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This Week in Texas Music History: Frank Beard

by Stephen Becker 3 Jun 2011 3:23 PM

This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a musician who is finally living up to his name.


Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman meets a musician who is finally living up to his name.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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Frank Beard, drummer for the Texas blues-rock trio ZZ Top, was born June 11, 1949, in Houston. Guitarist Billy Gibbons formed ZZ Top in 1969 with Beard and bassist Dusty Hill. Their first big hit came in 1973 with “La Grange,” a tongue-in-cheek tribute to a Texas bordello known as the Chicken Ranch, which was later made famous in the Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.  ZZ Top, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, is also well-known for the long, grey beards worn by Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill. Ironically, Frank Beard had only a mustache for most of ZZ Top’s 41-year career, until he recently began sporting a goatee.