Billy Gibbons’ catalog is filled with dreamy collabs. Yet, unfortunately, when a once-in-a-lifetime offer arrived from none other than Jeff Beck, poor old Billy wasn’t able to take on it. The guitarist recently chatted with Classic Rock to guide you into ZZ Top’s discography. As he was discussing 1999’s ‘XXX,’ Gibbons recalled missed opportunities to work with B.B. King along with Beck.
So, before we get into Billy missing his chance to work with Beck and King, we should probably let you know that when Gibbons called up Jeff and invited the guitarist to take place in ‘XXX,’ Jeff was down for the collab, and that was how the song ‘Hey, Mr. Millionaire,’ featuring Jeff’s vocals in the chorus, was born.
“It was like, ‘Okay, this feels good,’” recalled Gibbons as he discussed the making process of ‘XXX.’ “We can still be a blues band, and we can stand as a trio. It’s just gonna require a little extra practice before we walk into the studio. And, of course, Jeff Beck sings in conjunction with me on the chorus of a song called ‘Hey, Mr. Millionaire.’”
The musician continued by recalling how Beck had asked him to return the favor, but scheduling conflicts would be in the way. Gibbons added, “The invitation arrived to sing on his record, but unfortunately, I was way off in Europe and unable to make his deadline. I called him from overseas, and he said he was out with B.B. King, and I was cringing that we were not able to see one of the greatest combinations shows ever.”
ZZ Top guitarist expresses how much he admires B.B. King at every opportunity. So, missing that big chance to work with two rock legends was undoubtedly hurtful for Gibbons. Still, Jeff Beck’s offer indeed honored him even though it didn’t fit his schedule at the time.