ZZ Top is an American institution and a very rare one. Up until the passing of bassist Dusty Hill in 2021, the band has had no lineup changes since Billy F. Gibbons, Hill and Frank Beard got together in 1969.
Considering this, many wondered whether ZZ Top would continue. The band quickly put any of that buzz to rest the day after Hill’s death. In a statement from Gibbons, he said, “As Dusty said upon his departure, ‘Let the show go on!’ And … with respect, we’ll do well to get beyond this and honor his wishes…Dusty emphatically grabbed my arm and said, ‘Give Elwood the bottom end and take it to the Top.’ He meant it, amigo. He really did.” (The Elwood mentioned in the statement is Elwood Francis, ZZ Top’s veteran guitar tech.)
They released their debut, ZZ Top’s First Album, in 1971. Their most recent (and likely final) studio album, La Futura, produced by Rick Rubin, was released in 2012. It was their strongest effort — by far — since 1983’s Eliminator.
Of course, Eliminator helped introduce ZZ Top to a slew of new fans thanks to the album’s three massive hits: “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs.” Each of these songs had music videos that were in heavy rotation on MTV, which launched about 18 months prior to the release of Eliminator.
As expected, a number of songs from Eliminator are featured. However, plenty of songs from La Futura pop up often in our list of the band’s best songs, too. A true rarity, ZZ Top is a band with something to say when they were well over four decades into their career. And if it turns out to be their last, that’s even more rare: a legendary band who went out with a classic album.