When ZZ Top came out of Houston in the early ‘70s, they played a fuzzy mix of blues and boogie rock that totally suited their appearance and background. With slight variations over the years, that’s pretty much what they’ve stuck with for the past four decades. After a somewhat stumbling start, the trio (Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard) locked into 1973’s ‘Tres Hombres’ with a crowded-barroom intensity that shot them straight into the Top 10. Ten years later, they slapped a bunch of synth-driven pop rhythms on top of their beer-soaked rock ‘n’ roll and scored the biggest album of their career, ‘Eliminator,’ which yielded radio classics like ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’ and ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ and made them instant MTV stars. Since then, ZZ Top have released a steady stream of records and have regularly hit the road for their still-entertaining stage show.
When Will Lee, David Letterman's bass player and an in-demand session musician, started cutting tracks for his new solo album, 'Love, Gratitude and Other Distractions,' he had plenty of famous names to lean on for special guest assistance -- including ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, who lent his guitar and vocals to a cover of 'Get Out of My Life Woman.'
ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons dropped in to perform two songs with John Fogerty during the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman's recent concert in Tulsa, Okla., and thanks to the almighty Internet, you can watch it for yourself right now!
Earlier this month, ZZ Top performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival and wanted to do something for the festival's founder, Claude Nobs. Nobs -- a good friend of Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard and Dusty Hill -- died in January at the age of 76.
Before ZZ Top became global superstars -- synonymous with infectious boogie rock, fast cars, beautiful women, synchronized hand gestures and bodacious beards -- they were just three men from Texas. Tres hombres. Three bluesmen, to be precise, whose third album proved to be their commercial breakthrough.
Back in 1987, at the dawn of the CD era, ZZ Top released a three-disc box set called ‘Six Pack’ that included the band’s first five albums plus their seventh. Still flush from the mega-success of 1983’s ‘Eliminator,’ and its 1985 follow-up ‘Afterburner,’ someone decided to take the original recordings from the ‘70s and remix them with added ‘80s-style percussion. It wasn’t long before every ZZ Top CD for sale came with the newly recorded mechanized drums that helped make ‘Eliminator’ a hit. One thing ‘Tres Hombres’ didn’t need was robotic percussion.
Generally speaking, ZZ Top isn't a band we tend to look to for innovation and change; they do one thing, and they do it very, very well. But the Texas trio can still surprise us sometimes, as evidenced by their recent collaboration with the British synth-pop veterans in Depeche Mode.
To some fans, Dusty Hill is that other bearded guy in ZZ Top – the one with only four strings instead of six, making far less frequent trips to the microphone stand. But to diehard classic rockers, the bassist is both the living be
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