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ZZ Top

American rock band / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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ZZ Top[lower-alpha 1] is an American rock band formed in Houston, Texas, in 1969. For 51 years, it consisted of vocalist-guitarist Billy Gibbons, drummer Frank Beard and bassist-vocalist Dusty Hill, until Hill's death in 2021. ZZ Top developed a signature sound based on Gibbons' blues style and Hill and Beard's rhythm section. They are known for their live performances, sly and humorous lyrics, and the matching appearances of Gibbons and Hill, who wore sunglasses, hats and long beards.

Quick facts: ZZ Top, Background information, Origin, Genre...
ZZ Top
ZZ Top performing in April 2023. From left to right: Elwood Francis, Frank Beard, Billy Gibbons
ZZ Top performing in April 2023. From left to right: Elwood Francis, Frank Beard, Billy Gibbons
Background information
OriginHouston, Texas, U.S.
DiscographyZZ Top discography
Years active1969–present
Past members
  • Lanier Greig
  • Dan Mitchell
  • Billy Ethridge
  • Dusty Hill

ZZ Top formed after Gibbons' previous band, Moving Sidewalks, disbanded in 1969. Within a year, they signed with London Records and released ZZ Top's First Album in 1971. Subsequent releases, such as Tres Hombres (1973) and Fandango! (1975), and the singles "La Grange" and "Tush", gained extensive radio airplay. By the mid-1970s, ZZ Top had become renowned in North America for their live act, including the Worldwide Texas Tour (1976–1977), which was a critical and commercial success.

After a hiatus, ZZ Top returned in 1979 with a new musical direction and image, with Gibbons and Hill wearing sunglasses and matching chest-length beards. With the album El Loco (1981), they began to experiment with synthesizers and drum machines. They established a more mainstream sound and rose to international stardom 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", gave them mass exposure on television channel MTV and made them 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 their tenth album, Recycler (1990), and its accompanying tour, the group's experimentation continued with mixed success on the albums Antenna (1994), Rhythmeen (1996), XXX (1999), and Mescalero (2003). They most recently released La Futura (2012) and Goin' 50 (2019), a compilation album commemorating the band's 50th anniversary. By the time of Hill's death in 2021, ZZ Top had become the longest-running band with an unchanged lineup in the history of popular music.[1] Per Hill's wishes, he was replaced by their longtime guitar tech, Elwood Francis, on bass.

ZZ Top has released 15 studio albums and sold an estimated 50 million records worldwide.[2][3] They have won three MTV Video Music Awards, and in 2004, the members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked Gibbons the 32nd-greatest guitarist of all time.[4] The band members have supported campaigns and charities including Childline, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and a fundraiser for the Delta Blues Museum.

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