Battle of the Bands – Blue Jean Blues by ZZ Top

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Happy December! It’s time for another Battle of the Bands. Today I’m featuring the ZZ Top original Blue Jean Blues, from their 1975 album Fandango! I’ll present two contenders. Give a listen to both and then vote which one you like best. I’ll post the results in 6 days!

Here is the ZZ Top original but don’t vote for it. This is presented for your enjoyment only:

 

The song was covered by Hank Williams Jr on the album The Bocephus Box: The Hank Williams Jr. Collection 1979-1992 and by the Jeff Healey Band on the album See the Light.

 

CONTENDER #1: Jeff Healey Band:

 

CONTENDER #2: Hank Williams Jr.

 

TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why? And when you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

Z is for the Zombies and Z Z Top!

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DISCLAIMER THAT APPEARS AT THE BEGINNING OF ALL A-Z 2015 PAGES:

Welcome to the A-Z Musical Tour of My Life! I have wanted to put something like this together for a long time now and the A-Z Challenge just seemed like the perfect opportunity. I’ve compiled stories, trivia, research, music videos and live concert footage on all the bands and musical artists who have been important to me over the years, especially during my youthful years in the 60s and 70s. At first glance, the posts may seem long – and some of them are due to the number of videos included – but it’s really laid out in a way that will enable you to scroll through and read, see or hear just what you want and then either move on to the next A-Zer or linger and listen to the great music that you’ll find here. By all means, bookmark my blog so you can come back! In addition to individual songs, there are some full albums here for those who may want to enjoy some music while they’re surfing or working. I hope you find that the stories are entertaining, the information educational and the trivia interesting. It would be a tremendous honor if you would bookmark the A-Z Musical Tour of My Life as a resource for great music and music information! Now, let’s get started with…

Wow, today is the last day of the A-Z Challenge! And it all comes down to this:

Z is for the Zombies – The Zombies are an English rock band, formed in 1961 in St Albans, England, and led by Rod Argent (piano, organ and vocals) and Colin Blunstone (vocals). The group scored British and American hits in 1964 with “She’s Not There”. In the US two further singles, “Tell Her No” in 1965 and “Time of the Season” in 1969, were also successful. Their 1968 album, Odessey and Oracle, is ranked number 100 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. (Source: Wikipedia)

She’s Not There – This song was released in 1964 as their debut single and reached #12 in the UK charts:

Tell Her No –  Rod Argent’s “Tell Her No” became another big seller in the United States in 1965, peaking at No.6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1967 the Zombies signed to CBS Records and they recorded the album Odessey and Oracle (odyssey was accidentally misspelled by Terry Quirk, an art teacher who designed the cover). But by the time Odessey and Oracle was released in April 1968, the group had disbanded (in December 1967). The album sold poorly and was given a US release only because musician Al Kooper, then signed to Columbia Records, convinced his label of the album’s merits. One of its tracks, “Time of the Season”, written by Argent, was released as a single and eventually (1969) became a nationwide hit (Billboard Hot 100 peak position: No.3).

Time of the Season

After the Zombies disbanded, Rod Argent formed a band called Argent in 1969, with Chris White as a non-performing songwriter. Atkinson worked in A&R at Columbia Records and Grundy joined him there after a brief spell in auto sales. Colin Blunstone started a solo career after a brief period outside the music business, including working in the burglary claims section of an insurance company. Both Argent and White provided him with new songs. He also did studio vocals for The Alan Parsons Project.

 

 

And finally:

Z is for ZZ Top – I have been a fan of ZZ Top since their 1972 Tres Hombres album. My brother turned me on to their Texas boogie rock and I was hooked immediately. It ZZ Top stubwas cool then that my brother took me to see them back in 1983 at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. Interestingly (for me, that is), Sammy Hagar opened for ZZ Top and kicked off his set with Bad Motor Scooter, a Montrose song that always reminds me of my brother.

