ZZ Top combines 40+ years of music on new compilations
A double dose of greatest hits compilations from “that little ol’ band from Texas” is now available from Warner Bros. Records/Rhino Records. The single CD The Baddest of ZZ Top and double CD The Very Baddest of ZZ Top combine to give fans songs that over the course of more than 40 years have made ZZ Top one of rock's most legendary groups, selling more than 50 million units worldwide. The releases are being issued in tandem with the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers summer/fall tour featuring Jeff Beck that is currently rocking U.S. venues and outdoor festivals through Nov. 2.
“We're glad that material originally issued by three different labels over the course of all these years will now be housed under one 'roof,' so to speak,” says vocalist-guitarist Billy F Gibbons, who along with guitarist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard have maintained ZZ Top’s original line-up since the band's founding in 1969. “It's kind of a big, bad family reunion on some level," adds Gibbons in a label news release.
The single disc The Baddest of ZZ Top delivers a concentrated dose of Lone Star State rock, boogie and blues on 20 tracks that span three decades. Among the signature hits are classics such as ‘La Grange,’ ‘Tush,’ ‘Cheap Sunglasses,’ ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’,’ and ‘Sharp Dressed Man.’ More recent tracks like ‘Rhythmeen’ and ‘Mescalero’ supplement the set that also includes several single versions of the aforementioned hits that are currently unavailable on CD or digitally.
The two-disc The Baddest of ZZ Top doubles down on the band’s music with 40 tracks that form a “more detailed snapshot of the trio’s stellar career.” In addition to every song contained on the single disc version, ‘Very Baddest’ digs deeper into early albums to uncover fan favorites like ‘Pearl Necklace,’ ‘Just Got Paid,’ and ‘(Someone Else Been) Shaking Your Tree.’ The dual-CD collection also spotlights later albums including 1999’s XXX and Mescalero from 2003 featuring ‘Fearless Boogie’ and ‘Que Lastima.’ The collection closes with a take on the 1940s standards classic ‘As Time Goes By’ in a way that only the trio from Houston could create.
The music on The Baddest of ZZ Top and The Very Baddest of ZZ Top stands as a remarkable achievement of rock longevity that was built and continues to thrive on a foundation of rock, blues, and boogie. “Yeah, we’re the same three guys, bashing out the same three chords,” says Gibbons in a bio on the band’s official Facebook page. As each new album explores new ground in terms of the band’s sonic approach and material, ZZ Top is described as “the same but always changing.”
The band’s support for the blues is unwavering both as interpreters of the music and preservers of its legacy. It was ZZ Top that celebrated “founding father” Muddy Waters by turning a piece of scrap timber from the blues icon’s sharecropper shack into a beautiful guitar called, the “Muddywood.” The symbolic instrument is displayed on tours as a fundraising promotion for the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi—site of Robert Johnson’s famed ‘Crossroads’ encounter with the devil.
Watch ZZ Top in the high-rotation official music video that accompanied the Top 10 hit ‘Legs.’
As A Matter of Fact…
* ZZ Top came together in 1969 when three members from rival Houston bands Moving Sidewalks (Gibbons) and American Blues (Hill and Beard) decided to form a new group. The trio’s 1971 debut album titled ZZ Top's First Album was produced by manager Bill Ham on London Records. The album immediately established ZZ Top’s attitude and humor with a perfect blend of boogie, hard rock, heavy metal and Southern rock.
* Follow up album Rio Grande Mud from 1972 reflects the band’s strong blues roots, while 1973’s Tres Hombres demonstrated ZZ Top’s crossover appeal with the signature hit single ‘La Grange.’ In 1975, ZZ Top forever solidified its rock legacy with the Top 20 hit ‘Tush’ from Fandango!. The band’s unstoppable momentum carried over into the legendary World Wide Texas Tour that put the band on every rock fan’s must-see list because of an unprecedented stage production that included a live longhorn steer, buffalo, buzzards, rattlesnakes, and a Texas-shaped stage.
* Following a lengthy hiatus, ZZ Top moved to Warner Bros. Records and released Deguello featuring Top 40 hit ‘I Thank You’ (No. 34) and El Loco featuring Mainstream Rock hit singles ‘Tube Snake Boogie’ and ‘Pearl Necklace.’ The groundbreaking Eliminator in 1983 put ZZ Top at the top of music video rotations with an ingenious mix of roots blues and new wave tech that spawned head-bopping sound and lyrics on classics including ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’,’ ‘Sharp Dressed Man,’ and Top 10 smash hit ‘Legs.’ The diamond certified LP is ZZ Top's most successful release to date with U.S. sales of more than 10 million copies.
* Afterburner from 1985 was nearly as successful as Eliminator, charting another No. 1 Mainstream Rock hit with ‘Sleeping Bag’ that also made the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 (No. 8). The album also charted the Top 40 singles ‘Stages’ (No. 21), ‘Rough Boy’ (No. 22), and ‘Velcro Fly’ (No. 35). Recycler kept up the pace in 1990 with singles such as ‘My Head's In Mississippi’ and ‘Doubleback.’ The latter also popped up in the film “Back to the Future Part III” with ZZ Top playing an Old West version of the song during a cameo in the movie. Four albums for RCA followed from 1994-2003 until another lengthy hiatus from the studio was finally ended in 2012 with the release of La Futura.
* ZZ Top owns 11 gold, 7 platinum, and 13 multi-platinum records. The band ranks 80th in U.S. album sales with 25 million units, selling more than 50 million albums worldwide. The 1983 album Eliminator is the group's most commercially successful record with sales topping 10 million units. ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, and the band is officially recognized as Heroes of The State of Texas.