rock band formed in the 60's that still has all
of its original members
Guitarist Billy F. Gibbons was
born into a well-to-do Houston family on
September 16, 1949. He learned about rhythym and
blues from the family maid.
Bassist Dusty Hill was born in
Dallas on May 19, 1949. He is currently divorced
and has a college-age daughter.
Drummer Frank Beard ws born in
Dallas on June 11, 1949. He is married and has
twin boys and a daughter.
In the mid-1960's, Billy
Gibbons teamed up with bassist Don Summers,
drummer Dan Mitchell and organist Tom Moore to
form Moving Sidewalks. After Summers and Moore
were drafted into the Army, Gibbons and Mitchell
brought in bassist Lanier Grieg, who later left
and was replaced by Billy Ethridge. The revamped
band enjoyed success in the Houston area and even
opened for The Doors during their 1967 Texas tour
and later for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. But,
as was common among local bands of the day, group
members were gradually drawn away by other
obligations and Moving Sidewalks broke up.
Meanwhile, in Dallas, Dusty
Hill, Frank Beard and Dusty's brother Rocky had
formed a band called American Blues. Billy
Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard met each
other in 1970, and ZZ Top was born. Although
early accounts said that the trio got its name
from a package of cigarette rolling papers,
Gibbons said in his autobiography Bill F
Gibbons: Rock + Roll Gearhead that it
actually came to him after looking at two old
posters of blues guitar legend B.B. King and Z.Z.
Hill hanging in his apartment. He was going to
call the new band "ZZ King" but
realized that that was too close to "B.B.
King" so he chose "ZZ Top" since
B.B.'s poster was "on the top." The
trio played its first gig at the Knights of
Columbus Hall in Beaumont, Texas, on February 10,
ZZ Top enjoyed immediate
success in Texas and, thanks to their manager
Bill Ham, were signed to London Records in 1971. ZZ Top's First
Album was released
that same year, and one single from the album,
(Somebody Else Been) Shaking Your Tree,"
made it to #50 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. First
Album was followed by Rio Grande Mud
(1972), which went to #104 on the Billboard 200
Chart. The band achieved national stardom with Tres Hombres (1973), which charted at #8; the single
"La Grange" made it to #41 on the Hot
100 Chart and is still a ZZ Top standard play. On
September 1, 1974, ZZ Top shared billing with
Bill Graham, Santana, Joe Cocker and Bad Company
at the "Rompin' and Stompin' Barndance and
Barbecue" in Austin. Fandango, featuring the #20 hit "Tush"
was released in 1975, and Tejas, which
made it to #17 on the album chart, was released
the time Tejas was released ZZ Top had
been touring almost continuously for seven years
and the band decided to take a much-needed break.
The "Little Band From Texas" finally
went back to work in 1979, by which time Gibbons
and Hill had grown their signature beards. They
also left London Records and signed with Warner
Bros. that year. Their first album for Warner
Bros. was Deguello (1979), featuring
"I Thank You" and "Cheap
Sunglasses." Although the album achieved
platinum sales, it only made it to #24 on the
charts. El Loco (1981) featured the
singles "Tube Snake Boobie,"
"Pearl Necklace," and
"Leila." The album Eliminator (1983) marked a major change for ZZ Top
because it was the first to incorporate
synthesizers and drum machines. That change
proved popular among the emerging music video
audience, as "Gimme All Your Lovin,'"
"Legs" and "Sharp-Dressed
Man" were all heavily played on MTV. That
popularity carried over to Afterburner (1985), which became the band's
highest-charting album, with all singles making
the Top 40 chart. Their last album with Warner
Bros was Recycler (1990), which featured
"My Head's In Mississippi," "Give
It Up" and "Burger Man."
In 1990, ZZ Top appeared as the
acoustic band in the wild-west dance scene in Back
to the Future Part III; they also
contributed "Doubleback" to the
soundtrack. That same year they also appeared in
the TV movie Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme
as the Three Men in a Tub. The band signed with
RCA Records in 1994, with whom they have since
released Antenna (1994), Rhythmeen (1996), XXX (1999) and Mescalero
ZZ Top is still touring today,
and is the only rock band formed in the 60's that
still has all of its original members. To date
they have had 8 Top-40 Hits and have won 3 MTV
Music Video Awards. They were inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
ZZ Top's official website is http://www.zztop.com.
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