I am part of the MTV generation. I turned 14 in 1982, the year MTV took off.
ZZ Top’s breakout album, Eliminator, came out in 1983. The music on the album was certainly quite good, and has stood the test of time. I think it’s fair to say, though, that MTV was pivotal in ZZ Top’s breakout success. MTV, alas, was a highly visual medium.
And ZZ Top was a very visual band. The group also mastered the MTV format.
ZZ Top was known for its two frontmen, Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons. With long flowing beards and fedoras, Hill and Gibbons were anachronisms even in the early 1980s.
Dusty Hill passed away earlier this week, from undisclosed causes at the age of 72.
Requiescat in pace, Mr. Hill. You made some fine music, which brings back fond memories for millions of Gen Xers like me.
And now, in honor of Dusty Hill, my favorite ZZ Top video, for the song “Legs”.
Both the song and the video are everything the 1980s was, and the present decade is not: sensual, unashamed, and (most of all): fun.