Happy 35th: ZZ Top, ELIMINATOR
35 years ago this month, ZZ Top released their eighth studio album, an LP which found the trio of Texans becoming MTV darlings and, in turn, finding themselves with the biggest-selling album of their career.
Recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, ELIMINATOR was produced by Bill Ham, who’d been working with ZZ Top since the release of their first album – the cleverly-titled ZZ TOP’S FIRST ALBUM – in 1971. The band had already been using synthesizers in their songs on their previous album, 1981’s EL LOCO, but they wanted to embrace that sound even more this time around. The end result was an album which ended up being decidedly more electronic than not, but the songs had more hooks than a tackle box, and when they caught the ear of radio programmers, they didn’t let go.
More importantly, though, the videos caught the eye of MTV viewers. The eye-catching clips for “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Legs,” and “TV Dinners” became staples on the network, which only served to send them higher into the Billboard Hot 100. The result was that those first three songs all became hits, with “Legs” being the biggest hit of the bunch (it hit #8), while both “TV Dinners” and another of the album’s singles, “Got Me Under Pressure,” also became top-40 hits on the Mainstream Rock chart.
It may surprise you to learn that ELIMINATOR never climbed any higher on the Billboard 200 than the #9 spot, but you’d better believe that it made it up for its chart placement in sales: it’s a Diamond-selling album, which means that it’s sold more than 10 million copies in the US.
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