ZZ Top (formed 1969)
ZZ Top are an American blues rock band from Houston, Texas made up of Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard and Dusty Hill.
ZZ Top: Formation
ZZ Top originally included guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons, Lanier Greig on organ and Dan Mitchell on drums.
In 1969, they released their first single 'Salt Lick'. In the same year, Greig was replaced by Billy Etheridge on bass and Mitchell by Frank Beard. However, Etheridge did not want to make a record deal so he was then replaced by Dusty Hill.
ZZ Top: Musical Career
In 1970, they signed with London Records and released their debut album 'ZZ Top's First Album' in 1971.
Their sophomore album, 'Rio Grande Mud', released in 1972, was a commercial failure. However, '73's 'Tres Hombres' brought them mainstream success and the following tour was a sell-out affair.
In 1978, they took a two year hiatus where Gibbons and Hill grew soon to be iconic chest-length beards.
1979 saw them signed to Warner Bros. Records and they released album 'Deguello' which went platinum.
In 1980, they performed on the German TV show 'Rockpalast' as part of their first trip to Europe. They then released album 'El Loco' in 1981.
In 1983, they released 'Eliminator' which garnered much success with singles 'Gimme All Your Lovin'' and 'Legs' becoming top 40 hits and the album selling 10 million copies; however, there was also much controversy when their former stage manager David Blayney alleged that their sound engineer Linden Hudson co-wrote many of the songs from the album and, even though ZZ Top still deny the extent of his involvement, they were forced to pay Hudson $600,000 due to his copyright of song 'Thug'.
It is also thought that their single 'Under Pressure' was written entirely by Gibbons and Hudson using a synthesizer instead of a bass guitar and a drum machine without Dusty or Frank's knowledge.
Their 1985 'Afterburner' became their highest charting album. Their single 'Velcro Fly' had a video which was choreographed by dancer and singer Paula Abdul. The following world tour lasted into 1987.
They then released a three disc record called 'The ZZ Top Sixpack' which included their top albums but they were remixed to sound more modern with drum machines and echo.
Their last Warner Bros record was 'Recycler' in 1990 but it was not as successful as their previous two albums having switched to their original blues rock sound.
In 1993, ZZ Top inducted Cream into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after being majorly influenced by their sound.
In 1994, they signed to RCA Records and released albums 'Antenna', 'Rhythmeen', 'XXX' and 'Mescalero'.
In 2004, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Rolling Stones star Keith Richards making their induction speech.
In 2006, they ended their contract with RCA and their manager Bill Ham. In 2008, they signed with a new producer Rick Rubin and released their first live DVD 'Live from Texas'.
In 2011, their new song 'Flyin' High' made its debut in space when their astronaut friend Michael Fossum played it on an International Space Station trip.
Later that year, Gibbons announced that their new album had been recorded by was not yet named. It was released in 2012 and named 'La Futura' with the first single 'I Gotsta Get Paid' being used on the advert for the drink Jeremiah Weed and also on the soundtrack for 'Battleship'.