The quintessential blues-rock band, ZZ Top came to define the genre in its contemporary form as they put out hit after hit during the late ’70s into the ’80s. Their high-powered singles like ‘Gimme All Your Lovin” and ‘Tush’ solidified their rock mastery, and classics like ‘Just Got Paid’ proved they could finesse the finer points of the blues in a more polished way than rock greats before them.
Known as “that little ol’ band from Texas” after cutting their teeth in the gritty music scene surrounding Houston, their lonestar roots eventually gained international praise thanks to their contributions to both rock and blues genres. From controversial releases like ‘Legs’ to the surprisingly gentle ‘Rough Boy,’ here are our takes on the best ZZ Tops songs out there.
- 10. Waitin’ for the Bus
- 9. Got Me Under Pressure
- 8. Jesus Just Left Chicago
- 7. Just Got Paid
- 6. Rough Boy
- 5. Legs
- 4. Tush
- 3. Gimme All Your Lovin’
- 2. Sharp Dressed Man
- 1. La Grange
10. Waitin’ for the Bus
Released on one of their most talked about albums to date, Tres Hombres, this funky number kickstarts the track listing. ‘Waitin’ for the Bus’ was an early ZZ Top effort, and you can tell they hadn’t quite found “their sound” yet during the production of the track. Even though it’s not one of their signature efforts, it has an irresistible beat thanks to drummer Frank Beard’s prowess, and the guitar work and groovy bass line hold down the tune. It’s always been one of bass player Dusty Hill’s favorites.
9. Got Me Under Pressure
Driving guitar and vocal trade-offs between bandmates Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons help this track stay true to its name by creating restrained tension. ‘Got Me Under Pressure’ contains some pretty intense lyrics like, “She’s about all I can handle, it’s too much for my brain.” But Gibbons insists the tune, which goes into specifics about the woman in question from her food preferences to bedroom antics, isn’t about anyone real. The inspiration behind the song came to him in a random moment of free time he had on his hands.
8. Jesus Just Left Chicago
12-bar blues in all its spiritual glory can be found in ‘Jesus Just Left Chicago,’ a Robert Johnson-inspired track often played in tandem with ‘Waitin’ for the Bus’ when the two singles first hit radio stations. The Johnson blues turnaround is featured throughout the slow-burner; you can hear the descending riff each time Gibbons is about to start a new progression. Lyrics mention greats like “Muddy Waters” and early blues location hubs like “New Orleans.” To fans of both the blues and ZZ Top, this is more than just a grooving single. It’s often described as a “hymn.” This Tres Hombres staple wasn’t a huge hit, but it’s just as moving now as it was when they first released it.
Related: Check out our pick of great Muddy Waters songs where we dive into the world of the great bluesman (you’ll thank us for it.)
7. Just Got Paid
Even during ZZ Top’s beginner years as a band (this was released in 1972), they were producing bonafide blues-rock gems. Frontman Billy Gibbons wrote ‘Just Got Paid,’ which finds the guitarist singing about a Friday night out on the town after getting some cold hard cash after a hard week of work. Gibbons struts through the whole song, holding down a badass riff that echoes between vocal lines. The tune wasn’t a hit for the group because it represents such an early part of their stellar body of work. Despite that, it’s become a highly covered song by blues-rock musicians over the years, including a cleanly-delivered live rendition by contemporary blues great, Joe Bonamassa.
6. Rough Boy
80s rock is once again on full display with ‘Rough Boy,’ a ballad that shows a more gentle side of the powerhouse trio. Throughout their career, they’ve experimented several times with blending different genres to their blues-rock sound. Hints of synthesized pop immediately come to the forefront with this track. The digital world of recording had taken over analog by the time of the song’s release in 1985, so a more compressed, programmed sound is present. Gibbons has said in interviews, in an effort to broaden the scope of what they release, they get into “character” for these songs to try and appeal to their rowdy audience a bit more. In this case, despite the tune’s soft rock feel, they counteracted that with a “rough boy” main character.
The ’80s produced a ton of over-the-top music with uplifting, dynamic instrumentation, and all those feel-good vibes can be heard with the band’s ’84 top 10 hit, ‘Legs.’ By the mid.-’80s, ZZ Top had established themselves as one of America’s most in-demand acts, and the Billboard standings reflected that. As they continued to stay on the cusp of the ever-changing musical landscape, they took their gritty Texas blues sound of the ’70s and charged it up, adding sleeker production and bigger sounding instrumentation to give their releases a more polished effect. One of a few controversial hits the rock band has released over the years, ‘Legs’ is a solid addition to their repertoire and is definitely “on-brand.” The long-loved song is about a gorgeous woman with killer stems who knows how to use them.
