Our Top 10 ZZ Top songs list looks back at all the great songs the band has delivered through their 50-plus years career. In classic rock history, there is a definite line between the thousands of bands that sound like each other and the ones that created their own distinct sound that no one ever comes close to imitating. ZZ Top is simply one of those bands that created a sound of their own. The band’s first record was released in 1971 entitled appropriately ZZ Top’s First Album. Since their initial release, the band has released fourteen more albums with their last record issued in 2012 labeled La Futura. The band’s peak in popularity occurred in the early to mid 1980s due to a series of very popular MTV videos released from their Eliminator album. However, the band has always delivered quality rock and roll music inspired by the blues of Texas wrapped in a radio friendly pop rock sensibility.
Editor’s Note: On July 28th 2021, the music world lost the great Dusty Hill at 72 years old. We posted a story on his passing. We dedicate this revised ZZ Top songs articles to the great Dusty Hill and thank him for all the wonderful music he gave us over the past 50 years.
# 10 – Sharp Dressed Man
Well, there is no better way to start out the Top 10 ZZ Top Songs list than with a song that generated one of the most popular videos of the MTV “actual music video era.” If you grew up watching MTV during the 1980s, it will be pretty hard to separate the song “Sharp Dressed Man,” from the video images that became ingrained in popular culture at the time. Yes, I know you understand what I am talking about.
# 9 – Sleeping Bag
The song “Sleeping Bag,” was the opening track on the band’s 1985 album Afterburner. The album Afterburner was the follow-up album to their extremely successful Eliminator record. The video to this song may be one of the most ridiculous videos the band ever made. The Eliminator car actually became a spaceship that flew around shooting monster trucks. Yeah, I know! However, the song’s guitar solo is pure ZZ Top Texan blues.
The track is heavily produced within the style of 1980s big sounding pop music. Nonetheless, you need to listen to this track on a great stereo system and you will be blown away by the sound. You just won’t get it by listening to it on a computer or smartphone. It’s not their greatest song but the production value is amazing, and being it was the follow-up to their greatest success made it an important addition to the Top 10 list at least for historic reasons.
# 8 – I’m Bad I’m Nationwide
Is there any band that emits a southern cool more than ZZ Top? The song “I’m Bad I’m Nationwide,” just about says all you need to know about this band. The song “I’m Band I’m Nationwide,” was released on their 1979 album Degüello.
# 7 – Gimme All Your Lovin’
The second song on this Top 10 ZZ top Songs list from the famous MTV video series featuring the three models and the legendary Eliminator car. The song “Gimme All Your Loving,” was the opening track on their 1983 Eliminator album. The song was the first single released from the album. The album Eliminator became the biggest selling album of the band’s career. In 1983, the band faced major competition for airplay from bands like U2, The Ramones, Madness, Adam & the Ants and Bryan Adams. Yet, MTV loved ZZ Top and played a major role in their popularity during the early 1980s.
# 6 – Francine
“Francine,” was the opening track to their second album Rio Grande Mud. You can hear the impact of bands like the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple The Guess Who, on ZZ Top’s early sound, especially in the rhythm guitar grooves. An essential song and time period to be included on this Top 10 ZZ Top Songs list.
# 5 – Legs
Come on, now how cool is this video? I am sorry if I keep mentioning these ZZ Top videos, but they did play a major role in the band’s huge success during the early 1980’s MTV period. ZZ Top’s great guitar riff matched by a pulsating almost dance like rhythm made this track a very popular track in the revitalized dance club scene of the early 1980s. A huge hit on radio and in the clubs the song was the fifth single released from the mega Eliminator album.
# 4 – Tube Snake Boogie
If this song doesn’t make you want to get up and dance, then just give it up right now. It has everything that is so great about ZZ top; cool lyrics, swinging boogie groove and amazing guitar work. Best line…I got a gal who lives on the hill…..
# 3 – Cheap Sunglasses
Bam! this one hits you instantly. Great verse, and an incredible hook at the end of the chorus. And how can you not love the coolness of the solo section? Wow! The song was issued on ZZ Top’s 1979 album Degüello. At the time in 1979, rock and pop music were experiencing the end of the punk era and the introduction of New Wave. But ZZ Top completely ignored the changes in style and delivered a record ingrained in what they did best. Thank Goodness!
# 2 – La Grange
ZZ Top’s “La Grange,” yields one of rock and rolls most distinctive opening guitar riffs of all time. Just the first thirty seconds alone is worth the No. 2 spot. But Oh! how it gets even better. Come on take a ride on this one, it will not disappoint. The song was released on the band’s third album Tres Hombres in 1973. It was a year that featured great music from bands like Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Yes, Billy Joel, Elton John and so many more. ZZ Top’s “La Grange,” only added to that great year in music.
# 1 – Tush
ZZ Top’s first big hit lands at the No. 1 spot on our Top 10 ZZ Top Songs list. The song “Tush,” was released on the band’s fourth album Fandango! in 1975. The band has had such a stellar career that picking a No 1 song over everything else simply comes down to personal reasons. It’s the song that first turned many people on to the band. It still sounds fresh over forty years after its release. Great songs never fade away……..
Top 10 ZZ Top Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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