William Frederick "Billy" Gibbons is an American musician, singer, songwriter, producer and actor, best known as the guitarist and lead vocalist of the American rock band ZZ Top. He began his career in the Moving Sidewalks, who recorded "Flash" (1968) and opened four dates for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Gibbons formed ZZ Top in late 1969 and released "ZZ Top's First Album" in 1971. The albums that followed, "Rio Grande Mud" (1972) and "Tres Hombres" (1973), along with extensive touring, solidified the group's reputation as a hard-rocking power trio.
The band rolled on, intensively touring and recording/releasing albums until 1977, when they took an extended hiatus. Their long-time manager took this time to negotiate a deal that allowed the band to keep control of their previous recordings, to be distributed by their new label, Warner Bros. Records. They reunited two-and-a-half years later in order to start recording under a new Warner Bros. contract. Independently, both Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons had grown the chest-length beards that quickly became a part of their image.
The band hit international prominence and their commercial peak with the release of 1983's diamond-selling disc "Eliminator". "Eliminator" was named after Gibbons' customized 1933 Ford Coupe, which was featured in three of the band's music videos. This vehicle is on exhibition at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The album featured the hits "Gimme All Your Lovin'", "Sharp Dressed Man", and "Legs".
Gibbons collaborated with Les Paul with his Les Paul & Friends American Made, World Played track "Bad Case of Loving You." Gibbons also performed guitar with John Mayall & Friends' track "Put It Right Back" from the album "Along for the Ride". He was the first artist to appear on stage at Cleveland's State theater in November 2008 at the American Music Master Tribute to Les Paul, honoring the guitar and recording innovator, who died a few months later.
Gibbons is an avid car collector and custom car enthusiast with an extensive collection that includes 1948 Cadillac Series 62 (known as CadZZilla), 1962 Chevrolet Impala (known as Slampala), 1950 Ford Business Coupe, and a 1958 Ford Thunderbird. One of his earliest custom cars, a 1933 Ford coupe (known as Eliminator), was featured in three of his band's videos. Gibbons also published a book in 2011 about his love of cars and guitars titled "Billy F Gibbons: Rock + Rock Gearhead". The November 2014 issue of Guitar World magazine features an interview of Gibbons and fellow guitarist Jeff Beck about their mutual appreciation of "cars, guitars, and everything in between".
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