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31 July 2022

ZZ Top Singer Billy Gibbons On The Music That Made Him

Billy Gibbons
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Billy Gibbons, vocalist and guitarist of ZZ Top has given an interview to The Guardian in which he picks out the music that has meant the most to him throughout his life.

When asked what the first song he remembers hearing was, Gibbons said, “My father was a concert pianist and conductor, so I have vivid memories of listening to Clair de Lune by Debussy on the living room Steinway as a near-constant, go-to pleasantry.”

Moving on to the song that he wants to be played at his funeral, Gibbons suggested, “Park Avenue Beat, also known as the theme song from the original Perry Mason TV series, written by composer Fred Steiner – who composed themes for Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Have Gun – Will Travel and Rocky and Bullwinkle – would add a bit of drama and suspense to the proceedings.

Billy Gibbons may be most associated with hard blues rock, so his choice of his favourite song of all time might surprise some fans, “Someday by The Strokes. It evokes the memories of the headiest days of youth, with that mix of nostalgia, urgency, and lyrics like poetry.”

Then, when asked to pick the song which is his actual favourite, the rocker chose another relatively recent song, “Love Is a Losing Game by Amy Winehouse says everything about life, love and loss. She sings with the spirit of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. And the tragedy… humans are a bit rubbish, man. We make mistakes, we don’t get it right. There’s great room for growth if you are self-aware enough to realise you’ve got something wrong.”

Gibbons recently told Classic Rock about the new dynamic in the band, following the death of bassist Dusty Hill last July. Longtime guitar tech Elwood Francis has stepped in to the band and Gibbons is pleased with his contribution, “It’s quite a trip having Elwood step in to help keep the ball rolling. He’s adding a great bit of enthusiasm. When I see [drummer] Frank Beard smiling for the first time in 30 years, I know something good’s happening.”

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