What Bonds A ZZ Top Song, Texas Travels & Mexican Radio Stations?
ZZ Top wrote one of their biggest hits about radio stations they heard while roaming around Texas in the '60's.
Back in their early days, that "little 'ol band from Texas" were typical, young and aspiring musicians anxious to hear the music they loved.
At this point, circa early-mid '60's, record stores weren't easily accessible ... especially in small towns ... the internet was FAR from being developed and radio was not at all like it is today.
Back then, radio was highly conservative and stations stuck to rigid guidelines. News, variety shows and music dominated AM radio and station owners were very selective about what aired.
Much of the language and topics sung/talked about today would have gotten the station fined, the DJ fired and the band, "banned" back then. FM radio stations and the "looser" programming strategies that would develop along with them were still a few years away.
In the USA, publicly/privately owned radio stations all begin with "K" or "W" while radio stations in Mexico begin with "X".
In those days, the "X" radio stations were MUCH more open to content. If you bought a block of air-time, you could do whatever the hell you wanted to with it.
Preachers really capitalized on this as did those with the vision to see where it could take music, Wolfman Jack being a prime example. Looking beyond country or religious music, DJ's like him played other genres like blues and the fledgeling "rock 'n roll".
ZZ Top would eventually write a song about those "X" stations, titled "Heard It On The X" which would ... on down the line ... actually be played "on the X". Guitarist Billy Gibbons credited an "X" station in Juarez ... that would be XEROK, aka X-rock 80 to be Xact .... as being one of those who played it.
Here's ZZ, cranking it out back in the day ...