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ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons Remembers Rocking With Hendrix

09/28/2010
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More than 40 years after opening for Jimi Hendrix, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons distinctly remembers the "coolest" song the guitar legend played live.

"They did the coolest version of 'The Wind Cries Mary,' which still remains one of my favorites," Gibbons told Spinner.com. "One of the reasons was it was in an oddball key – the key of F. It's one fret up from the key of E, which is an easy key to play. The key of F is the most difficult to find your way. To make your fingers hit the strings in the key of F is just excruciating. But there's nothing like hearing a bass guitar hit a low F note, and Noel Redding… he'd hit that low F, and it would cause Jimi to crack up because it would just rattle him."

Before his was one-third of ZZ Top, Gibbons was in a band called Moving Sidewalks, which played on the same bills as Hendrix and The Doors. When opening for the latter, Gibbons met his future bandmates, Frank Beard and Dusty Hill. "I met them through Jimmy Vaughan, Stevie Ray's older brother," Gibbons said. "Jimmy and I were talking one afternoon. It's still this way today – there's something with musicians from Texas; there's a bond. There's this kind of unspoken, shared admiration for what everybody does. It's really cool. Jimmy introduced me to Frank, the drummer, and then Frank introduced me to Dusty, and we just kind of hit it off." - more on this story

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