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ZZ Top

New inductees into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, this weird and wonderful power trio of blues-rock crunching Texans had their beginnings in the beer-halls and rock music honky-tonks of late 60s Houston as members of two rival bands - the Moving Sidewalks, featuring Billy Gibbons on lead guitar, and the American Blues Band, which included drummer Frank Beard and bassist Dusty Hill. The Sidewalks released an album and single in the 60s - "99th Floor," the single, became a durable regional favorite - and opened for Jimi Hendrix on a tour through Texas, during which Billy Gibbons drew many compliments from Hendrix. American Blues also released two albums in the late 60s.

In 1969, Gibbons hooked up with Beard and Hill, heralding the birth of ZZ Top. They released their first album (ZZ Top's First Album) in 1970, which introduced the band's ballsy, gut-punching swagger and a slew of Gibbons-Hill compositions, sprinkled with quirky Texas humor. 

For about ten years the band worked their tails off, releasing an album of band-penned compositions every two years. A successful single, "La Grange," from their third album, helped build a strong fan base, both nationally and particularly in their home state. 

At the culmination of the Worldwide Texas Tour, a ballbuster that lasted over 18 months, the band took a three-year hiatus then, in 1981, came screaming back to work with a new label deal, punched-up synthesizer sound, the famous beards sported by Gibbons and Hill, golf hats, and coveralls. Introduced to an even wider audience via MTV, whose viewers immediately embraced the eccentric rockers and their catchy, hard-rocking songs, ZZ Top scored big with two triumphant albums, Eliminator and Afterburner. 

Now rock icons and, after 35 years together - remarkably with the same three original members -  ZZ Top shows little sign of slow down. Content in their self-created groove, and secure in their place in rock history, these sons of Texas have more than earned their place in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. Their induction took place in March 2004, in New York City.

© 2004