This 1975 hit put the little ol’ band from Texas on the map. Breaking into the top 20 on American charts, the controversial but oh-so-catchy ‘Tush’ caught on like wildfire due to its infectious fast-rocking beat and playful lyrics. While some were offended by the theme, in similar fashion to the band’s other controversial single ‘Legs,’ ZZ Top hasn’t ever been the type of band to back down. They gently reminded folks that their hit song is indeed “gender-neutral.” Throughout the years, female artists have strengthened that point by covering the bluesy tune themselves. Miranda Lambert’s live version is an especially fun one to watch – ZZ Top even backs her up on stage for the performance. For the original recording, bassist Dusty Hill stepped up to the mic for rousing, blues-filled lead vocals. This anthemic single made their group a commercial commodity, and it comes in on our list pretty high at number 4.
Related: This rocker appears on our list of best 12 bar blues songs.
3. Gimme All Your Lovin’
ZZ Top were pioneers of several trends in the early ’80s. They jumped on the music video bandwagon early with MTV, recognizing before many others the value the visual medium would have with their music in the coming decade. They also were early adopters of the synthesizer, a huge instrument trend that would have staying power throughout the ’80s. ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’,’ a perfect example of ’80s rock, was the first ZZ Top recording to utilize the synthesizer. Their use of it helped the instrument gain ground in rock communities. After the song’s release, Van Halen began experimenting with the electronic interface as well. Though the tune was a first for the band from an instrumentation standpoint, lyrically the top 40 hit was a tried-and-true storyline – a sexually-charged setting featuring a young man with plenty of swagger romanticizing a beautiful woman.
2. Sharp Dressed Man
Even if you’re not a ZZ Top fan, chances are you’ve heard this song. It’s long been a part of American pop culture, even the popular show Duck Dynasty used it as their longstanding theme song. Echoing a universal truth, every girl is indeed crazy about a sharp dressed man, the ear-worm of a single is still often played on radio stations today. Known as one of their trademark tracks, it’s hard to believe the song itself wasn’t a huge chart success. However the album it’s on, Eliminator, was a legendary multi-platinum success. This iconic blues-rock number takes the runner-up spot, coming in at number 2.
Related: This one appears in our playlist of songs about looking sharp (of course 😉
1. La Grange
Quite possibly one of rock’s most iconic songs, each layer of ‘La Grange’ perfectly encapsulates the “Texas rock” sound ZZ Top developed and fine-tuned. From the driving guitar riff that immediately makes you want to hop on a motorcycle and fly down an open road, to the gravelly vocal lines that emit sounds you have to sing along with, “A haw, haw, haw, haw,” this little tune made the rounds in the Texas music scene before blowing up nationally. Guitarist Billy Gibbons took a John Lee Hooker rhythmic blues riff from ‘Boogie Chillen” and polished it up for this single. The rocking track is full of swagger and has an air of male virility. This is for good reason, ‘La Grange’ was written about an infamous brothel in the small Texas town located on a rural ranch. The boys even visited a time or two in their younger days – it was seen as a rite of passage. Nowadays, thanks to commercial success, the single has rightfully reached mythic status in rock and roll history, and it’s easy to understand why it takes the top spot on our ZZ Top countdown.
Related: Check out ‘Boogie Chillen” in our pick of the best John Lee Hooker songs (a must-read if you enjoyed this article.) ‘La Grange’ also appears in our playlist of best rock songs of all time.
The rock band's most famous song is none other than "Tush." The band got the idea for the title from a song called "Tush Hog" by the Texas musician Roy Head.What was ZZ Top's signature song? ›
The rock band's most famous song is none other than "Tush." The band got the idea for the title from a song called "Tush Hog" by the Texas musician Roy Head.Did ZZ Top have any number one hits? ›
ZZ Top has also achieved several chart and album sales feats, including six number-one singles on the Mainstream Rock chart. From the RIAA, ZZ Top has earned four gold, three platinum and two multiple-platinum album certifications, and one diamond album.Who sang most of the songs in ZZ Top? ›
Joe Michael "Dusty" Hill (May 19, 1949 – July 28, 2021) was an American musician who was the bassist of the rock band ZZ Top for more than 50 years. He also sang lead and backing vocals and played keyboards.Was ZZ Top a 3 piece band? ›
This is a trio with a huge sound that's been going strong and loud since 1970. ZZ Top has survived decades while other bands have come and gone, and they're still one of the loudest. They are called a "blues rock" or "boogie rock" band, and sometimes get thrown into the hard rock and Southern rock categories.What was ZZ Top's best selling? ›
Released on March 23, 1983, ZZ Top's “Eliminator” is the Texas trio's best-selling album, spawning a series of five hit singles that remain some of the group's most-popular songs and live concert staples.What does ZZ stand for in ZZ Top? ›
However, Gibbons did talk about the origins himself in his autobiography, “Rock + Roll Gearhead.” In the book, he says the name came from a concert poster they saw for Z.Z. Hill. They liked it because it sounded like one of their heroes, B.B. King.What is the biggest number one hit ever? ›
|Rank||Single||Peak and duration|
|1.||"Blinding Lights"||No. 1 for 4 weeks|
|2.||"The Twist"||No. 1 for 3 weeks|
|3.||"Smooth"||No. 1 for 12 weeks|
|4.||"Mack the Knife"||No. 1 for 9 weeks|
"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks. It also became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond. "The Box" charted at No.Is Billy Gibbons a good guitarist? ›
Both Billy Gibbons and Jimi Hendrix are regarded as the greatest guitarists of all time. During his career, he created fiery guitar solo performances, earning him the nickname “The Hammer of the Electric Blues.” A slide guitarist of the same caliber, on the other hand, is Gibbons.
