Critics have said that ZZ Top, founded in Houston, Texas in 1968, have few peers in the music industry. One of only a handful of bands who have retained the same lineup since its inception, ZZ Top has strong blues roots, but has also been influenced by new wave, punk rock and dance music.
ZZ Top often relies heavily on double entendres and innuendo in their songs, making humorous lyrics the centerpiece. Billy Gibbons, the trio’s main songwriter and musical arranger, has been called the “finest blues guitarist working in the arena rock idiom.” Bassist and vocalist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard provide “the ultimate rhythm section support.”
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, ZZ Top has received 11 gold, 7 platinum, and 13 multi-platinum records. Their 1983 album Eliminator has sold over 10 million units to date and remains ZZ Top’s most commercially successful album.
Gibbons, Hill and Beard are currently on tour, starting in Germany and swinging through Europe with stops in Monaco, Poland, Switzerland and the Netherlands before beginning the North American leg of the tour. Selling over 25 million units, ZZ Top ranks eightieth in the United States for record sales. What are the five best ZZ Top song lyrics or verses?
5) “La Grange”: The song, released on the 1973 album Tres Hombres, “La Grange” to be quite frank, is about a whorehouse in Texas. Miss Edna’s boarding house, also known as “The Chicken Ranch”, was an “open secret” in Texas. When the song was released it drew too much attention to the illegal activities going on that the oldest establishment in Texas which was engaging in the oldest profession. “The Chicken Ranch” had to shut its doors. In 2005 Q magazine ranked “La Grange” at number 92 on its list of The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All-Time. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song at number 74 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All-time, calling it “a standard for guitar players to show off their chops.” Written by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, the best verse of the song is, "Rumor spreadin' a-'round in that Texas town 'bout that shack outside La Grange and you know what I'm talkin' about. Just let me know if you wanna go to that home out on the range. They gotta lotta nice girls. Have mercy!"
4) “Got Me Under Pressure”: According to guitarist Billy Gibbons the song is not about a girlfriend of his. “Got Me Under Pressure” was included on ZZ Top’s 1983 album Eliminator. It reached the number 18 spot on the U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks. Though Billy Gibbons said the song is not about a girlfriend, it is obvious that the song is about a woman who is into an alternative sexual lifestyle. The best verse of “Got Me Under Pressure” is, "She likes the art museum, she don't like Pavlov's dog. She fun at the mind museum, she likes it in a London fog. She don't like other women, she likes whips and chains. She likes cocaine and filppin' out with great Danes. She's about all I can handle, it's too much for my brain. It's got me under pressure."
3) “Gimme All Your Lovin’”: The single, released as the first one from the 1983 album Eliminator, “Gimme All Your Lovin’” was initially a flop in the United Kingdom. The song hit the number 37 spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and it was immediately rereleased in Britain where it reached the number 10 spot on the U.K. singles chart. The best verse of “Gimme All Your Lovin'” is, "You got to whip it up and hit me like a ton of lead. If I blow my top will you let it go to your head? Gimme all your lovin', all your hugs and kisses too. Gimme all your lovin', don't let up until we're through."
2) “Tush”: In a 1985 interview, Dusty Hill said that where he grew up the word “tush” had two meanings. One referred to something lavish, over-the-top, very luxurious. But, since ZZ Top is famous for its use of double entendres, the tush in this song refers to guys out cruising for a piece of ass. Released on ZZ Top’s fourth album Fandango!, “Tush” peaked at number 20 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was ranked number 67 on VH1’s Best Hard Rock Songs of All-Time. The best verse of the song is, "I been bad, I been good. Dallas, Texas, Hollywood. I ain't askin' for much. I said, 'Lord, take me downtown'. I'm just lookin' for some tush."
1) “Cheap Sunglasses”: While touring Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard would see displays of the cheapest and ugliest sunglasses at ever gas station at which they stopped. Dusty Hill says he about “a thousand pair of them.” Guitarist Billy Gibbons said it was “hip trip” for the trio to throw the cheap, ugly sunglasses into the audience. “Cheap Sunglasses” was included on the 1979 album Degüello and is one of ZZ Top’s most famous songs. The best verse of the song is, "When you get up in the morning and the light is hurt your head. The first thing you do when you get up out of bed is hit that street a-runnin' and try to meet the masses. And go get yourself some cheap sunglasses. Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah."