Are Z Top

Daniel Brown
• Saturday, 02 January, 2021
• 15 min read

The group consists of founder Billy Gibbons (guitar, lead vocals), Dusty Hill (bass, vocals), and Frank Beard (drums, percussion). Initially rooted in blues, OZ Top's style has evolved throughout their career, with a signature sound based on Gibbons' blues guitar style and Hill and Beard's rhythm section.

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Their lyrics, often embellished with sexual innuendo, focus on their Texas roots and humor. Popular for their live performances, the group has staged several elaborate tours.

OZ Top formed after the demise of Gibbons' previous band, Moving Sidewalks. Within a year, they signed with London Records and released OZ Top's First Album (1971).

Subsequent releases, such as their first top -ten album Tree Hombres (1973) and the singles La Grange and Tush “, gained extensive radio airplay. By the mid-1970s, they had become renowned in North America for their live act, highlighted by their performances during the Worldwide Texas Tour from 1976 to 1977, which made them national stars and was a critical and commercial success.

Following a two-year break after facing creative stagnation and exhaustion, OZ Top reinvented themselves in the late 1970s with a new musical direction and public image. Beginning with their albums Arguello (1979) and El Loco (1981), they experimented with instruments including clarinets, saxophones, and synthesizers, while Gibbons and Hill grew long beards as part of their image.

OZ Top gained international favor with the records Eliminator (1983) and Afterburner (1985), which integrated influences from new wave, punk, and dance-rock, and established a more mainstream sound. The popularity of their music videos, including those for Gimme All Your Loving' “, Sharp Dressed Man “, and Legs “, helped propel them onto the television channel MTV and made them one of the more prominent artists in the 1980s pop culture.

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After additional acclaim with the release of their tenth album Recycler (1990) and the Recycler Tour, their experimentation continued with the albums Antenna (1994), Rhythm (1996), XXX (1999), and Mescaline (2003), with mixed successes. The group most recently released La Future (2012) and Going 50 (2019), the latter of which is a compilation album commemorating the band's 50th anniversary.

The original line-up was formed in Houston and consisted of Gibbons, bassist/organist Lanier Drag, and drummer Dan Mitchell. The band had a little apartment covered with concert posters, and he noticed that many performers' names used initials.

Hill and thought of combining the two into “OZ King”, but considered it too similar to the original name. OZ Top was managed by Bill Ham, a Waxahachie, Texas, native who had befriended Gibbons a year earlier.

They released their first single, “Salt Lick,” in 1969, and the B-side contained the song “Miller's Farm.” Immediately after the recording of “Salt Lick,” Drag was replaced by bassist Billy Eldridge, a band mate of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Mitchell was replaced by Frank Beard of American Blues.

Unwilling to sign a recording contract, Eldridge quit the band and Dusty Hill, Frank Beard's American Blues band mate, became his replacement. After Hill moved from Dallas to Houston, OZ Top signed with London in 1970.

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They performed their first concert together at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Beaumont, Texas, on February 10, 1970. In addition to assuming the role as the band's leader, Gibbons became the main lyricist and musical arranger.

With the assistance of Ham and engineer Robin Hood Brian's, OZ Top's First Album (1971) was released and exhibited the band's humor, with “barrel house” rhythms, distorted guitars, double entendres, and innuendo. The music and songs reflected OZ Top's blues influences.

Following their debut album, the band released Rio Grande Mud (1972), which produced their first charting single, Francine “. 8 position on the Billboard 200 albums chart by early 1974.

The album included the boogie-driven La Grange (written about the Chicken Ranch, a notorious brothel in La Grange, Texas, that also inspired the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas). On the subsequent tour, the band performed sold-out concerts in the US.

OZ Top recorded the live tracks for one side of their 1975 album, Fandango! , which also contained one side of new studio songs, was a top -ten album; its single Tush peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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Texas, released in 1976, would be the band's final album under their contract with London Records. It was not as successful or as positively received as their previous efforts, although the album went to number 17 on the Billboard 200.

