Ethereal collaborations abound throughout Billy Gibbons’ discography. But regrettably, poor old Billy was unable to accept a once-in-a-lifetime offer from none other than Jeff Beck. Recently, the guitarist spoke with Classic Rock to help introduce you to ZZ Top’s discography. Discussing 1999’s “XXX,” Gibbons thought back on wasted possibilities to collaborate with B.B. King and Beck together.
Before we talk about how Billy missed the opportunity to collaborate with Beck and King, we must probably note that when Gibbons called Jeff and asked him to join ‘XXX,’ Jeff signed on to work with him. As a result, the tune ‘Hey, Mr. Millionaire,’ which includes Jeff’s vocals in the chorus, was created.
“It was like, ‘Okay, this feels good,’” recounted Gibbons as he spoke about the creation 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 performer continued by recounting how Beck had requested him to repay the gesture, but it would be impossible due to schedule issues:
“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.”
The guitarist for ZZ Top confesses his admiration for B.B. King at every chance. Gibbons was obviously disappointed to have missed the opportunity to collaborate with two rock icons. Even if Jeff Beck’s offer didn’t work with his schedule at the moment, it nevertheless respected him.