Eliminator is the eighth studio album by American rock band ZZ Top. It was released on March 23, 1983, by Warner Bros. Records. Recorded in Tennessee during 1982, the album was produced by the band's manager Bill Ham and peaked at the top of the charts worldwide. "Gimme All Your Lovin'", "Got Me Under Pressure", "Sharp Dressed Man", "TV Dinners", and "Legs" were released as singles. A Diamond award winner, Eliminator is ZZ Top's most successful release with sales of over 10 million copies in the United States.
The band wanted to expand on the synthesizer sound of their 1981 record El Loco. Influenced by pop music, Eliminator′s tracks were recorded with a combination of the synthesizer, drum machine, and sequencer. The album used music videos as successful promotional tools—the videos for "Gimme All Your Lovin'", "Sharp Dressed Man", and "Legs" all received regular rotation on MTV. A customized 1930s Ford coupe, depicted on the album cover, could be seen in the videos. Following Eliminator′s release, ZZ Top embarked on a worldwide concert tour.
Eliminator garnered widespread critical acclaim. Praise centered on its songwriting and use of synthesizers. Often considered ZZ Top's most popular release, the record has been featured in several publications' best albums lists. It ranked number 396 on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and was listed at number 39 in The 100 Greatest Albums of the 80's. In 2008, Eliminator was remastered and reissued, with the addition of bonus tracks and a DVD containing live performances.
The “Eliminator” album was not without controversy. According to former stage manager David Blayney (15 years with ZZ Top) in his book, "Sharp Dressed Men," sound engineer Linden Hudson co-wrote much of the material on the album as a live-in high-tech music teacher to Beard and Gibbons. And, despite continued denials by the band, it settled a five-year legal battle with Hudson, paying him a sum of money after he proved he held the copyright to the song "Thug" which appeared on "Eliminator". It's a fact that after the five year legal dispute, ZZ Top paid Linden Hudson $600,000 in a settlement for his song "Thug". David Blayney further described, in his book, the role Linden played in the process of planning and preparing "Eliminator". This was well demonstrated in the writing and making of a demo of the song "Under Pressure". Billy and Linden wrote the whole song and created a recorded demo all in one afternoon without either Dusty or Frank even knowing about it. Linden created the bass on a synthesizer, created drums on a drum machine and helped Billy Gibbons write the lyrics; Billy performed the guitars and vocals.
David Sinclair, of the London Times, described in his book "The Story Of ZZ Top" how Linden Hudson drew Billy's attention to the possibility of using a drum machine for the final recording of the Eliminator album.
Deborah Frost, writer for Rolling Stone Magazine, described in her book "ZZ Top - Bad And Worldwide" how Linden Hudson researched popular song tempos, then presented Billy Gibbons with the results of his studies. Linden's data suggested that 120 beats per minute was the most popular tempo in the rock music market at that time. Billy decided to go for it and recorded most of the Eliminator album at that tempo.
ZZ Top (pronounced /ˌziːˌziː ˈtɒp/) is an American blues rock band, formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. Comprising of Billy Gibbons (lead vocals and guitar), Dusty Hill (vocals, bass, and keyboards), and Frank Beard (drums and percussion), ZZ Top was ranked number 44 on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.". The trio's original lineup has been intact for over 40 years; their longevity together of 41 years has placed them second only to the Four Tops, whose original band members remained intact from 1953 until the death of Lawrence Payton in 1997. ZZ Top retained the services of the same manager, Bill Ham, until September, 2006.
The bandmates' image has been as unchanging and memorable as their music. Their signature style of dress and accessories are hard to miss. Gibbons and Hill often use the same synchronized dance moves while performing onstage, and with few exceptions appear in public wearing sunglasses. The pair favor wearing similar black clothing (usually biker leathers) and various head gear which often include cowboy hats, baseball caps, and bandannas. Gibbons and Hill, who appear as twin frontmen wear chest-length untrimmed beards, although drummer Frank Beard has only a trimmed mustache. In 1984, the Gillette Company reportedly offered Gibbons and Hill $1 million each to shave their beards for a television commercial. They allegedly declined, saying "We're too ugly without 'em."
ZZ Top was inducted by Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 2004. Cub Koda wrote, "As genuine roots musicians, they have few peers; Gibbons is one of America's finest blues guitarists working in the hard rock idiom ... while Hill and Beard provide the ultimate rhythm section support."
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