three-disc collection of ZZ Top's albums from 1970 to 1981, with the exception of Degüello. The albums ZZ Top's First Album, Rio Grande Mud, Tres Hombres, Fandango, and Tejas were remixed to have a more contemporary sound.
Recycler , released in 1990, was ZZ Top's last studio album under contract with Warner Records. Recycler was also the last of a distinct sonic trilogy in the ZZ Top catalogue, marking a return towards a simpler guitar-driven blues sound with less synthesizer and pop bounce than the previous two albums. This move did not entirely suit the fan base that Eliminator and Afterburner had built up, and while Recycler did achieve platinum status, it never matched the sales of those albums. However, the single "My Head's in Mississippi" did reach No. 1 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart that year.
In 1992, Warner released ZZ Top's Greatest Hits, along with a new Rolling Stones-style cut, "Gun Love", and an Elvis-inflected video, "Viva Las Vegas". In 1993, ZZ Top inducted a major influence, Cream, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 1994, the band signed a $35 million deal with RCA Records,releasing the million-selling Antenna. Subsequent RCA albums, Rhythmeen (1996) and 1999's XXX (the second album to feature live tracks) sold well, but did not reach the levels enjoyed previously. In 2003, ZZ Top released a final RCA album, Mescalero , an album thick with harsh Gibbons guitar and featuring a hidden track—a cover version of "As Time Goes By." RCA impresario Clive Davis wanted to do a collaboration record (in the mode of Carlos Santana's successful Supernatural) for this album. In an interview in Goldmine magazine, Davis stated that artists Pink, Dave Matthews, and Wilco were among the artists slated for the project. ZZ Top performed "Tush" and "Legs" as part of the Super Bowl XXXI halftime show in 1997.
A comprehensive four-CD collection of recordings from the London and Warner Bros. years, Chrome, Smoke & BBQ , was released in 2003. It featured the band's first single (A- and B-side) and several rare B-side tracks, as well as a radio promotion from 1979, a live track, and several extended dance-mix versions of their biggest MTV hits. Three tracks from Billy Gibbons' pre-ZZ band, the Moving Sidewalks, were also included.
In 2004, ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones gave the induction speech. ZZ Top gave a brief performance, playing "La Grange" and "Tush".
Expanded and remastered versions of the original studio albums from the 1970s and 1980s are currently[ when? ] in production. Marketed as "Remastered and Expanded", these releases include additional live tracks which were not present on the original recordings. Three such CDs have been released to date (Tres Hombres, Fandango!, and Eliminator). The first two were released in 2006 and use the original mixes free from echo and drum machines, while Eliminator was released in 2008. The Eliminator re-release also features a collector's edition version containing a DVD featuring several videos and additional live tracks.
The Eliminator Collector's Edition CD/DVD, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band's iconic RIAA Diamond Certified album, was released September 10, 2008. The release includes seven bonus tracks and a bonus DVD, including four television performances from The Tube in November 1983.
The band performed at the 2009 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on the final night on March 22, 2009. In July, the band appeared on VH1's Storytellers , in celebration of their four decades as recording artists.
Billy Gibbons stated in an interview in August 2011 that a new album had been recorded, with initial recording taking place in Malibu, California, before moving to Houston, but was still unnamed and had yet to be mixed and mastered.Gibbons said that the expected release date was sometime in March or April 2012, but later on a release in the late summer or early fall was announced. The album was subsequently released on September 11, 2012.
Entitled La Futura , the album was produced by Rick Rubin.The first single from the album, "I Gotsta Get Paid", debuted in an advertising campaign for Jeremiah Weed Whiskey and appears on the soundtrack of the film Battleship . The song itself is an interpretation of "25 Lighters" by Texan hip hop DJ DMD and rappers Lil' Keke and Fat Pat. The first four songs from La Futura debuted on June 5, 2012, on an EP called Texicali. DJ Screw was a major influence on the album as well, particularly because Gibbons and Screw both worked with engineer G. L. Moon during the late 1990s.
The band kicked off a North American tour with a concert in Red Bank, New Jersey, at the Count Basie Theatre on March 3, 2015. After rescheduled dates and additions, the tour wrapped up with a concert in Highland Park, Illinois, at the Ravinia Pavilion on August 27, with opening act Blackberry Smoke. Jeff Beck joined ZZ Top for seven concerts on the tour.
On September 9, 2016, ZZ Top released a new live album entitled Tonite at Midnight: Live Greatest Hits from Around the World.
