Al About the Members of ZZ Top

Discover More About ZZ Top

ZZ Top. (Photo by Michael Waring)

In 1969, ZZ Top got its start in Houston, Texas. The original ZZ Top members include Billy Gibbons on vocals and guitar; Dusty Hill on vocals and bass; and Frank Beard rocking out on the drums. The original band members have performed for more than 40 years, which is a distinctive accomplishment for rock bands. 

ZZ Top Gets Its Start

The remnants of two Houston area garage bands -- Moving Sidewalks (Billy Gibbons) and American Blues (Frank Beard and Dusty Hill) -- formed the band.

They began to get significant attention with the release of their third album in 1973, which is called Tres HombresThe blues-based, guitar-driven boogie beat made them distinctive, as did their signature sunglasses, long beards, and flashy outfits.

While many Southern Rock bands who had thrived in the '70s were fading in the '80s, ZZ Top remained popular by working synthesizers and other electronic enhancements to their sound to keep pace with a changing audience. Nonetheless, the self-styled "Little Ol' Band From Texas" stayed true to its blues roots and Tex-Mex themes.

In 1983, the band released  Eliminator, which was their top-selling album. In fact, it sold more than 10 million copies in the United States. The Recording Industry Association of America says ZZ Top is one of the top-selling artists in America. By 2014, they had sold more than 50  million albums. As of 2016, the band had released 11 gold, seven platinum and three multi-platinum records.

 

Beard, Gibbons and Hill also continue to write the vast majority of their songs, as they have throughout their career. The group continues to tour and record.

More About the Members of ZZ Top

Here are a few more fun facts about the band:

  • Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill reportedly turned down offers of $1 million each to shave their trademark beards for a Gillette razor commercial.
  • Ironically enough, the only band member who doesn't sport a chest-length beard is named Beard. 
  • The band has some presidential connections. They performed for President George W. Bush just a few days prior to his inauguration in 2001. When he was governor of the state Bush proclaimed May 15, 1997, as "ZZ Top Day."
  • Jimi Hendrix said that Gibbons was "One of America's best young guitarists" on The Tonight Show.
  • In 2000, Hill was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and the band had to cancel shows so he could receive treatments.
  • The group was the 1990 movie Back To The Future III as a Square Dance band.
  • The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. 
  • SongFacts.com reports that the band is the longest-running American rock group that has not changed members over the years.