ZZ Top – “Rough Boy” – 12″ Single

The same time I found the Bon Jovi Single from last week’s post, I found a UK Pressing on a 12″ Single for the song “Rough Boy” from ZZ Top. The song is off their 1985 album, ‘Afterburner’, and was the album’s third single. It went to #5 in the Album Rock Tracks chart and #22 on the Top 40. The UK single went to #23 on their charts.

The UK pressing is a 45 RPM single on 12″ Vinyl and contained a second A side song called “Delirious” off ‘Afterburner’ as well. Both versions are the LP version and not a special mix that I can tell. The B-Side, however, is a special version. It is for the song, “Legs”, off the ‘Eliminator’ album and is called the “Metal Mix”.

There is another UK Version of this single that comes with a poster, sadly, this is not that version. But I am okay with it as it is still a cool find for me and I love getting UK versions of releases.


“Rough Boy” is a power ballad and that is basically it. Okay, not really as it a little more than that. It is a lot of drum machine and that 80’s glam sound but it also has a killer solo by Billy Gibbons. It is the band ripping off themselves as the song sounds a lot like an earlier track of theirs called “Leila” from their ‘El Loco’ album from 1981. However, “Rough Boys” is a little more polished and overall better produced and written track. There is this slow build-up to the song and the payoff is that solo that makes it stand out as one of their best ballads they have every done. At least in my book. Now, I am not giving you the video as that is the single version, you are getting the LP version as that is what this song is on the Single.

The other A-Side track is “Delirious”. Another album version and no special mix which is okay as it is a decent deep cut on the album. “Delirious” is an uptempo rocker with almost a danceable groove. It has that 80’s sound full of rich, textured keyboards, hard driving percussion with that electronic drum sound and some blazing guitars. And they lyrics, well, let’s say they aren’t going to make you an Einstein, they are mindless dribble that is exactly what a lot of 80’s music was like. It was meant to be listened to for fun and to party and that pretty much sums up ZZ Top during this era.


The B-Side is the “Metal Mix” of “Legs” from the bands massively successful album ‘Eliminator’. The Metal Mix is almost 8 minutes long and honestly, doesn’t sound very metal in my opinion. It was remixed by Bill Ham who has remixed this song numerous times as a “Special Dance Mix” and a “Remix” to name a couple. It starts off with a lot of keyboard sound effects and little explosions before kicking in to the song that is more recognizable as what we know. It feels more like a dance mix than a metal mix. Metal mix to me means heavier drums, heavier guitars and a lot more rocking track than what we have here. I don’t have this version of the song, so for me this was the selling point of this single as if I needed a selling point, it is ZZ Top for goodness sakes that is enough of a selling point right there.

And that is it. Another cool single find that I had to have. I have become a little sucker for 7″ and 12″ records from the 80’s as we have been posting one a week for a very long time now and still more to go. I think it is the kid in me that wants to keep these things in a good home and that they aren’t left alone in the record shops not getting heard. At least now they will be well loved. Now, get ready for a 5 week set of 7″ singles from another 80’s powerhouse, Bon Jovi.

28 thoughts on “ZZ Top – “Rough Boy” – 12″ Single

  1. I love “Rough Boy”, which is one of my favorite songs by ZZ Top. I remember the video was played a lot back then on MTV & VH1. I also really liked “Sleeping Bag” & “Stages”, so bought “Afterburner”, which is the only album of theirs I ever owned.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always preferred 12″ singles to 7″, despite the waste of space. It’s nice to have the singles next to the studio albums and other stuff in an artist’s collection on my shelf. And yeah, that Legs remix definitely misses the “metal” mark.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think if you played this Metal Mix for metal fans it would confuse the hell out of them, and they’d spend the whole time wondering when it was gonna get past the joke on them. When they caught on, they’d nostalgia groove to it because ZZ Top, I mean, come on.

    Liked by 1 person

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