Friday, August 16, 2013

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-ZZ Top

Artist:ZZ Top
Song:Sleeping Bag
Album:Rancho Texicano: The Very Best Of ZZ Top

Considering that ZZ Top has been a popular band since the 70s, I was a little surprised that they have only had two top ten hits. Sleeping Bag is one of them in 1985. ZZ Top lead singer and guitarist Billy Gibbons is from Houston. His father worked in the music department at MGM. Gibbons was a member of the 60s psychedelic band Moving Sidewalks. He formed ZZ Top in 1969 and after a false start brought in bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard from the band American Blues. The other key figure was manager Bill Ham who was a musician himself and helped a lot with songwriting, arrangements and production. Ham also managed Clint Black. They signed with London Records but their first two albums didn't do well. But the 1973 album Les Hombres established their quirky blues rock sound. Tush was their first top 20 single in 1975. They were now a successful live band. After a two year break, ZZ Top signed with Warner Bros. in 1979. With the 1983 album Eliminator, ZZ Top added synthesizers and went for a more commercial sound. Legs was their first top ten hit in 1984. The 1985 album Afterburner did just as well and Sleeping Bag reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. Gibbons credits recording engineer Linden Hudson who encouraged ZZ Top to experiment with electronics. But he didn't get songwriting credit. Hudson sued and was paid $600K out of court. The band was constantly on tour so they didn't record again until the 1990 album Recycler. Then they left Warner Bros. for RCA. this 2CD comp covers the Warner years. In the 90s, they returned to a guitar driven blues sound with albums like Antenna in 1994. ZZ Top is still around and released the CD La Futura on Mercury last year. They are currently touring. Here's the video for Sleeping Bag by ZZ Top.

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