ZZ Top - The true story of their name

Rock band from American Houston, also affectionately called That Little Ol' Band from Texas. Their repertoire leans heavily on songs consisting of a blend of boogie and blues.

There are only a few formations that can boast so many different explanations for their band name.

Among these are several far-fetched ones (the 'double Z' would be a textual representation of the view on the open doors of the barns where the band started playing, or something like that), but also very credible ones (the band members would be fond of big breasts, of the format supported in America by Double Z Bra's). 

Another good one is the explanation that the name is a retrograde band name, meaning that the name is to be read back-to-front: Pot ZZ (marijuana makes sleepy!).

And yet another one: the bus with hungry band members is said to have halted at a PIZZA STOP, indicated by neon letters. The illuminated advertising was not working properly, the letters PI, A and S (together also a fine band name) failing to light up.

ZZ Top - BB KingOf course there is also the obvious suggestion that by choosing ZZ Top as a band name the band’s albums would be easy to find in the store: always right at the back. 

The ZZ Ranch in Mexico (?) appears on the list of explanations, and so does the combination of two cigarette paper brands, Zig-Zag and Top, that did well in the world of dope – a plausible explanation judging by the band's drug use. 

ZZ Top - ZZ HillIf however we are to go by the band itself, there is only one conclusive explanation for the band name ZZ Top, and that is that band member Billy Gibbons came up with it.

This can be gathered from Gibbons' autobiography Billy F Gibbons: Rock + Roll Gearhead. In that book Gibbons describes an appartment where he once lived, the walls of which were covered with concert posters and flyers. Among the advertised artists were Z.Z. Hill and B.B. King.

For a moment Gibbons toyed with the idea that Z.Z. King or B.B. Hill could be fun band names, but in the end it became ZZ Top.

Active: 1969-present, USA
Site: http://www.zztop.com/



Anonymous said...

I was told Beard and Hill called themselves the Zombies but had to drop it so zz could somehow refer to their prior ripped off name.

Anonymous said...

Rumors in Dallas and other Texas areas say the name came from two brands of rolling papers.I tend to agree.Zig-Zag and Top rolling papres were in heavy use during their beginning during their run for fame.They aren't kidding anybody.

Anonymous said...

They wanted to be the last band in the record store album bins

Anonymous said...

Any pothead during that time knew exactly what the name meant.Cheech and Chong even had an LP called"Big Bamboo" which included a gigantic rolling paper! ZZTops music had references to drug use. Billy Gibbons explanation may be the "truth" of the bands name but it sure meant something else to everyone!

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