Distinguished by their gritty blues-rock sound and iconic beards, ZZ Top carved a unique niche in the music industry. Their blend of Texas blues, hard rock, and a dash of humor has left a lasting impact, influencing many bands over the years.
If you’re a fan of ZZ Top’s distinctive style, you’ll be thrilled to know that their legacy lives on in other artists who have adopted a similar sound. In this article, we delve into the world of blues-rock to bring you 13 incredible bands like ZZ Top. Let’s get started.
1. Lynyrd Skynyrd
Formed in 1964 in Jacksonville, Florida, Lynyrd Skynyrd became an emblem of southern rock. Their path to stardom was marked by a decade of dedication, culminating in their breakthrough with “Free Bird” from their 1973 debut album.
The following year, their hit “Sweet Home Alabama” cemented their place in rock history. Known for electrifying live performances, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s journey was tragically interrupted by a plane crash in 1977, which claimed the lives of three band members.
Despite this devastating event, the band continued their musical journey, creating over 20 albums and earning a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Their legacy of resilience and southern-rooted music continues to inspire musicians and fans alike.
2. Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble
Hailing from the lively music scene of Austin, Texas, in the late 1970s, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble reinvigorated blues and rock. Led by Vaughan’s exceptional guitar skills and soulful voice, they achieved national fame with their debut album, Texas Flood.
Despite Vaughan’s battles with substance abuse, he used his experiences to fuel his music, especially evident in their final album, In Step. Tragically, Vaughan’s life ended in a helicopter crash in 1990, but his legacy lives on.
In 2015, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, cementing their impact on music. Their authenticity continues to inspire listeners worldwide, underlining the enduring spirit of the blues, just like ZZ Top.
3. George Thorogood And The Destroyers
Known for their energetic rock and roll soundscape, George Thorogood and The Destroyers is a blues-rock band that has been thrilling audiences for over half a century. Formed in Delaware by George Thorogood, the band has a massive fan base.
Their self-titled debut in 1977 introduced listeners to their mix of blues and boogie rock. The band’s popularity skyrocketed with the release of their hit song “Bad to the Bone” in 1982, which was featured on the album of the same name.
Over the years, The Destroyers have released more than 20 albums, many of which have been certified Platinum. The above-mentioned song, as well as “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” and “Who Do You Love?” continue to be popular, amassing hundreds of millions of streams, proving the band’s lasting appeal.
4. The Black Crowes
Next up is The Black Crowes, a renowned rock band formed in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1984. Their blend of blues, hard rock, and southern rock is similar to ZZ Top.
In a career spotted with breaks and reformations, they’ve released eight studio albums and four live albums. The band’s most popular hits include “Hard to Handle,” “She Talks to Angels,” and “Remedy.”
The Black Crowes have also been praised for their lively performances, with concerts lined up in various cities in 2023, including St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
Recently, guitarist Rich Robinson was featured in a Guitar World article discussing his musical influences. Today, The Black Crowes continue to captivate audiences worldwide.
5. The Allman Brothers Band
One of the most famous southern rock bands and a great example of a band like ZZ Top is The Allman Brothers Band. Formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1969 the band had enchanted listeners with their sound—a blend of blues, jazz, and country.
The band’s breakthrough came with their live album, At Fillmore East. Released in 1971, it was hailed as one of the best live albums ever produced. Fan-favorite singles include “Blue Sky,” “Crazy Love,” and “Ramblin’ Man.”
Their extensive work—12 studio albums, 16 live albums, 18 compilations, and 21 singles—and strong influence earned them a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
6. Creedence Clearwater Revival
Our next band was formed in 1959 under another name. They became Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1967 and, like ZZ Top, achieved fame with their rock, blues, and roots sound.
After debuting with an eponymous album in 1968, CCR had their breakthrough with the release of Bayou Country in 1969. It featured the hit single “Proud Mary,” which landed at #2 on Billboard Hot 100.
CCR continued to produce successful albums like Green River, Willy and the Poor Boys, and Cosmo’s Factory throughout its career.
In 1993, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, solidifying their lasting impact. Despite disbanding in 1972, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s music remains cherished and influential.
7. Humble Pie
Musicians Peter Frampton and Steve Marriott formed Humble Pie in 1969. This English music group was often regarded as one of the notable rock bands of their time.
The band gained recognition for their blues-rock sound and energetic performances, as well as notable albums such as As Safe As Yesterday Is and Smokin’ and hit singles like “Natural Born Bugie” and “For Your Love.”
