Moving Sidewalks: 99th Floor (1967)

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Moving Sidewalks: 99th Floor (1967)

This psychedelic garagerock single -- inspired by fellow Texans the 13th Floor Elevators -- was written by Billy Gibbons in his maths class when he was about 16.

And yes, that's the same Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, which this band over time morphed into.

Gibbons (the clean shaven kid third from the left in the photo) grew up in a musical envireonment -- his dad was a keyboard player and aranger who had work in Hollywood and Las Vegas -- but young Billy heard the boogie blues which became Top's hallmark from the daughter of their black housemaid who introduced him to Little Richard, Jimmy Reed, T-Bone Walker and so on.

But of course the spirit of the age also swept him up, hence Moving Sidewalks (who also did a raw, Hendrix-influenced blues-fuzz version of I Want To Hold Your Hand) and this song which topped the charts in Houston for six weeks.

Moving Sidewalks had a significant following in Texas and Louisiana and they opened for the Doors in Houston. They also played on the same bill as Hendrix (who became one of Gibbons' friends) and it's said that Eric Clapton heard them rehearsing at the Catacombs club in Houston and walked over to shake Gibbons by the hand.

In 2013 Gibbons put together the original MS line-up for some gigs, including a headlining spot at the Austin Psych Fest.

But here they are in their young heyday. To paraphrase Alan Partridge about Wings and the Beatles: Moving Sidewalks, only the band ZZ Top could have been.

For more one-off, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults.

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