published Thursday, September 12th, 2013

ZZ Top still flyin' high — Sept. 13

Bassist Dusty Hill, guitarist Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard perform at Riverbend in 2008. They return to Chattanooga on Friday, this time for a show at Memorial Auditorium.
Bassist Dusty Hill, guitarist Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard perform at Riverbend in 2008. They return to Chattanooga on Friday, this time for a show at Memorial Auditorium.
Photo by John Rawlston.

IF YOU GO

• What: ZZ Top in concert

• When: 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13

• Where: Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave.

• Admission: $59-$77

• Phone: 423-642-TIXS

• Website: www.ChattanoogaOnStage.com

There are a lot of well-known beards — Santa Claus, the guys from “Duck Dynasty,” Liza Minnelli — but in the world of rock, it’s hard to imagine three more famous beards than those associated with ZZ Top. Of course, Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons are known for their actual facial hair while Beard is drummer Frank’s last name.

You don’t hang around for more than four decades, however, just by being able to grow a lot of facial hair. The Texas trio has been one of rock’s most enduring and entertaining acts since 1969 because of the guys’ ability to blend blues and rock with memorable hooks and a lovable sense of humor, innuendo and style.

They will appear at Memorial Auditorium on Friday, Sept. 13.

The band’s name was inspired by Texas blues- man ZZ Hill. Far from an instant hit, musicians didn’t strike the big time until 1973 with the release of “Tres Hombres,” which contained the boogie/blues song called “La Grange.” They followed that with “Fandango,” which was a Top 10 hit thanks to the hit “Tush.”

Their now-famous beards didn’t appear until the trio took what ended up being a two-year break from each other, traveling to different parts of the world.

Their next album, “Deguello,” introduced “I Thank You” and “Cheap Sunglasses” to their set.

During the next decade or so, the advent of MTV and the music video, which allowed the masses to check out the matching costumes, fuzzy guitars and sense of humor, helped the group sell more than 10 million copies of CDs such as “Eliminator,” “Afterburner” and “Recycler.” Hits included “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Legs,” “Got Me Under Pressure” and “Sharp Dressed Man.”

ZZ Top has long been known for live shows featuring clever stage sets with full-size automobiles and laser lights. The band played Riverbend in 2008 and the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., last year.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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