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What is the Story of ZZ Top’s Thick Long Beards?

Gimme All Your Lovin’, La Grange, and Legs are just some of the American Rock band ZZ Top. But, after several albums and tours, people are wondering what the story behind their long thick beards is.

Contrary to what most might think, the member of ZZ Top did not don their beards until 10 years after their debut. Then, after a 2-year break, the guitarists discovered they had both grown thick long beards.

Who is ZZ Top?

Billy Gibbons, a vocalist, and guitarist formed ZZ Top in 1969. The original line-up consisted of Gibbons, Lanier Greig, and Dan Mitchell. Soon after, the band just consisted of Bill Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard.

The name of the band was Gibbon’s idea. He was inspired by the names of the music geniuses like BB King and ZZ Hill and thought of combining the two to create “ZZ King,” which was later modified to ZZ Top.

They released their first album in 1971. It was noted for its humor and barrelhouse rhythms, distorted guitars, and innuendo. The blues heavily influenced their music, and it was evident in their first album.

By 1973, the band was able to figure out their signature sound. They released the album Tres Hombres, and it made it to the top 10 on the Billboard 200 albums in 1974. (Source: 96.1 The Eagle)

How Did the Beards Happen?

Gibbons and Hill didn’t use to have long beards. In fact, they had minimal facial hair just right before they went on a break.

After their first major tour, the band went on hiatus, and when they got back together, the two guitarists found that they have both grown out their facial hair.

The manager called a band meeting, and when the three members arrived, they noticed something had changed during their time apart. They had always had some form of facial hair, with Frank usually sporting a mustache, while Billy and Dusty had scruffy little beards no more than an inch or two long.

Tom Vickers

Gibbons was initially shocked to see Hill’s beard when they reconvened.

I walk into the room, and I’m lookin’ at a guy I think I know. My beard has grown to doormat proportions. And I realize that Dusty had done the same thing.

Billy Gibbons

On their 15th album, La Futura. The members appeared as silhouettes. Gibbons and Hill sporting their chest-long beards. Ironically, Frank Beard didn’t have one.

Gibbons did reveal that he and Hill were offered a large sum of money to shave off their facial hair. In fact, in 1984, Gillette wanted them to be part of an ad campaign that they turned down despite its huge payout.

Even adjusted for inflation, this isn’t going to fly. The prospect of seeing oneself in the mirror clean-shaven is too close to a Vincent Price film, a prospect not to be contemplated, no matter the compensation.

Billy Gibbons

(Source: Yahoo! Entertainment)

Where Are They Now?

The band has released their most recent album, La Futura, in 2012. In addition to recording albums and performing in concerts, they have been involved in films and shows like Back to the Future Part III and Three Men in a Tub.

Netflix has released a documentary on the band called ZZTop: That Little Old Band from Texas.

Dusty Hill, the bass player, passed away in his sleep this year at 72. (Source: USA Today)

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