Released on 16 January 1971, ZZ Top’s First Album established a blueprint that would serve the trio well for the next 50 years, and make them possibly the most enduring and successful blues-rock band of all time.
Listen to ZZ Top’s First Album here
Funkier than the average blues
What sets ZZ Top apart from other blues/R&B bands – then and now – is fourfold: tunes (they wrote genuinely memorable songs); groove (so much funkier than the average blues band); humour (married to lyrics steeped in the imagery of their beloved Texas home state); and the perfect tone and phrasing of Billy Gibbons’ guitar playing. All are evident on ZZ Top’s First Album.
Rather than relying on overused blues clichés, Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard (ironically, the band member not known for his hirsute appearance) crafted catchy songs with an almost telepathic ability to lock into syncopated riffs delivered with a level of complexity and musicianship rarely seen in blues-rock.