In 2017, ZZ Top announced their "2017 Tonnage Tour" which had to last from February 19 to March 14.However, they were forced to cancel last few dates of their tour due to the ailment of bassist Dusty Hill.
In 2018, the band announced their six-day Las Vegas run of shows to be held at The Venetian, starting from April 20, 2019.
ZZ Top performed at the 2008 Orange Bowl game in Miami, as well as the Auto Club 500 NASCAR event at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. On June 23, 2008, ZZ Top celebrated the release of their first live concert DVD titled Live from Texas with the world premiere, a special appearance, and charity auction at the Hard Rock Cafe in Houston.The DVD was officially released on June 24, 2008. The featured performance was culled from a concert filmed at the Nokia Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas, on November 1, 2007.
In the film Back to the Future Part III , they played at the fair in Hill Valley.
On January 22, 2010, Billy Gibbons accompanied Will Ferrell and others playing "Free Bird" on Conan O'Brien's last Tonight Show appearance. O'Brien joined in on guitar.
On June 8, 2011, a press release, reported on various media sources, announced that the new song "Flyin' High" will debut in space. Astronaut and friend of ZZ Top, Michael Fossum, was given the released single to listen to on his trip to the International Space Station.
On June 4, 2014, ZZ Top opened the CMT Awards performing "La Grange" with Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line.
In addition to recording and performing concerts, ZZ Top has also been involved with films and television. In 1990, the group appeared as the "band at the party" in the film Back to the Future Part III ,and played the "Three Men in a Tub" in the movie Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme . ZZ Top made further appearances, including the "Gumby with a Pokey" episode of Two and a Half Men in 2010 and the "Hank Gets Dusted" episode of King of the Hill in 2007. The band was also guest hosts on an episode of WWE Raw. Billy Gibbons also had a recurring role as the father of Angela Montenegro in the television show Bones ; though the character is never named, it is strongly implied that Gibbons is playing himself. Their song "Sharp Dressed Man" was one of the theme songs used for the television show Duck Dynasty , and on the series finale of the show they appeared with Si Robertson as a vocalist to perform the song on stage during Robertson's retirement party. Black Dahlia Films, led by Jamie Burton Chamberlin, of Seattle and Los Angeles, has contributed documentaries and back line screen work (the footage on back screens during live shows) and has become an integral part of the band's film-making. ZZ Top made a guest appearance on the television show St. Elsewhere on November 14, 1984 Season 3 Episode 8 "Sweet Dreams" in Luther's dream. While the band appears in Luther's dream, once Luther wakes he finds the "Z" keychain in the lock of the door to the room he was sleeping in.
ZZ Top's music videos won multiple VMA awards during the 1980s, topping the categories of Best Group Video, Best Direction, and Best Art Direction for "Legs", "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Rough Boy", respectively.Among high honors for ZZ Top have been induction into Hollywood's RockWalk in 1994, the Texas House of Representatives naming them "Official Heroes for the State of Texas", a declaration of "ZZ Top Day" in Texas by then-governor Ann Richards on May 4, 1991, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. They were also given commemorative rings by actor Billy Bob Thornton from the VH1 Rock Honors in 2007.
ZZ Top also holds several chart and album sales feats, including six number-one singles on the Mainstream Rock chart. From the RIAA, ZZ Top has achieved four gold, three platinum and two multiple-platinum album certifications, and one diamond album.
Afterburner is the ninth studio album by the American rock band ZZ Top, released in 1985. Afterburner was a financial success, going several times platinum and launching several hit singles, the most successful of which was "Sleeping Bag" which peaked at No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks and at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Rio Grande Mud is the second studio album by the American rock band ZZ Top. It was released in 1972 by London label. The album title was inspired by the Rio Grande, the river that forms the border between Mexico and Texas.
Degüello is the sixth studio album by the American rock band ZZ Top, released in November 1979. "Degüello" means "decapitation" or, idiomatically, when something is said to be done "a degüello", it means "no quarter" in Spanish. It was also the title of a Moorish-origin bugle call used by the Mexican Army at the Battle of the Alamo, Texas, in 1836. It was the first ZZ Top release on Warner Bros. Records and eventually went platinum.
Mescalero is the fourteenth studio album by the American rock band ZZ Top. It was released in September 2003, as the band's final release for RCA Records. While the band still retained their foundation in blues rock, Mescalero explored genres like country and Tejano. Recording sessions took place at Foam Box Recordings in Houston, with Billy Gibbons as producer.
