Billy Gibbons: My Life in 15 Songs

ZZ Top's guitarist on how the Stones, Devo and a backwoods cathouse inspired some supercharged Texas-blues classics

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"I Thank You" (1979)

I remember hearing the Sam and Dave single on the radio in Houston; I was turning the corner onto the Gulf Freeway, going to my grandmother's house. Shortly thereafter, we were off to Memphis to record. I got to the studio and said, "Man, I heard that Sam and Dave song. I'd forgotten how good it was. It's that keyboard part." Lo and behold, the very clavinet used on their recording was in the studio. We fired it up, and it was ready to go. There was no way we were going to do Sam and Dave exact. But if you're going to take a shot, make it a good one. That album was our first for Warner Bros., and they were doing such a good job. The song was our message — not only to the fans and friends but to the label guys.

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