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ZZ Top's Top 10 Songs

  ZZ Top's Top 10 Songs

The unmistakable Texas power trio, ZZ Top, have left their mark on music history with a unique sound, style, and attitude. The band - guitarist Billy Gibbons, bass player Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard - never took themselves too seriously, focused on the music, and always had a great time. The band consisted of the same three friends from 1969 until 2021, when Dusty Hill passed away. Billy and Frank are still touring in 2023. It’s an amazing story, and they’ve produced some amazing music. 

Here are the Top Ten ZZ Top songs: 

10:  “I Need You Tonight” - ‘Eliminator’ 

A classic blues jam that perfectly encapsulates what ZZ Top is about: riffs and women. It’s the fourth track on the ‘Eliminator’ album, following three monster songs that you’ll likely see later on this list, but this riff is arguably the best on the album. It was praised by critics who were otherwise unimpressed by the album’s “lack of variety.”

ZZ Top - I Need You Tonight



9: “TV Dinners” - ‘Eliminator’

Dusty Hill’s use of the synth instead of his trademark bass sound falls right into place with what’s going on throughout most of the ‘Eliminator’ album. The heavy synth use was cursed by critics, initially, but ultimately it became the sound that put ZZ Top over the top by introducing themselves to a whole new group of younger listeners who embraced them immediately. And true to form, “TV Dinners” shows that the guys never took themselves too seriously. 

ZZ Top - TV Dinners (Official Music Video)


8: “Legs” - ‘Eliminator’

More love for the ‘Eliminator’ album and its synth-backed stylings. Billy Gibbons is the only member of the band playing on this track, as the synth and drums were programmed. Do we care? No. I think everyone has at least one fond memory of listening to this song, and if you can remember the video - it got heavy rotation on MTV throughout the 80s - you’ll love it even more. 

ZZ Top - Legs (Official Music Video)

7: “Sharp Dressed Man” - ‘Eliminator’

This may be their signature song. It’s certainly on the shortlist, and it sums up the band better than any of their other popular tracks. They typically took to the stage in what they considered to be stylish and in sync with one another, whether it be fancy or funny hats, suits, or fuzzy guitars “..cause every girl crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man.” As Dusty Hill commented to SPIN magazine in 1986: “Sharp dressed depends on who you are..If you’re on a motorcycle, really sharp leathers is great. If you’re a punk rocker, you can get sharp that way. You can be sharp or not sharp in any mode. It’s all in your head. If you feel sharp, you be sharp.”

ZZ Top - Sharp Dressed Man (Official Music Video)

6: “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” - ‘Deguello’

In 1979, there were no three guys cooler than Dusty, Frank, and Billy. Their album, ‘Deguello,’ was a smash hit, and “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” led the way to the album becoming a platinum-selling success. Gibbons revealed to Guitar World in 2009 that the song is a tribute to Texas guitarist Joey Long, and that’s where the thin mandolin-like sound that pushes the song comes from. There’s some clavinet included in the outro, and it’s claimed that Dusty Hill was to play more keys moving forward. Gibbons clarified: “It’s such an interesting sound.. that it ignited Dusty’s interest in learning some keyboard skills.”

I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide (2003 Remaster) 

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5: “Waitin’ For The Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago” - ‘Tres Hombres’ 

These may be two separate songs, but they’re inseparable as far as I’m concerned. I’ve never heard a more smooth transition between songs; it’s absolutely perfect. ‘Tres Hombres’ is my favorite ZZ Top album, and this is my favorite song on it. I’d rate it higher on the list, but there are so many crowd-pleasing hits, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Billy’s vocals sound like a man who’s broadcasting from a world of his own creation..and that’s about right. 

ZZ Top - Waitin' For The Bus / Jesus Just Left Chicago

4: “Got Me Under Pressure” - ‘Eliminator’

In a 1985 interview with SPIN magazine, Billy commented: “Everybody asks if “Under Pressure” was about a girlfriend of mine..and if not, whose was it? Well, fortunately, that kind of pressure we’re not under. Maybe it’s just because we got out of town on time.” This might be their most underrated song, and it’s certainly Billy’s most underrated riff. It’s a super catchy track, and the lyrics tell a story as interesting as any song they’ve ever released. Of course, it’s on the ‘Eliminator’ album, so it gets overshadowed by the greatness of multiple tracks. If it’s been a while since you’ve heard it, click the link below, and remind yourself how good it is. 

ZZ Top - Got me under Pressure [HD] [Studio Version]

3: “Cheap Sunglasses” - ‘Deguello’

The ninth track on ‘Deguello’ doesn’t get the same type of love or appreciation as many or maybe, most of their tracks, but it’s a great example of just how diverse they were within the confines of the rock and roll label. “Cheap Sunglasses’ is a celebration of funk-rock groove and simplicity. The guitar interludes that begin at the ninety-second mark are full of grit and are full of great classic Gibbons’ tone. Dusty Hill told SPIN magazine: “Every gas station in the world had a cardboard display of the cheapest and ugliest sunglasses you could imagine.” That’s a great thing when you live on the road, and hangovers are a regular part of life. 

Cheap Sunglasses (2019 Remaster)

2: “Tush” - ‘Fandago!’ 

According to Dusty, “Tush” was written in less than ten minutes during a soundcheck. At a rodeo. In Florence, Alabama. It’s one of the most popular rock songs of all time, being included in movies, tv shows, and covered by other bands..It’s a cultural smash hit in every regard. 

Hill explained to SPIN magazine: “Tush,” where I grew up, had two meanings. It meant what it means in New York. Tush is also like plush, very lavish, very luxurious. So it depended on how you used it. If somebody said, “That's a tush car,” you knew they weren't talking about the rear and of the car. That's like saying, ‘That's a cherry short.’ But tush as in ‘That's a nice tush on that girl,’ that's definitely the same as the Yiddish word. I don't know how we got it in Dallas. All it could have took was one guy moving down from New York.” I’ll have to take his word for all that. What I know for a fact though, is “Tush” has been featured in ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘The Sopranos,’ and it was their first national hit. If you know ZZ Top, you know “Tush,” and if you don’t know ZZ Top, you’re still probably familiar with this song. 

Tush (2006 Remaster)

1: “La Grange” - ‘Tres Hombres’

It’s anti-climactic, I know; but it’s the right answer. “La Grange” was written about “The Chicken Ranch,” a Texas Brothel. The song just may be more popular than the band itself. Everyone knows “La Grange.” It’s the ultimate “innocent” party song with the not-so-innocent story behind it. In a 1995 interview with Guitar World, Billy Gibbons explained how he got the tone for the track: “That is straight guitar into amp, a 1955 Strat with a stop-tailpiece through a 1969 Marshall Super Lead 100. That fuzz sound in the lead and in the front and back end of the composition is just pure tube distortion. Pickup-setting differentials account for the different tones. The opening part was played on what we used to call 'the mystery setting' in the dark days before the existence of the five-way toggle switch when finding that perfect 'tweener required dedication.’”

ZZ Top - La Grange

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