The band then went on what was supposed to be a 90-day break from public appearances. Gibbons traveled to Europe, Beard went to Jamaica, and Hill went to Mexico.

The break extended to two years, during which Gibbons and Hill grew chest-length beards. In 1979, OZ Top signed with Warner Bros. Records and released the album Arguello.

While the album went platinum, it only reached number 24 on the Billboard chart. The album produced two popular singles: I Thank You “, a cover of the David Porter / Isaac Hayes composition originally recorded by Sam & Dave, and the band original Cheap Sunglasses “.

The band remained a popular concert attraction and toured in support of Arguello. In April 1980, OZ Top made their first appearance in Europe, performing for the German music television show Rockfalls.

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The band later played the BBC show The Old Grey Whistle Test, where they shared a studio with English electronic band Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (OLD). OZ Top became fans of OLD's synthesizer -driven music and adopted elements of their energetic performance style, before themselves experimenting with synthesizers on the October 1981 album El Loco.

The album peaked at number 17 on the Billboard chart, and featured the singles Tube Snake Boogie “, Pearl Necklace “, and “Leila”. Eliminator, released in March 1983, featured two top -40 singles (“ Gimme All You're Loving' and Legs “), and two additional Top Rock hits (“ Got Me Under Pressure and Sharp Dressed Man “), with “Legs” peaking at number 13 on the Club Play Singles chart.

Eliminator saw the band fully embrace synthesizers and elements of new wave music ; electronic band Depeche Mode have been cited as an influence on the album. It became a critical and commercial success, selling more than 10 million copies while peaking at No.

Several music videos from the album were in regular rotation on MTV. The band also won their first MTV Video Music Awards in the categories of Best Group Video for “Legs”, and Best Direction for “Sharp Dressed Man”.

The later lead singer of Survivor, Jimi Jamison provided backing vocals on the album, after hanging with the band since the late 70s in different occasions. Gibbons referred to Jamison as the “fourth member” of the group for being a big fan, contributor and humble person.

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According to former stage manager David Blarney in his book Sharp Dressed Men”, sound engineer Linden Hudson co-wrote much of the material on the album while serving as a live-in high-tech music teacher to Beard and Gibbons. Despite continued denials by the band, it settled a five-year legal battle with Hudson, paying him $600,000 after he proved he held the copyright to the song “Thug”.

Despite not selling as many copies as Eliminator, 1985's Afterburner became the band's highest-charting album (No. Billboard chart), racking up sales of five million units.

All the singles from Afterburner were Top -40 hits, with two (“Sleeping Bag” and “Stages”) hitting number one on the Mainstream Rock chart. The music video for Velcro Fly was choreographed by pop singer Paula Abdul.

The albums OZ Top's First Album, Rio Grande Mud, Tree Hombres, Fandango, and Texas were remixed to have a more contemporary sound. Recycler, released in 1990, was OZ Top's last studio album under contract with Warner Records.

Recycler was also the last of a distinct sonic trilogy in the OZ Top catalog, marking a return towards a simpler guitar-driven blues sound with less synthesizer and pop bounce than the previous two albums. This move did not entirely suit the fan base that Eliminator and Afterburner had built up, and while Recycler did achieve platinum status, it never matched the sales of those albums.

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1 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart that year. In 1994, the band signed a $35 million deal with RCA Records, releasing the million-selling Antenna.

RCA impresario Clive Davis wanted to do a collaboration record (in the mode of Carlos Santana's successful Supernatural) for this album. In an interview in Goldmine magazine, Davis stated that artists Pink, Dave Matthews, and Wilcox were among the artists slated for the project.

OZ Top performed “Tush” and “Legs” as part of the Super Bowl XXXI halftime show in 1997. A comprehensive four-CD collection of recordings from the London and Warner Bros. years, Chrome, Smoke & BBQ, was released in 2003.

