ZZ Top – In Concert from Essen, Germany – April 19, 1980 – WDR –
Ending up the weekend with ZZ Top, playing their first concert in Europe, at the Grugahalle in Essen, Germany on April 19 by West German Radio/TV.
ZZ Top formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band has, since 1970, consisted of vocalist/guitarist Billy Gibbons (the band’s leader, main lyricist and musical arranger), bassist/vocalist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard. “As genuine roots musicians, they have few peers”, according to critic Michael “Cub” Koda. “Gibbons is one of America’s finest blues guitarists working in the arena rock idiom […] while Hill and Beard provide the ultimate rhythm section support.”
The band released its debut album, ZZ Top’s First Album, in 1971. Beginning with blues-inspired rock, the trio later incorporated new wave, punk rock and dance-rock by using synthesizers. Their songs have a reputation for containing humorous lyrics laced with double entendres and innuendos.
The band’s top-selling album is their 1983 release Eliminator, which sold more than 10 million copies in the United States. Total record sales of 25 million place ZZ Top among the top-100-selling artists in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. That includes eleven gold, seven platinum and three multi-platinum albums as of 2016, according to the RIAA. By 2014, ZZ Top had sold more than 50 million albums worldwide.
ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
In addition to recording and performing concerts, ZZ Top has also been involved with films and television. In 1990, the group appeared as the “band at the party” in the film Back to the Future Part III and played the “Three Men in a Tub” in the movie Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme. ZZ Top made further appearances, including the “Gumby with a Pokey” episode of Two and a Half Men in 2010 and the “Hank Gets Dusted” episode of King of the Hill in 2007. The band also guest hosted an episode of WWE Raw. Billy Gibbons also had a recurring role as the father of Angela Montenegro in the television show Bones; though the character is never named, it is strongly implied that Gibbons is playing himself. Their song “Sharp Dressed Man” was one of the theme songs used for the television show Duck Dynasty, and on the series finale of the show they appeared with Si Robertson as a vocalist to perform the song on stage during Robertson’s retirement party. Black Dahlia Films, led by Jamie Burton Chamberlin, of Seattle and Los Angeles, has contributed documentaries and back line screen work (the footage on back screens during live shows) and has become an integral part of the band’s film-making. ZZ Top made a guest appearance in the episode “Sweet Dreams” (Season 3 Episode 8) of the television show St. Elsewhere on November 14, 1984. While the band appears in Luther’s dream, once Luther wakes he finds the “Z” keychain in the lock of the door to the room he was sleeping in.
But let’s head back to 1980 and have a listen to what they were up to in Germany for the first time.
Crank it up.