Tuesday, February 20, 2018

ZZ Tops

ZZ Tops was formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas, with Billy Gibbons (guitar, vocals), Lanier Greig (bass) and Dan Mitchell (drums). The name of the band was came from Billy Gibbons. The band had a little apartment covered with concert posters and he noticed that many performers' names had initials. Gibbons particularly noticed B.B. King and Z. Z. Hill and thought of combining the two into "ZZ King". Then on second thoughts heconsidered it "too close" to the original BB King, but figured King being the top artist, they too might aim for the same goal as "ZZ Top". They signed to London Records and recorded "Salt Lick", before Greig was fired and replaced by Bill Ethridge.

More line-up changes followed and Frank Beard replaced Dan Mitchell, then Dusty Hill came in for Lanier Ethridge. The trio was best known for southern boogie music and popular on the local touring scene. Their first local hit was "Francene" which introduced the band to a much wider audience.

As their popularity grew the band drew influence from delta music and high-energy rock. Their first national Top 50 hit in the US was "La Grange.”

Despite this initial success their album sales failed to meet expectation. The band continued to tour before taking an extended break. In 1979 they got back together and both Gibbons and Hill had grown lengthy beards. Now signed with Warner Brothers the trio released a couple of well received albums "Deguello" and "El Loco."

Both "Cheap Sunglasses" and "Tube Snake Boogie" sold well as singles.

The next album, "Eliminator," featured controversial synthesizers and drum machines.

Eliminator became an international best seller and clever use of the medium of video and MTV ensured singles like "Gimme All Your Lovin," "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs" were enormous world-wide hits. The videos took the band's famous mystique and popularity to an all-time high.

ZZ Tops continued to use synthesizers on their eighth album, "Afterburner," which sold well and the band were now synonymous with barrelhouse R&B.

Their stage craft was second to none which established them as one of the world's leading live attractions. The band found it impossible to match their earlier success with studio albums but have continued to work as a live band to the delight of their fans, worldwide.

Worth a listen
Salt Lick (1970)
Francene (1972)
La Grange (1973)
Tush (1973)
Gimme all your lovin (1982)
Got me under pressure (1983)
Sharp dressed man (1983)
TV Dinners (1983)
Legs (1984 )
Sleeping Bag (1985)
Velcro Fly (1985)
Rough Boy (1986)

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