Friday, August 24, 2018

"Sleeping Bag" by ZZ Top

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2506
Date:  10/19/1985
Debut:  49
Peak:  8
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Blues-Rock

Pop Bits:  After seven albums of Texas blues rock, five of which went gold, this trio broke through to the mainstream with their eighth album Eliminator. Boosted by a series of popular MTV videos and their first Top 10 hit, the #8 "Legs," the band was at an all-time high. To follow up that massive success, the band went back in the studio with their long-time producer Bill Ham and knocked out Afterburner. This first single would easily find its way to the top of the Rock chart while becoming the band's second Pop Top 10. The hit would help the album reach #4, which would be their best showing on the chart. However, in the long run Eliminator would sell over 10 million copies while Afterburner would sell half as much at 5 million.

ReduxReview:  ZZ Top hit on a winning formula with Eliminator by pushing their blues rock into the 80s with groovy synths. For the new album, they continued down the same path and even added a few more synth textures along the way. It seemed folks were still buy what they were selling and sent this track into the Top 10. Another heavily played MTV video didn't hurt either. For me, this was just a retread of "Legs" and I didn't find it all that interesting. I certainly can't blame them for sticking with what made them hugely successful. It was the right move to make at the time. However, I quickly got tired of that signature sound.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The cover of Afterburner had artwork that featured the now-famous Eliminator car, but this time around it was portrayed as more of an outer space vehicle. The video for this song featured the original Eliminator as their previous ones did, but in this storyline the car ends up getting destroyed in a fight with a couple of bulldozers and is laid to rest. Yet the crafty ZZ Top guys bring the car back to life but this time as a futuristic flying machine and the guys ride it off into the sunset. The space traveling Eliminator reappears in the video for the album's third single, "Rough Boy."


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