Since their inception, Humble Pie has had several breaks and reformation, as well as lineup changes, yet they’ve retained a loyal fan base and created a lasting legacy. Today, the band is still active as Humble Pie Legacy, with a new lineup.
The rock band Foghat formed in London in 1971 and rose to fame with their unique use of electric slide guitar in their music. They specialized in a simple, hard-rocking blues-rock sound.
Audiences loved their work, which led to the band dropping several best-selling albums during the mid-’70s. Their notable works include albums like Energized and Rock and Roll Outlaws.
Much like the renowned band ZZ Top, Foghat shared similarities in their approach to music. Both embraced a blues-rock style dominated by powerful guitar riffs and memorable melodies. Both bands captured the essence of the genre, earning them loyal fans around the world.
9. Bad Company
Another English band echoing ZZ Top’s sound is Bad Company. Formed in 1973, this supergroup was made up of former members of Free, Mott the Hoople, and King Crimson: Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke, Mick Ralphs, and Boz Burrell, respectively.
Bad Company quickly rose to fame with their self-titled debut album, released in 1974. The Billboard 200-topping record featured the hits “Can’t Get Enough” and “Bad Company,” which became staples of classic rock radio. The two albums following their debut also landed in the top five of the same chart.
The band’s blues-infused hard-rock sound, paired with Rodgers’ soulful vocals, resonated with audiences then as well as now. Bad Company is still actively creating music for fans!
10. The Marshall Tucker Band
Southern rock group, The Marshall Tucker Band, originated from Spartanburg, South Carolina. The band’s music is described as country-leaning, blending rock, blues, jazz, and country influences.
One of The Marshall Tucker Band’s most famous songs is “Can’t You See,” which features lead vocalist Doug Gray’s soulful singing style backed by Toy Caldwell’s guitar work. In addition to “Can’t You See,” other fan favorites from the band are “Heard It in a Love Song” and “Fire on the Mountain.”
The Marshall Tucker Band remains a beloved part of the Southern rock canon alongside other legendary bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
11. Molly Hatchet
Based out of Jacksonville, Florida, Molly Hatchet quickly gained popularity with their fusion of loud, hard-rock boogie and Southern influences. The band’s sound features catchy guitar riffs and powerful vocals that are reminiscent of ZZ Top.
Formed in 1971, Molly Hatchet has been included in various top lists of Southern rock bands for their contributions to the genre. They remain highly regarded for singles like “Flirtin’ with Disaster,” “Gator Country,” “Whiskey Man,” and “Dreams I’ll Never See.”
While the band experienced popularity and commercial success, they have not received significant mainstream awards. Nevertheless, Molly Hatchet’s music has left a lasting impact on the rock music scene, and they continue to be celebrated by fans today.
Formed in London in 1968, Free made a significant impact on the music scene during their short but influential career. The band consisted of Paul Rodgers, Andy Fraser, Paul Kossoff, and Simon Kirke.
Known for their blues-infused rock sound reminiscent of ZZ Top, this band gained recognition with their signature song, “All Right Now,” released in 1970. The track became a major hit, landing at #2 and #4 on UK and US charts, respectively.
Unfortunately, internal issues and substance abuse problems took a toll on the band, leading to their breakup in 1973. Despite their disbandment, their music lives on, cherished by fans old and new.
13. The Fabulous Thunderbirds
When we speak of quintessential American blues bands, a great example would be The Fabulous Thunderbirds. This Texas-based group, formed in 1974, has been active for over 30 years and has since earned a reputation as one of the country’s top performers.
One of the most notable features of The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ sound is their use of electric guitar and harmonica, which bring energy to their bluesy melodies unlike any other. Like ZZ Top, their music draws influences from various genres such as rock, R&B, and soul.
Today, The Fabulous Thunderbirds continue to tour across America, with fans still packing venues eager for a chance to see them live.
Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like ZZ Top
The world of rock and blues is a vast landscape filled with incredible talents, and bands with a similar sound and style to ZZ Top have carved their own unique path.
We hope this article has been an enjoyable journey for you, dear readers, as you discovered new bands that resonate with your musical preferences. Whether it’s Lynyrd Skynyrd to The Fabulous Thunderbirds, we hope you’ve found new favorites to add to your playlist.
If there are any bands that we may have missed, please let us know so we can expand our list and continue sharing the joy of discovering exceptional music. Happy listening!