75 Essential Albums – Day #8 – ZZ Top – Eliminator

Here goes with day 8 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

ZZ Top – Eliminator

It blows my mind that Eliminator was ZZ Top’s eighth album release. Eliminator was my real introduction to their music.  My excuse is that their music is somewhat removed from the Punk scene I was into at the time and this was their first real commercial success. What a success it was selling over 10 Million copies worldwide.  I must confess that the track ‘Legs’ with the line “She’s got legs and she knows how to use them” had a special meaning for me. My girlfriend at the time had great legs and overtime we went into our local pub the DJ would play that track 🙂

Whilst ZZ Top remained true to their Texas Blues Rock, Eliminator introduced the electronic and new Wave feel that was popular at the time into their music and doubtless this was in many ways responsible for the success of the album.  This is a truly excellent album it does not contain one filler song, as each individual track works well as a stand-alone song. In fact, one can claim that the whole is much less than the sum of this album’s parts.

Frank Beard’s simple rock drum beat sets the pace for the riff-driven “Gimme All Your Lovin’” which also sets the pace for the album.   “Sharp Dressed Man” is the most catchy of the hit songs and utilises a more traditional rock arrangement with some strange vocal effects being the only really synthesised parts.  The song reached the Top Ten on the mainstream rock charts and has remained one of the band’s most famous songs.  “I Need You Tonight” is led by Gibbons’s really soulful and bluesy guitar with an effect-laden edge and a dark feel.

The early part of the album’s second side is the best demonstration of the “synthesizer meets soul” sound which the group was aiming for on Eliminator. On “Legs” the synths are most prominent along with a consistent beat and very few chord changes. It has a great melody, clear hook, and some bluesy lead guitar licks. “Thug” is an eighties-style, synth-heavy song and “Dirty Dog” feels like a pure dance song.  The closing track “Bad Girl” is sung by Hill who uses a Little Richard-type, frantic voice in this old time rocker.

So Eliminator works really well as an exciting, hook laden feel good fusion of Blues-rock and synthesiser pop.  It remains a fun filled fresh album and is still hugely enjoyable.

Sing out here if you want to be heard!

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