Skip to main content

Classic guitar albums of 1979: ZZ Top's Degüello

(Image credit: Richard E. Aaron/Redferns/Getty Images)

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 14
STANDOUT TRACK: “I’M BAD, I’M NATIONWIDE”

Degüello, ZZ Top’s finest album to date at the time of its release, proves that the “Little Ol’ Band from Texas” was continuing to refine their unique brand of boogie, fusing their knack for a humorous lyric to a more focused take on their trademark sound. GW cover star Billy Gibbons has always been a master of tone and taste - that rare breed of guitar hero who sounds like he’s still got plenty left in the tank and doesn’t blow the goods in every solo. Their visual impact was refined by the time Degüello was released, and they looked pretty much like the band that stormed the gates of MTV a few years later, astonishing long-time fans by turning Texas blues into megahit territory with the addition of samplers and sequencers. 

Ironically, this album was the first to see them dip a toe into the techno waters with the use of clavinet on “I Thank You,” yet it sounds as rootsy as they’d ever sound. Not to state the obvious, but for more about Gibbons and ZZ Top, be sure to check out this month’s cover story!

Mark McStea

Mark is a freelance writer with particular expertise in the fields of ‘70s glam, punk, rockabilly and classic ‘50s rock and roll. He sings and plays guitar in his own musical project, Star Studded Sham, which has been described as sounding like the hits of T. Rex and Slade as played by Johnny Thunders. He had several indie hits with his band, Private Sector and has worked with a host of UK punk luminaries. Mark also presents themed radio shows for Generating Steam Heat. He has just completed his first novel, The Bulletproof Truth, and is currently working on the sequel.