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|Origin||Houston, Texas, U.S.|
ZZ Top (pronounced "zee zee top") is an American rock band from Houston, formed in 1969. The group consists of founder Billy Gibbons (guitar, lead vocals), Dusty Hill (bass, vocals), and Frank Beard (drums, percussion). Initially rooted in blues, ZZ Top's style has evolved throughout their career, with a signature sound based on Gibbons' blues guitar style and Hill and Beard's rhythm section. Their lyrics, often embellished with sexual innuendo, focus on their Texas roots and humor. Popular for their live performances, the group has staged several elaborate tours.
ZZ Top formed after the demise of Gibbons' previous band, Moving Sidewalks. Within a year, they signed with London Records and released ZZ Top's First Album (1971). Subsequent releases, such as their first top-ten album Tres Hombres (1973) and the singles "La Grange" and "Tush", gained extensive radio airplay. By the mid-1970s, they had become renowned in North America for their live act, highlighted by their performances during the Worldwide Texas Tour from 1976 to 1977, which made them national stars and was a critical and commercial success.
Following a two-year break after facing creative stagnation and exhaustion, ZZ Top reinvented themselves in the late 1970s with a new musical direction and public image. Beginning with their albums Degüello (1979) and El Loco (1981), they experimented with instruments including clavinets, saxophones, and synthesizers, while Gibbons and Hill grew long beards as part of their image. ZZ Top gained international favor with the records Eliminator (1983) and Afterburner (1985), which integrated influences from new wave, punk, and dance-rock, and established a more mainstream sound. The popularity of their music videos, including those for "Gimme All Your Lovin'", "Sharp Dressed Man", and "Legs", helped propel them onto the television channel MTV and made them one of the more prominent artists in 1980s pop culture. Their Afterburner Tour set records for the highest-attended and highest-grossing concert tour of 1986. After additional acclaim with the release of their tenth album Recycler (1990) and the Recycler Tour, their experimentation continued with the albums Antenna (1994), Rhythmeen (1996), XXX (1999), and Mescalero (2003), with mixed successes. The group most recently released La Futura (2012) and Goin′ 50 (2019), the latter of which is a compilation album commemorating the band's 50th anniversary.
ZZ Top has released 15 studio albums and sold an estimated 50 million albums worldwide. They have won three MTV Video Music Awards, and in 2004, they 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 their career, as a band and as individuals, they have supported several campaigns and charities, including Childline, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and a fundraiser for the Delta Blues Museum.
- Koda, Cub. "ZZ Top – Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
- Bashe, Patricia; George-Warren, Holly, eds. (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (3rd ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-0120-9.
- Talevski, Nick (2006). Rock Obituaries – Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-8460-9091-2.
- Bonson, Fred (August 31, 1996). "Wea's Greatest Hits". Billboard. Vol. 108 no. 35. p. 34. ISSN 0006-2510.
It was the band's second album, "Tres Hombres," that established their boogie-rock credentials by peaking at No. 8 in 1974.
- Cibula, Matt (January 4, 2004). "ZZ Top: Mescalero". PopMatters. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- McPadden, Mike (2012). "ZZ Top". If You Like Metallica... Backbeat Books. ISBN 9781476813578.
- Zalkind, Ronald (1980). Contemporary Music Almanac: 1980–1981 (1st ed.). Schirmer Books. p. 349.
- Josh Jackson & Paste Music Staff (February 26, 2018). "The 50 Best Southern Rock Albums of All Time". Paste. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- Falcon, Gabriel (July 21, 2019). "ZZ Top: After 50 years they've still got legs". CBS News. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- Blackstock, Peter (May 15, 2019). "ZZ Top at 50: Billy Gibbons takes us back to the beginning". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
- "100 Greatest Guitarists". Rolling Stone. December 8, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2020.