Yes, Billy Gibbons made the first ZZ Top single with two different guys, but the Gibbons/Hill/Beard trio has been in place since 1970. That's enough to make ZZ Top the longest-running group with an unchanged line-up in the entire history of popular music.Who has the deep voice in ZZ Top? ›
Known not only for his chest-length beard, but his bass-baritone voice and bluesy guitar skills too, Gibbons formed ZZ Top in late 1969, after a stint in the Moving Sidewalks (where he opened four dates for the Jimi Hendrix Experience).Who was the only member of the band ZZ Top that didn t have a long Beard? ›
Frank Beard is an incredible drummer, but he may be best known as the one member of ZZ Top who doesn't have a beard. Well, he didn't have a beard until 2013. He now sports a short goatee.Who is the only member of ZZ Top without a? ›
Beard resides in Richmond, Texas, where he owns and operates the Top 40 Ranch. He golfs, and is known locally for participation in tournaments and community events. Beard was long known as, ironically, the only member of ZZ Top not to have a beard, but he grew a short one in 2013.Why is ZZ Top so popular? ›
ZZ Top, American rock group famous for its rugged blues-driven guitar work, irreverent music videos, and embrace of its Texas roots, as well as for the musicians' distinctive facial hair.What was Steve Gibbons band biggest hit? ›
In 1977 their second album, Rollin' On included their biggest hit single, "Tulane", a cover of a Chuck Berry song, produced by Kenny Laguna. The single reached No.Has ZZ Top played the Super Bowl? ›
ZZ Top performs during the half-time show for Super Bowl XXXI between the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.What made ZZ Top unique? ›
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' ...What does Tush mean in the ZZ Top song? ›
The title is a double entendre, referring both to slang for buttocks (with the connotation of "a piece of ass"), and slang for "luxurious" or "lavish", according to a 1985 interview with Hill in Spin magazine.What does ACDC stand for? ›
"AC/DC" is an abbreviation meaning "alternating current/direct current" electricity. The brothers felt that this name symbolised the band's raw energy, power-driven performances of their music.
- ZZ Top. Danièle Arnaud. Eliminator Girl.
- Frank Beard. Wendy Frazier. Salesgirl.
- Billy Gibbons. Kymberly Herrin. Eliminator Girl.
- Dusty Hill. Jeana Keough. Eliminator Girl.
According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.What rock band has the most number one hits of all time? ›
The Beatles have tallied the most No. 1 hits in the 61-year history of the Hot 100, with 20. Their closest competitor is Mariah Carey, with 18.What are the top 10 most popular songs ever? ›
- Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana (1991)
- Imagine - John Lennon (1971)
- One - U2 (1992)
- Billie Jean - Michael Jackson (1982)
- Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen (1975)
- Hey Jude - The Beatles (1968)
- Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan (1967)
- I Can't Get No Satisfaction - Rolling Stones (1965)
1's. With the release of her single "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" in early '88, Whitney Houston set the record as the only artist ever to reach the milestone of seven consecutive No. 1 hits on the US Billboard Hot 100.What album spent the longest at number 1? ›
|54||West Side Story†||Various artists|
|South Pacific‡||Various artists|
For 23 years, no artist had matched Michael Jackson's record of five No. 1s from a single album (Bad).Who is technically the best guitarist ever? ›
Perhaps the most technically proficient guitar player ever. Alan Holdsworth had an advanced understanding of music, theory, chords, and scales.
Chances are, like the rest of us, it would change with every new lick, solo or song. But there's a good chance that on most occasions, if you asked Hendrix who the best around was, he'd answer “Billy Gibbons”.Who is the perfect man guitar player? ›
Led by Smoota on electric trombone, the band features the synth wizardry of Yusuke Yamamoto, the passionate guitar of Ricky Quiñones, and the unparalleled deep rhythm section of Jeremy Wilms and Chris Eddleton.
ZZ Top, American rock group famous for its rugged blues-driven guitar work, irreverent music videos, and embrace of its Texas roots, as well as for the musicians' distinctive facial hair. The members are singer-guitarist Billy Gibbons (b.What was the Talking Heads signature hit? ›
"Psycho Killer" is a song by the American band Talking Heads, released on their 1977 debut studio album Talking Heads: 77. The group first performed it as the Artistics in 1974.Is ZZ Top named after rolling papers? ›
They called themselves ZZ Top, a name whose origins are shrouded in mystery though it is thought to be either a hybrid of Zig Zag and Top cigarette rolling papers or a tribute to blues singer Z. Z. Hill.Who was ZZ Top influenced by? ›
While these blues-rock heroes had their own killer sound, many artists before them helped shape it. In their blustery swagger, you can hear the country strains of George Jones and Gram Parsons, the classic hard rock of Jimi Hendrix and Cream, and the classic blues of John Lee Hooker and Robert Johnson.