It featured the band's first single (A- and B-side) and several rare B-side tracks, as well as a radio promotion from 1979, a live track, and several extended dance-mix versions of their biggest MTV hits. Three tracks from Billy Gibbons' Pre-K band, the Moving Sidewalks, were also included.

Expanded and remastered versions of the original studio albums from the 1970s and 1980s are currently Marketed as “Remastered and Expanded”, these releases include additional live tracks which were not present on the original recordings.

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Three such CDs have been released to date (Tree Hombres, Fandango! The Eliminator re-release also features a collector's edition version containing a DVD featuring several videos and additional live tracks.

The Eliminator Collector's Edition CD/DVD, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band's iconic RIAA Diamond Certified album, was released September 10, 2008. The release includes seven bonus tracks and a bonus DVD, including four television performances from The Tube in November 1983.

OZ Top at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, November 7, 2013Billy Gibbons stated in an interview in August 2011 that a new album had been recorded, with initial recording taking place in Malibu, California, before moving to Houston, but was still unnamed and had yet to be mixed and mastered. Gibbons said that the expected release date was sometime in March or April 2012 but, later, a late summer or early fall release date was announced.

Entitled La Future, the album was produced by Rick Rubin. The first single from the album, “I Gotta Get Paid”, debuted in an advertising campaign for Jeremiah Weed Whiskey and appears on the soundtrack of the film Battleship.

The song itself is an interpretation of “25 Lighters” by Texan hip hop DJ DMD and rappers Little' Zeke and Fat Pat. The first four songs from La Future debuted on June 5, 2012, on an EP called Mexicali.

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On September 9, 2016, OZ Top released a new live album entitled Ton ite at Midnight: Live Greatest Hits from Around the World. In 2017, OZ Top announced their 2017 Tonnage Tour which was to last from February 19 to March 14.

However, they were forced to cancel last few dates of their tour due to the ailment of bassist Dusty Hill. In 2018, the band announced their six-day Las Vegas run of shows to be held at The Venetian, starting from April 20, 2019.

On June 21, 2021, Gibbons stated interest in having guitarist Jeff Beck make a guest appearance on the album. In November 2020, it was announced that the documentary That Little Of' Band From Texas was nominated for a Best Music Film Grammy Award for the January 2021 award show.

OZ Top performed at the 2008 Orange Bowl game in Miami, as well as the Auto Club 500NASCAR event at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. On June 23, 2008, OZ Top celebrated the release of their first live concert DVD titled Live from Texas with the world premiere, a special appearance, and charity auction at the Hard Rock Café in Houston.

The featured performance was culled from a concert filmed at the Nokia Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas, on November 1, 2007. In June 2011, various media sources reported that the new song “Flying' High” would debut in space.

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In addition to recording and performing concerts, OZ 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.

OZ Top made further appearances, including the “Gumbo 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. OZ Top made a guest appearance in the episode “Sweet Dreams” (Season 3, Episode 8) of the television show St.

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. OZ Top has also achieved several chart and album sales feats, including six number-one singles on the Mainstream Rock chart.

^ Josh Jackson & Paste Music Staff (February 26, 2018). “OZ Top at 50: Billy Gibbons takes us back to the beginning”.

^ a b “OZ Top 'Sowing and Stitching Away' at New Album, Says Billy Gibbons”. ^ “La Future Arrives This September From OZ Top ".

^ “OZ Top 2015 North American Tour Schedule With Jeff Beck & Blackberry Smoke”. “OZ Top Cancel Remaining 2017 Tour Dates”.

“Dusty Hill Says There's a 'Good Chance' of Another OZ Top Album”. “Billy Gibbons says OZ Top 'cooking up' new album”.

“New OZ Top Album Could Contain Song They Started 50 Years Ago”. “O'Brien ends run on 'Tonight' show after 7 months” (Press release).

^ “Legendary Rock Band Makes Surprise Appearance on Final Episode of 'Duck Dynasty “. ^ “Black Dahlia Films + Seattle, WA”.

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