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ZZ Top

Texas, blues and beards converged in 1970 when guitarist (Reverend) Billy Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard (ironically, the group's sole beardless member) came together from various Houston-area blues bands. Thirty-five years later, they're still together, still rocking hard and raunchy, and a bigger cultural icon than ever.

Part of their longevity is clearly due to the fact that they are no slouch as musicians, with Gibbons having long since joined the ranks of legendary hot-lick guitarists and the Hill/Beard rhythm section justly renowned among musicians and fans alike. But the blues world is famous for having great musicians with long careers of starving to death, so it's not talent alone that's propelled the ZZ Top juggernaut -- it's a definite flair for showbiz. Early adapters to the video world, they pounced on the medium as a way to take craziness to new lengths with such classic clips as "Sharp Dressed Man." Still touring, still recording, ZZ Top are probably one of the most recognizable bands in the world, musically and visually.

Written by: Mary Eisenhart

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