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ZZ Top
ZZ Top on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2016 IMG 8527 (27374417884).jpg
ZZ Top (left to right: Dusty Hill, Frank Beard, Billy Gibbons) performing in June 2016
Background information
Origin Houston, Texas, U.S.
Genres
Years active 1969–present
Labels
Associated acts
  • Moving Sidewalks
  • American Blues
Members
Past members
  • Dusty Hill
  • Lanier Greig
  • Dan Mitchell
  • Billy Ethridge

ZZ Top is an American rock band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas, by vocalist and guitarist Billy Gibbons. After its formation the group underwent a few membership changes before establishing, with the addition of Frank Beard (drums) and Dusty Hill (bass) in 1969 and 1970 respectively, a lineup that was stable for more than five decades. Initially rooted in blues, the band's style has evolved throughout its career, with a signature sound based on Gibbons' blues guitar style and the rhythm section of Hill and Beard. Popular for its live performances, sly and humorous lyrics, and the identical physical appearances of Gibbons and Hill—who were rarely seen without their long beards, sunglasses, and Stetson hats—the group has staged several elaborate tours.

ZZ Top formed after the demise of Moving Sidewalks, Gibbons' previous band. Within a year, the members signed with London Records and released ZZ Top's First Album (1971). Subsequent releases, such as Tres Hombres (1973) and Fandango! (1975), and those albums' respective singles "La Grange" and "Tush", gained extensive radio airplay. By the mid-1970s the band became renowned in North America for its live act, highlighted by its performances during the Worldwide Texas Tour from 1976 to 1977, which was a critical and commercial success.

Following a two-year break in response to creative stagnation and exhaustion, ZZ Top reinvented itself in the late 1970s with a new musical direction and its now-famous public image. Beginning with its albums Degüello (1979) and El Loco (1981), it experimented with instruments including clavinets, saxophones, and synthesizers. It established a more mainstream sound and gained international favor with Eliminator (1983) and Afterburner (1985), which integrated influences from new wave, punk, and dance-rock. The popularity of these albums' music videos, including those for "Gimme All Your Lovin'", "Sharp Dressed Man", and "Legs", helped propel them onto the television channel MTV and made the band one of the more prominent artists in 1980s pop culture. The Afterburner Tour set records for the highest-attended and highest-grossing concert tour of 1986. After gaining additional acclaim with the release of its tenth album Recycler (1990) and its accompanying tour, the group's experimentation continued with mixed successes on the albums Antenna (1994), Rhythmeen (1996), XXX (1999), and Mescalero (2003). It most recently released La Futura (2012) and Goin' 50 (2019), the latter of which is a compilation album commemorating the band's 50th anniversary.

Hill died on July 28, 2021, at the age of 72; shortly thereafter, Gibbons announced that, as per Hill's wishes, ZZ Top was going to continue and that Hill would be replaced on bass by longtime guitar tech Elwood Francis, this being the band's first lineup change in 51 years.

ZZ Top has released 15 studio albums and sold an estimated 50 million albums worldwide. The group has won three MTV Video Music Awards, and in 2004, the members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone ranked Gibbons number 32 on its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Throughout its career the band and its individual members have supported several campaigns and charities, including Childline, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and a fundraiser for the Delta Blues Museum.

Band members

Discography

Studio albums

  • ZZ Top's First Album (1971)
  • Rio Grande Mud (1972)
  • Tres Hombres (1973)
  • Fandango! (1975)
  • Tejas (1976)
  • Degüello (1979)
  • El Loco (1981)
  • Eliminator (1983)
  • Afterburner (1985)
  • Recycler (1990)
  • Antenna (1994)
  • Rhythmeen (1996)
  • XXX (1999)
  • Mescalero (2003)
  • La Futura (2012)

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