ZZ Top Celebrates Turning Fifty
Texas-based ZZ Top is still going strong with the same members — Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard — and the same timeless hit songs for 50 years now. Known by fans from all over the world for “La Grange,” “Legs,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” and “Tush,” the group has a few projects underway to help celebrate this accomplishment.
First, a documentary was produced by the Emmy award-winning Banger Films, “ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas.” It’s playing in select theaters in 11 states through November. See www.zztopfilm.com for locations that include screenings in Dallas September 12 and in Shreveport November 14.
The film tells the story of how three oddball teenage bluesmen became one of the biggest, most beloved bands on the planet, all while maintaining a surrealist mystique that continues to intrigue fans and entice onlookers 50 years after the band’s inception.
Buoyed by candid band interviews, never-before-seen archive, animation, celebrity fan testimonials (Billy Bob Thornton, Joshua Homme and more), and an intimate performance at the legendary Gruene Hall shot exclusively for this documentary, “That Little Ol’ Band” runs the gamut, from the absurd to the poignant, from squalid Texas bars to MTV heroics, all in celebration of this notoriously private, but larger than life, power trio.
ZZ Top continues to tour weekly and after European stops this summer they returned to the states and perform November 9 in Shreveport.
They also recently released a comprehensive 50-song anthology, Goin’ 50 as both 3-CD and 180-gram, 5-LP sets. A single-CD version with 18 tracks was made available this summer.
Goin’ 50 spans the band’s entire musical career, from its 1969 debut, and its multi-platinum zenith during the ’80s, to its most recent releases. This new retrospective includes material from each of the 15 studio albums they’ve recorded since 1970. Two bonus tracks, “Salt Lick” and “Miller’s Farm,” a single and b-side respectively, were recorded in 1969 by the original incarnation of ZZ Top.
And, finally, ZZ Top members Gibbons, Hill, and Beard are executive producers of a new rock musical featuring their hits which is in development. The Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment, led by Michael Gruber and Jason Gastwirth, are developing the show, titled Sharp Dressed Man, set to premiere in 2020.
“Sharp Dressed Man is an outrageous, bawdy musical romp about a Lone Star auto mechanic who becomes a modern-day Robin Hood, stealing hearts — and car parts — with the help of his merry band of beer drinkers and hell raisers,” a press release for the show stated. Also producing the show are Prem Akkaraju and Carl Stubner, ZZ Top’s longtime manager. The show’s book was written by Robert Cary and Jonathan Tolins, who together wrote the teleplay for Fox’s Grease Live!
“We’re excited about this fantastic project and look forward to hearing our music in a new innovative context,” said Gibbons in a statement. “Fans have often told us that we’ve provided the soundtrack to their lives, and this is very much in line with that kind of enthusiastic thinking.”