Tejas is the fifth studio album by the American rock band ZZ Top. It was released in late November 1976. The title is a Caddo language word meaning 'friends', which is the origin of the name of the band's home state, Texas.
Rancho Texicano: The Very Best of ZZ Top is a greatest hits album by the blues rock band ZZ Top. It was released in 2004 on Rhino. The title is a portmanteau of "texan" and "mexicano", meaning "Tex-mex Ranch". The compilation is essentially a pared-down version of the box set Chrome, Smoke & BBQ, released the previous year. All songs are original mixes that have been digitally remastered.
William Frederick Gibbons, professionally known as Billy Gibbons, and The Reverend Billy F. Gibbons, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor, best known as the guitarist and lead singer of American rock band ZZ Top. He began his career in the Moving Sidewalks, who recorded Flash (1968) and opened four dates for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Gibbons formed ZZ Top in late 1969 and released ZZ Top's First Album in early 1971.
One Foot in the Blues is a compilation album by the American blues rock band ZZ Top, released in 1994. The album contains a selection of the band's songs which fall into the blues genre. With the exception of the songs taken from the Degüello, El Loco, Eliminator and Recycler albums, the 1987 digital remixes were used.
Frank Lee Beard is the drummer in the American rock band ZZ Top. Beard was formerly with the bands The Cellar Dwellers, who originally were a three-piece band, The Hustlers, The Warlocks, and American Blues before starting to play and record with Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill as ZZ Top.
Billy Mack "Bill" Ham was an American music impresario, best known as the manager, producer, and image-maker for the blues-rock band ZZ Top. Ham also gained prominence in the country music world by discovering and managing multi-platinum singer-songwriter Clint Black and founding some of the most successful country music publishing companies. For several years in the 1990s, Ham's companies published a majority of the top-10 country music singles.
"Stages" is a song by American rock band ZZ Top. It was released as the second single from their ninth studio album Afterburner (1985). It peaked at number 21 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for two weeks.
"TV Dinners" is a song performed by American band ZZ Top from their 1983 album Eliminator. It was produced by band manager Bill Ham, and recorded and mixed by Terry Manning. The song is a simple, beat-driven tune with lyrics about pre-packaged, oven-ready meals. Released as a single, it reached #38 on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart. Robert Palmer recorded "TV Dinners" for his studio album 2003 Drive.
"Velcro Fly" is a song by the American rock band ZZ Top. It was released as the fourth single from their 1985 album Afterburner. The song peaked at #15 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, and #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986.
"Rough Boy" was the third single by American rock band ZZ Top from their 1985 album Afterburner. The song reached No. 5 on the Album Rock Tracks chart and No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as No. 23 in the UK Top 40. Unlike the other songs on the album, this song has a much slower tempo and is more of a power ballad. It also shares a similar, though much slower, tune to their song "Leila" from their album El Loco.
"Sleeping Bag" is a song performed by the band ZZ Top from their 1985 album Afterburner. The song was released as a single in 1985 and became their most successful single, reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, equaling the peak of their previous single "Legs". However, unlike "Legs", it also reached #1 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, a first for the band.
The Expect No Quarter Tour was a concert tour by American rock band ZZ Top. Launched in support of Degüello, the band performed in coliseums from 1979 through 1981. Unlike the previous Worldwide Texas Tour, the Expect No Quarter Tour's stage set was simple and featured a drum riser with an animated screen of the band's logo. The tour saw band members Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill sport chest-length beards.
Fandango! is the fourth studio album by the American blues rock band ZZ Top, released in 1975. Half the tracks are selections from live shows, and the rest are new songs from the studio. A remastered and expanded edition of this album was released on February 28, 2006.
Recycler is the tenth studio album by the American blues rock band ZZ Top, released in October 1990.
The Six Pack is a compilation album released in 1987 by the American blues rock band ZZ Top. The compilation consisted of the first five albums by the band, digitally remixed to add newly recorded contemporary-sounding drum machine and rhythm tracks, digital reverb and distortion, and the original mix of the band's seventh album, El Loco. The remixing gave these releases a sound similar to Eliminator. The resulting remixes were also reissued on the standalone compact disc releases of the albums. The remixing was criticized as being "a disaster". Until 2006, these remixes were the only versions of these albums available.
It was the band's second album, "Tres Hombres," that established their boogie-rock credentials by peaking at No. 8 in 1974.
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