Tag Archives: ZZ Top

Top 5 Gretsch Road Trip Songs


Hopefully you have at least one road trip planned for the summer. And whether you’re driving in a Toyota Prius or a ’64 Chevy Impala, a solid soundtrack is a must.  It’s an important list, one that requires the requisite consideration to match the tempo of the ride and the terrain of the pavement.

We take our road trip playlists seriously.  After all, conversation with your fellow riders can only last so long.

So as a public service, we’ve pinpointed five road trip songs that will get your list started on the right foot, errr… wheel.

“Drive My Car” – The Beatles

Coming off the British version of1965’s Rubber Soul, the story goes that “Drive My Car” grew from the Beatles’ first recording session that extended past midnight, as Paul McCartney and George Harrison put together the basic rhythm.

“Drive My Car” features a thumping bottom end that is great for rolling down the windows and revving the engine, with an R&B feel that calls to mind the bass-heavy tracks that came out of Memphis’s Stax Records.

“Beep, Beep! Beep, Beep! Yeah!” indeed.

“Rebel Rouser” – Duane Eddy

The king of twang could have several entries on our playlist, with his signature guitar sound shining so bright on every track he released.  But Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser” has a rambling groove that is well-suited to flat country roads.  The instrumental hit is accentuated with bleats from a saxophone as it winds down, adding a car chase feel to the tune.

But don’t accelerate too fast.  It’s best to just take in the scenery when Eddy is doing his thing.

Highway to Hell – AC/DC

Written by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young and the late Bon Scott, “Highway to Hell” is a paean to the rigors of touring and life on the road with “no stop signs/speed limit.”

The riff is instantly recognizable and makes you want to put the pedal to the metal, as it sears through the brain and has the ability to instantly conjure an adrenaline rush.  Now, this fact might also make the song a dangerous one to drive with, but sometimes you need to drive fast and take chances.

Just watch out for the speed traps.

“Tush” – ZZ Top

Whether you’re going to Dallas, Texas, or Hollywood, “Tush” fits the bill.  The opening riff immediately commands the listener to pull on their sunglasses and secure their cowboy hat.  The original recording was found on Fandango and was ZZ Top’s first Top 20 single, with good reason.

Billy Gibbons takes two turns with searing slide guitar solos, and Dusty Hill’s strong bassline rumbles just as much as the engine.  The Texas trio’s hit is definitely at home when traversing the Lone Star State, but there is certainly room for a lot of “Tush” on the Sunset Strip.

“Long May You Run” – Neil Young

“Long May You Run” is an homage to Young’s beloved first car, a hearse that was known as “Mort.”  Seriously.

But this hearse has a lot of historical significance.  It was the vehicle that carted Young and his original band around Canada.  It broke down in the early 1960s in Blind River, Ont., but that spawned Mort’s successor, another hearse named “Mort Two” which ended up carrying him from Toronto to Los Angeles.  There, Young met Stephen Stills and eventually formed Buffalo Springfield.

So long may you run, Mort, in that scrapyard in the sky.  We’ll appreciate the song you inspired with our wheels firmly on the pavement.

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ZZ Top Drops New Tunes


Legendary rockers ZZ Top released a digital set of four tracks on Tuesday entitled Texicali, the first new recordings from the Texans in nine years.

The four new songs, available via iTunes and all digital retail outlets, offer a preview of the group’s full-length album, as yet untitled, that will be released on American Recordings late this summer or early fall.

“We were itching to get some new music out before the full album release; making available these four tracks seems like a good way to accomplish that most expeditiously,” said Top’s Billy F. Gibbons.  ”Dusty, Frank and I are happy with what’s been accomplished in the studio so we figured we’d provide some hot and tasty ‘hors d’oeuvres’ before the main course is served this fall.”

Gibbons helped produce the tracks along with the venerable Rick Rubin.  Song titles include “I Gotsta Get Paid,” “Chartreuse,” “Over You” and “Consumption.”

For more information, visit ZZ Top’s official website.

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ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons Featured in Guitar Aficionado


When Guitar Aficionado went looking for an icon to shed some light on the ins and out of fashion and how to develop a personal style, ZZ Top frontman and guitarist Billy Gibbons was their first and last stop.

“There are a few dos and don’t that work for us,” said Gibbons. “Numero uno is learn to play what you want to hear, and learn to wear what you don’t mind seeing in the mirror. Grab some groovy threads and crank up the tunes.”

In the Fall 2010 issue, the Reverend also reveals how his band discovered some of their memorable looks, and what he looks for when he’s in the market for a new guitar.

The spread also includes a sidebar about his Gretsch Billy-Bo prototype guitar, which Gretsch shipped to the magazine for the photo shoot.

Gibbons explains the creation of the signature model as follows:

“ZZ Top had been together for about a year when we were hired to play a 30-minute opening set and then remain on the deck for Bo Diddley,” recalled Gibbons. “We had a great time. Bo was playing the rectangular Twang Machine, but he also had an unusually shaped Gretsch, made for him in 1959, called the Jupiter Thunderbird. I tried it during the tour and liked it. When the tour was over, Bo said, ‘Take it home with you. I’ve got three more.’”

The guitar remained in storage until 1996 when ZZ Top was recording Rhythmeen. The engineers were looking for a new sound for the last few solos so Gibbons dug out the Jupiter.

“It sounded so good that we used it on the rest of the album and on tour,” Gibbons said.

But how then did it become part of the Gretsch line? Order the magazine here to learn the rest of the details! Also, be sure to follow Guitar Aficionado on facebook.

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ZZ Top Rocks 2010 Crossroads Festival


Photo by Chris Kies, Courtesy of Premier Guitar

ZZ Top joined an elite roster of musicians at Eric Clapton’s 2010 Crossroads Festival, held in Chicago on June 26.

According to Premier Guitar, the blues rock luminaries delivered the “hardest rocking set of the day.”

With his Gretsch “Billy-Bo” Jupiter Thunderbird in hand, Billy Gibbons and his sidekicks Dusty Hill and Frank Beard rocked through a set that was highlighted by a fuzz-driven cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” and their own classic “La Grange.”

ZZ Top is scheduled to perform at this year’s Del Mar Beer Fest in Del Mar, Calif. on Sept. 4, followed by a string of shows with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Get ticket information here.

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