ZZ TOP “Eliminator” – Metal Odyssey’s Classic Rock Journey Back To 1983
ZZ TOP – It’s a humdinger of a thought, reflecting back to those blissful days of keg parties so long ago, in an open field, while Eliminator from ZZ TOP was blasting from someone’s boom box or car stereo. It was very common to hear Eliminator being cranked up along with Screaming For Vengeance from Judas Priest (released in 1982), Iron Maiden’s The Number Of The Beast and Piece Of Mind (released in 1982 and 1983 respectively) and Quiet Riot’s Metal Health. You have to remember, these were profoundly popular Metal albums of the day and ZZ TOP came knockin’ on the door to party… when all the world was abuzz about Heavy Metal. The really cool thing is, I and the majority of fellow Metalheads I knew then… let ZZ TOP in.
Metal Health was released on March 11, 1983 and Eliminator was released on March 23, 1983. Everyone knows the Metal historical importance of Metal Health being the first #1 Heavy Metal album on the Billboard Chart. (If you did not know, well, now you do. Plus QR rules too). Eliminator cracked that same Billboard Chart peaking at #9. As I reflect on it now, both the Metal Health and Eliminator albums should be hailed more frequently for their combined pop culture impact, it was like a one-two punch to the Hard Rockin’ forehead that felt so damn good back then. It certainly was a great moment in Rock Music history, when MTV really played music videos and while Heavy Metal along with Hard Rock was heard everywhere.
The coexistence of Eliminator alongside such Metal album classics back in 1983 proved that Heavy Metal, Hard Rock and Rock can and does have a common connection. A “weeding out” process was happening amongst us fans and bands back in those early 80′s… resulting in the eventual endless list of sub-genres that we all debate about in 2011. Eliminator seemed to break down any barriers of Rock ‘N’ Roll segregation back in 1983, the Country and Southern Rock fans just might like a band that a Metalhead digs!
I’ve never been one to embrace just Metal as my only music listening experience and ZZ TOP is one major reason why. (Metal is #1 in my Metal heart though). I remember my buddies and I rushing to Strawberries Records & Tapes to buy earlier albums from ZZ TOP after Eliminator was released. This album gave the ZZ TOP back catalog even more notoriety, (even though it was already revered) and helped spotlight the righteousness of Blues Rock and Southern Rock/Southern Hard Rock.
While I write about Eliminator, I’m tapping into my memories of yesteryear, regardless of how dazed they might be. I do remember vividly the social impact that Eliminator had on my group of buddies and the media impact goes without saying. The music videos that spawned from this album were beyond entertaining… they were Rock ‘N’ Roll coolness with an exclamation point. TV Dinners is not just a (gasp) fun song, the music video for this song is flat-out hilarious. The slow driven, thump and stump of TV Dinners “really can’t be beat”, in my Metal opinion.
Not to disrespectfully push the “hits” of Eliminator aside, still, there are other songs on this album that cut loose with their dirt kickin’ and down home Rockin’ vibes. I Got The Six, Dirty Dog, If I Could Only Flag Her Down, I Need You Tonight, Thug and Bad Girl are just as potent as the world popular Legs, Sharp Dressed Man, Gimme All Your Lovin, Got Me Under Pressure and of course… TV Dinners.
Was Eliminator commercial for it’s time? Of course it was and for grand reason. Eliminator will forever have a commercial appeal due to it’s memorable lyrics and good-times feel. It’s that big Texas boogie beat that will always make ZZ TOP and their catalog of albums timeless. Blues and grooves. Add into the sound and style of ZZ TOP these three words as well: Hard, Heavy, Classic. What other Rock power-trio, if you will, manifested more bluesy slick and muscular grooves into their songs such as ZZ TOP? Eliminator only magnified this.
There was no rushing to the “Prog-Rock” door to impress the fans when it came to the Rock ‘N’ Roll of Eliminator, that’s never been what ZZ TOP was/is known for. Straightforward with their brand of bluesy Southern Rock and Hard Rock is what made ZZ TOP famous for in the first place. As time has gone by, Eliminator just “eliminated” any doubts about this band and album having a huge impact among a cross section of Rock genres. It always feels dandy when I can reflect on an album that has made my Rock lovin’ life so enjoyable. My Eliminator vinyl and CD can never grow moss or collect dust mites… there’s just too many BIG beats and FUN moments that it bulges with, just like a Classic Rock album from ZZ TOP should do.
BILLY GIBBONS – guitar & vocals
DUSTY HILL – bass & vocals
FRANK BEARD - drums
* Eliminator was released on March 23, 1983, on Warner Bros. Records.
* Eliminator was produced by Bill Ham.
LONG LIVE ZZ TOP.
LONG LIVE CLASSIC ROCK.
The word “dandy” was used in the last paragraph.
This entry was posted on January 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm and is filed under classic rock, classic rock albums, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, metal odyssey, Music, rock and roll, rock music, rock music news, southern hard rock, southern rock with tags 1980's rock albums, arena rock, blues rock, classic rock, classic rock albums, eliminator album, Hard Rock, metal odyssey, Quiet Riot, rock music, rock music news, southern rock, zz top. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.