It’s Billy Gibbons birthday, and that’s a cause to celebrate the legendary ZZ Top vocalist, guitarist, and sharp dressed beard man.
Truth be told, this is just an excuse for us to revisit those classic ZZ Top videos that were all over MTV back in the ’80s. Nothing wrong with that. But first, we do need to pay proper tribute to Mr. Gibbons. He truly is a legend, and it’s mind-blowing to think about how long he’s been at it.
Billy Gibbons comes from musical stock, which never hurts. His father, Freddie, was an orchestra conductor and a concert pianist. And his uncle worked at MGM Studios. Billy saw Elvis live at the age of 5, then caught B.B. King in concert with his dad at the age of 8. With an upbringing like that, it’s no wonder he ended up making a living on stage.
Billy’s first band, Moving Sidewalks, formed in Houston when he was only a teenager. Two of his band members were drafted into the Vietnam War, so the band disbanded, setting things up for him to form ZZ Top in late 1969 with bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard. The lineup would stay intact until Hill’s death in 2021.
A Billy Gibbons Birthday Six-Pack
So yeah, the ZZ Top “classic lineup” lasted for over a half-century. That’s insane. And the band’s sound was defined by Billy’s voice–that low, cool growl–and his groove-blues guitar work. Of course, the matching belly-length beard he rocked alongside Hill didn’t hurt. Fewer blues trios have rocked harder than ZZ Top and looked cooler doing it.
So let’s crack open a six-pack of ZZ Top classics that showcase Billy Gibbons’ special talents. I’ll throw in a pair of collaborations he’s appeared on over the years, too. Happy Birthday, Mr. Gibbons. Don’t ever shave.