ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons Shares The Jeff Beck Album That Made Jimi Hendrix Mad

ZZ Top icon Billy Gibbons recalled one of his unforgettable memories with the late guitarist Jimi Hendrix when he was very young in his recent interview with Classic Rock. The musician revealed that Hendrix was listening to a Jeff Beck album; he was obsessed with his playing.

A few years before founding one of the most famous rock bands, Gibbons was a member of a psychedelic blues-rock band named The Moving Sidewalks. The newly-formed band drew significant attention from rock music lovers, critics, and colleagues in a very short time, thanks to their talents as songwriters and instrumentalists. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the band had a chance to perform opening acts for The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

The Moving Sidewalks toured with the guitarist during Hendrix’s American tour, which took place in 1968. Gibbons described those times as unbelievable and inspiring for his professional career as a musician. Talking with Hendrix as an 18-year-old man for the iconic guitarist was an eye-opener. The singer added that when they were in the hotel, he had time to ask Hendrix about his exceptional guitar playing.

Then, Gibbons highlighted that Hendrix had a heavy hi-fi console player to play some records while resting in his room. The ZZ Top singer said that one of these records was Jeff Beck’s debut studio album, ‘Truth,’ released on July 29, 1968, and he introduced the most outstanding artists from his backing band, the Jeff Beck Group, Rod Stewart, and Ronnie Wood. Gibbons stated that Hendrix was mad about how good was Beck’s record, and like Beck, he tended to use blues elements in his works.

Gibbons said in his interview that:

“We toured with him in 1968. It was a real mind-bender and an eye-opener. As most now know, either consciously or subconsciously, Jimi Hendrix decided to invent things to do with a Fender Stratocaster that it had not necessarily been intended for. He did it very well, too. I was 18 at the time, and somehow the organizers saw fit to book us in the hotel room across the hall from his room. That was convenient to allow me to ask him the obvious question: ‘How do you do that?’

I remember that this was a long time before hotels had stereos in their rooms, and each day there would be the delivery of a rather heavy and cumbersome hi-fi console player that was the size of a small Buick. It was dutifully installed for Hendrix to be able to listen to his favorite discs.

The one I remember him playing the ass off was the first Jeff Beck Group album, ‘Truth.’ Hendrix was mad about it, totally OTT about Jeff’s playing. Oddly enough, Hendrix was all too willing and ready to include blues licks in his guitar offerings, which had fallen out of favor in the States with most black entertainers. I got to play on stage with him at the time, which is quite well documented, but it was what went on behind the scenes that captured the magic of the moment.”

You can listen to the album below.