Soundscape’s A-Z Of Bands: ZZ Top

ZZTop Live

ZZ Top first formed in Houston, Texas in 1969. The band have had a long and illustrious career that has spanned over 4 decades.

Their first album was called ZZ Top’s First Album and was released in 1971. The album was the beginning for his band and mixed all the sounds we now associate with ZZ Top; blues, southern rock, hard rock and boogie. Early reviews were mixed, but these were early days for the band with beards.

The next album was called Rio Grande Mud and was released in 1972. Again the band’s second album received mixed reviews, but critics did state that it continued with the band’s “established sound”.

ZZ Top would team with engineer Terry Manning for their third release, 1973’s Tres Hombres. The album would be a commercial success and would reach the top ten in the US Billboard 200 charts.

The band’s next release was only a half studio album, the other half of the tracks being live songs. The album would not push the band to further heights, but it would allow them to remain on audience’s radars.

1976 saw the release of Tejas, the band’s next full studio album. This album would again be recorded and mixed Terry Manning.  The album would this time make the top 20 of the US Billboard 200, not fairing as well as their previous full studio album, but still keeping the band essentially a commercial success.

The band’s sixth studio album, Degüello was the first to be released on major label, Warner Bros. Records. The album again charted lower than the previous release, only making the top 30 this time. However, the record has since been given platinum status by the RIAA.

El Loco would be the band’s first release of the 80’s. Releasing in 1981, it would also be the first album where the members were isolated for recording in the studio, using what is these days considered the more traditional method for recording an album. The album would again fair pretty well, continuing the band’s success.

ZZ Top’s previous album El Loco had introduced a synthesizer sound to the mix. This was the 80’s after all. But the band wanted to expand on this further on 1983’s release, Eliminator.

Eliminator would go on to be the most recognised album for the band, featuring tracks ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’’ and ‘Sharp Dressed Man’.

The next album was 1985’s Afterburner which received gold certification in the UK in the 1980’s, which was upgraded to platinum in the 1990’s. The critics received this album rather well too, the success of the previous release carrying over onto this release with the critics. The album also reached number 4 on the US Billboard 200.

1990’s Recycler received mixed reviews but it has been certified silver in the UK and reached number 8 on the UK album charts as well as number 6 on the US Billboard 200.

In 1994, the band released Antenna, their eleventh studio album. The album saw mixed reviews again despite making it to number 14 on the Billboard 200.

Rhythmeen saw a return to the bands simple blues sound in 1996. The critics reviews were mixed however, despite the band returned to a sound that many wanted to see them go back to.

In 1999, ZZ Top released XXX to much disdain from the media, who stated that ZZ Top had not aged gracefully compared to their counterparts The Rolling Stones and Muddy Waters. The album only debuted at 100 on the Billboard 200.

Mescalero was thee band’s fourteenth studio album released in 2003. The album received mixed reviews and didn’t really do wonderous things in the media and the music world.

The band’s most recent album was 2012’s La Futura, which was 9 years after their previous album. The album was received very well by critics and reached number 6 on the Billboard 200 and 29 on the UK album charts, which just proved the band still had all the skills.

Whether the band will release another album is not known, but we’re very lucky to have been graced by such awesome much over 4 decades.

About Anneka Sillitoe 200 Articles
Twitter: @minikidsxe Anneka loves her rock and metal. She also loves her wrestling and F1. This girl is insane!

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