Billy founded his first band, the Moving Sidewalks, in the mid 1960’s, before forming ZZ Top in late 1969 with bassist/vocalist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard. ZZ Top recorded fifteen studio albums and six compilation albums from 1971 to 2006. ZZ Top is also one of the very few rock groups who never changed any original members.
Gibbons is known for playing a classic 1959 Gibson Les Paul guitar known as “Pearly Gates.” He has a signature guitar made by Gretch called the “Billy-Bo” named after himself and Bo Didley. Many guitarists have copied his rich guitar tones. He has been known to play his guitar using a quarter or a peso as a pick. It helped produce the distinctive chirping sound known as a pinch harmonic on "La Grange" and other songs. Gibbons is often credited as inventing this sound, but there are earlier recordings of pinch harmonics.
Several prominent guitarists have singled out Billy Gibbons as one of their favorites, including artists like Ted Nugent, Cub Coda and even the late Jimi Hendrix who named Billy Gibbons his favorite guitar player during an appearance on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.
The book, Billy F. Gibbons, Rock & Roll Gearhead was published in 2006 and is an excellent source of anecdotes, history and photos of Gibbons and his extensive car and guitar collections.
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