Billy Gibbons - Born: Dec. 16, 1949, Houston, TX
Frank Beard - Born: June 11, 1949, Frankston, TX
Dusty Hill - Born: Feb. 23, 1949, Dallas, TX Died: July 28, 2021
In February of 1970, the now-legendary Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard, and Dusty Hill played their first gig as ZZ Top at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Beaumont, Texas. From the K.C. Hall, "That Little Ol' Band from Texas" earned its way into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and music history.
Futures forged when Houston native Gibbons (guitar) of the psychedelic band The Moving Sidewalks joined with Dallasites Beard (drums) and Hill (bass) of the rival band, American Blues, in 1969. ZZ Top grew a faithful fanbase playing southeast Texas teen clubs and dances.
The band's first two albums were popular in Texas but failed to receive mainstream attention. Beaumont and Port Arthur radio stations gave ZZ Top airtime when larger stations in Houston and Dallas would not play their music. KLVI radio personality Al Caldwell got them the first K.C. Hall gig, and as they developed a fan base here they performed for several school proms.
The LP release ZZ Top's First Album had a very important fan in Mick Jagger, and the band opened several shows for the Rolling Stones during their 1973, 1981, and 2003 tours. ZZ Top's third LP, Tres Hombres (1973), was their first Gold record and the single "La Grange" became their first national radio hit.
Tejas (1976) spawned ZZ Top's Worldwide Texas Tour: "Takin' Texas To The People," which featured a Texas-shaped stage, rattlesnakes, a 2,000-pound buffalo, buzzards, and cactus. At the time, it was the largest tour in rock history, playing nearly 100 major stages in the U.S., Europe, England, Australia, Mexico, and Japan.
In the early 1980s, Gibbons built his iconic Hot Rod, Eliminator. The 1933 Ford Coupe was used to launch the albums Eliminator (1983) and Afterburner (1985). The mix of synthesizers and music videos on MTV propelled ZZ Top into international superstardom as the coolest, bearded bad boys in cheap sunglasses.
The trio returned to its roots with RCA and their 1994 release, Antenna, followed by One Foot in the Blues (1994) and Rhythmeen (1996). ZZ Top was inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast, Music Hall of Fame in 1998.
The release of XXX in 1999 marked the band's 30-year career milestone. After two world tours and Mescalero (2003), ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard, and Dusty Hill were bandmates together for 52 years until Dusty's death in 2021. That's another record. ZZ Top's story continues...