11 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Something old, new, borrowed, and blues from the ZZ Top great.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Something old, new, borrowed, and blues from the ZZ Top great.

TITLE TIME

About Billy F Gibbons

Steeped in tradition but never afraid to tweak it, ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons is among the most innovative bluesmen of the late 20th century. A proud Texan whose teenage psych band, The Moving Sidewalks, toured with Jimi Hendrix, Gibbons broke off to form ZZ Top with Dusty Hill and Frank Beard in 1969. They helped bring a distinctly regional mix of boogie and hard rock to mainstream audiences before rising to commercial success in the ’80s. Though best known for their deadpan, sunglassed appearance and chest-length beards (making them shoo-ins during the early days of MTV), the Top were also quietly radical. They opened their sound to sleek synths and contemporary production, eschewing the authenticity obsessions of roots culture for a sound that was stylish, irreverent, and slyly funny. Listen to ’70s standouts like “Cheap Sunglasses” or “Tush,” or the band’s trio of ’80s blockbusters, “Legs,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” and “Gimme All Your Lovin’”—mutant takes on the blues whose influence can now be heard in artists from Queens of the Stone Age to Jack White, both of whom Gibbons later collaborated with. As clever as he is wry, Gibbons once summed up the curse of the creative mind: “For the artistically inclined, just remember, you don’t have to swing at every pitch.”

HOMETOWN
Houston, TX
GENRE
Rock
BORN
December 16, 1949

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