Chinese band whose CDs bear the English translation of their name, “masturbate”, in big letters.
They were The Mustangs, then The Zombies, one of the great British groups of the 1960s – way ahead of most of their contemporaries in style and sophistication. The lovely tenor voice of Colin Blunstone, a former choirboy who still sang like one, was complemented by Rod Argent’s keyboards, strong material and jazzy time signatures. After great singles written by Argent and Chris White such as She’s Not There and Tell Her No came the superb album Odessey & Oracle – declared the 100th best ever by Rolling Stone in 2012 – but they had broken up by the time it was released in 1968. Time of the Season was a big posthumous hit in the US. Intermittent reunions and appearances were followed by a crowdfunded album, Still Got That Hunger, in 2015.
The ZZ came from rhythm-and-bluesman ZZ Hill. According to Billy Gibbons, the Top was because “we wanted the name to suggest the best, the ultimate … For a while, we were just gonna call ourselves ZZ Brown.” Then one day he and a friend saw an old barn with old-fashioned Z-shaped beams and the friend said: “Look, ZZ Top!” Any suggested link with Top and Zig Zag, brands of rolling paper, have been denied. Anyway, Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard have kept the same lineup since 1969 to the present day, which may be some kind of record. As was Legs. Beard note: Frank doesn’t have one. Brits note: it’s “Zee Zee”, not “Zed Zed”.