So who are these bad boys from Texas? “ZZ Top is an American rock band that formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band comprises guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons (the band’s leader, main lyricist and musical arranger), bassist and co-lead vocalist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard. One of the few major label recording groups to have held the same lineup for more than forty years, ZZ Top has been praised by critics and fellow musicians alike for their technical mastery. Of the group, music writer Cub Koda said “As genuine roots musicians, they have few peers; Gibbons is one of America’s finest blues guitarists working in the arena rock idiom […] while Hill and Beard provide the ultimate rhythm section support.”

Since the release of the band’s debut album in January 1971, ZZ Top has become known for its strong blues roots and humorous lyrical motifs, relying heavily on double entendres and innuendo. ZZ Top’s musical style has changed over the years, beginning with blues-inspired rock on their early albums, then incorporating new wave, punk rock and dance-rock, with heavy use of synthesizers. One of the best-selling musical artists in history, the band has had global album sales in excess of 50 million as of 2014.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Here are a few bits of ZZ Top Trivia for you:

In 1985, they turned down a $1 million offer to appear in a Gillette razor commercial, which would have required Gibbons and Hill to shave their beards. They claimed they were too ugly to be seen without them. According to Gibbons, “The prospect of seeing oneself clean shaven in the mirror is too close to a Vincent Price film…A prospect not to be contemplated, no matter the compensation.”

On the official ZZ Top website, I discovered another interesting tidbit: ZZ Top had to quit playing their song Just Got Paid (from their 1972 Rio Grande Mud album) at concerts because every time they played it, fans would throw coins on the stage. And apparently getting pelted with coins kinda hurts! They’d typically end up with about $50 in change on the stage after playing that song. They took the song out of their set lineup for quite a while. Now it’s back in as the coin-throwing phase has passed.

And if you’ve ever wondered where they got their name: According to TodayIFoundOut.com, “the name ZZ Top, according to band member Billy Gibbons, came from a tribute to B.B. King. The band was originally going to call themselves “Z.Z. King” in King’s honor [and a nod to Z.Z. Hill as well, but they decided it was too similar to B.B. King. Since B.B. King was at the “top” of the Blues world, they changed it to ZZ Top.”

There are so many ZZ Top songs that I like and since this is the only band that I’m posting about, I’m going to include a bunch of videos. So sit back and enjoy some boogie and blues from “That Little Ol’ Band from Texas”:

Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers – ultimately, my favorite ZZ Top song, set to this cool motorcycle montage video:

Hot, Blue and Righteous – (audio only):

Jesus Just Left Chicago – Live at the Crossroads Eric Clapton Guitar Festival 2010:

La Grange –  photo montage video:

Blue Jean Blues – Live at Gilford, 2007 (video ©U.S.Cellular Pavilion,NH USA)

Balinese – photo montage video of the Balinese Ballroom in Galveston, TX:

Mexican Blackbird – ZZ Top photo montage video

Tush – Live performance in 2014:

I Thank You – a photo montage video:

I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide – a lyric video:

Cheap Sunglasses – a 1980 performance on BBC’s guitar heroes show:

Tube Snake Boogie – live performance at Rockpalast in Germany, April 1980:

Pearl Necklace – photo montage video:

Party on the Patio – 1983 performance for Sweden TV, right before the release of the Eliminator album:

Gimme All Your Lovin – official music video:

You Got Me Under Pressure – live at the Hellfest in Clisson, France on June 22nd, 2013:

Sharp Dressed Man – Official music video:

I Need You Tonight – a lyric video:

Legs – Official music video (from Rhino); I had that keychain that is featured in the video. I have no idea where it is but I’m sure it’s in my house somewhere…

Thug – audio only:

TV Dinners – official music video:

Sleeping Bag – official music video:

Stages – official music video:

Rough Boy – official music video:

My Head’s in Mississippi – official music video:

Doubleback – official music video:

Give It Up – official music video:

Arrested for Driving While Blind – Live at Rockpalast April 1980 in Germany:

 

So that’s it for the Letter Z. And that’s it for the Blogging A-Z Challenge! Wow, what a ride, huh? It’s been a blast exploring the soundtracks of my life and I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have this last month. 

Thanks so much for joining me on this musical tour of my life. All the posts have been compiled and indexed on one page (see the 2015 Blogging A-Z Challenge Collection) so please come back and visit soon! I’ve loved having you all here. Happy Trails! And as always, Rock On…