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Eliminator
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Released on LP and Cassette in March 1983 on Warner Brothers, the blues boogie of "Eliminator" was an absolute phenomenon for the Texas trio ZZ Top.

They'd been bubbling under for years - "La Grange" in 1973, "Tush" in 1975 - and a minor hit with "I Thank You" in 1980. But none of it even remotely indicated what would happen in 1983 and 1984. "Eliminator" - one of the best boogie albums ever made - changed everything for them and us - it was little short of absolute global domination.

It was a combination of things - the umpteen tracks that were all single/radio friendly hits, the emergence of rotation MTV, the videos with leggy sexy babes - the fabulous 1933 coupe car - the ZZ TOP keyring flying through the air to the hapless buck trying to be a 'sharp dressed man' - the image of dusty dudes with beards - all of it combined in one heady mix to produce domestic sales in the USA topping 10 million with the same number estimated for the rest of the world. And if you take into account second-hand sales since that heady time 25 years ago and an early issue on CD, you're looking at a "Rumours", a "Purple Rain" and a "Thriller". This September 2008 (delayed release) has it good points and bad though...

Here's the layout first:

Disc 1 (78:27 minutes)
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album REMASTERED in its entirety with the original lengthier mix of "Legs" at 4:34 minutes re-instated for the first time (it was replaced after initial pressings by the shorter single mix of 3:37 minutes)
Tracks 12 to 18 are bonus tracks; 12 is the single mix of "Legs"; 13 to 17 are 5 previously unreleased live tracks (13, 14, 16 and 17 recorded at Castle Donington Festival in Leicestershire in England, while 15 was recorded at The Marquee Club in London - no dates supplied)
Track 18 is the 12" "Dance Mix" of "Legs"

The remastering of the album is FANTASTIC - muscular, in your living room, detailed - all that it should have been these last two and half decades. I've waited years to hear "I Need You Tonight" in this sound quality and it was worth it. But the really bad news is the audio bonus tracks, which are a huge letdown. The live versions have what is laughably called `audio restoration' on them - they sound like rubbish bootleg recordings - someone standing in a field with a microphone held up (Donnington was exactly that - a vast field). The truly awful extended mix of "Legs" was on the box set anyway - unlistenable then and the same now. Worse - there are single edits of "Gimme All Your Lovin" and "Sharp Dressed Man", but maddeningly they're not included here - they should have been - it would have been far more appropriate to a supposed `collector's edition'. Also there's nothing new worth hearing - no outtakes, alternatives, no demos, no new songs - nothing. Really disappointing stuff I'm afraid. The album is great, but the supposed bonuses are awful.

Things fare better on the 2nd disc, an 8-track DVD. First up are the 4 famous videos that broke the album with a worldwide TV audience and their inclusion on this `special edition' is only right and proper - they were such an integral part of the "Eliminator" experience. The prints are clean, but unfortunately blurry in that cheap 1980s kind of a way. They're fun to re-watch, but not much more than that. Things get considerably better with tracks 5 to 8, which are professionally filmed studio performances. They were recorded live in front of a studio audience on 17 November 1983 for one the UK's popular pop programs of the time - "The Tube". The sound and visuals are great and while the vocals are live, I'm fairly sure some tweaking has been done to beef up the sound. Whatever way you look at it - this is primo ZZ TOP and makes up somewhat for the disappointing crap that is tail-ending the Audio CD. Fans will really enjoy these.

The packaging isn't great either - a gatefold digipak with a 20-page booklet. The layers under the see-through trays have no photos of singles - outtakes - they're blank - pretty crappy really. The car's pictured a couple of times, lyrics reproduced, a basic essay on the album - but no real event feel to it - no live shots - no interesting formats pictured - fan stuff left out - it's basic really, when it could have been so much better.

In truth, you'd have to say that if Rhino had just issued the remaster of the album with the single edits and the 12" mix added on at the end - then that would have been so much better. As it is, you're being asked to spend £13 to £16 on a package that smacks of laziness and greed - and worse - leaves you with a bad taste in the mouth - an underwhelming experience that should have been a real celebration of a really great album...

To sum up - fantastic remaster of the album, good stuff on the DVD, but docked a star for the rubbish filler at the end of Disc 1.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
"Eliminator" introduced the world to one of rock's most unique sounds from one of rock's most unique bands, ZZ Top. Past albums like "Tres Hombres" or "Deguello" had firmly established the band as a major draw, but it was with this 1983 album that the band first used an appealing blend of technology that was perfectly topped onto their trademark R&B/Delta blues roots.
The vocals and bass of Dusty Hill are as rough as the Texas sand, matched only by that of Billy Gibbons (who was a favorite guitarist of Jimi Hendrix), backboned by Frank Beard's disciplined drumming. All of this makes for a tightly wound musicianship that never suffers from "Eliminator"'s synthesized element. The album spawned several hits, notably 'Legs,' 'Sharp Dressed Man,' and 'Gimme All Your Lovin'. 'Got Me Under Pressure' is just as legendary, being an enduring ZZ Top favorite. The one-of-a-kind 'Thug' meanwhile is a darker tale, and features an incredinbly funky bass texture, while the likes of 'TV Dinners' and the incredibly eye-roll inducing 'I Got the Six' are somewhat less serious, but just as memorable. 'I Need You Tonight' however is surprisingly sympathetic and features some of Gibbons' best guitar work.
Although "Eliminator" became one the 80s most recognizable efforts, it finally gave ZZ Top the worldwide success they'd deserved since the early 70s. It is very much a male-ego album, containing the brilliant arrogance and flashiness that made ZZ Top so great in the first place.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Eliminator(1983). ZZ Top's Ninth Album.

In 1983, ZZ Top was beginning to slide back into mainstream popularity, as their previous albums, 'Deguello' and 'Tejas', had both gone platinum. When 'Eliminator' arrived, the album instantly rocketed to the top of the charts, thanks to the massively popular music videos "Legs" and "Sharp Dressed Man". Thanks to MTV, 'Eliminator' became ZZ Top's best-selling album, and it remains a rock classic to this day. To this day, "Gimme All Your Lovin", "Got Me Under Pressure", "Sharp Dressed Man", "I Need You Tonight", and "Legs" are all rotated constantly on the radio. So, do I think this album lives up to the hype? Read on to find out!

After 'Eliminator', ZZ Top became less and less of a rock band and more of a pop band, but here they managed to create the perfect balance. ZZ Top made an album that still retained the bluesy, gritty rock sound that they're known for, but managed to appeal to almost everybody. ZZ Top is a very percussive band, and Frank Beard's drumming is truly amazing here. On almost every song, I found myself tapping my feet to the beat... truly, he did an amazing job here. Billy Gibbons guitar work here is spectacular! He can make catchy power chords one second, and rip out a bluesy solo the next. He truly is a great rock n' roll guitarist.

From the dirty, boozy rock of "Gimme All Your Lovin" and "Legs" to the blues of "I Got The Six" and "TV Dinners", ZZ Top kept me interested. While all the hits are instant classics, "Sharp Dressed Man" is the absolute best ZZ Top song, basically defining and rewriting the definition of "cool". "I Need You Tonight" is ZZ Top's strongest ballad, a percussive, guitar-laden classic that never gets boring, unlike some of their later material. "Legs" is the most identifiable song on 'Eliminator', a song that would be the beginning of ZZ Top blending synthesizers more and more into their music, but still stands out as one of their best. "Got Me Under Pressure" is sort of a dark view of peer pressure that contains some of Billy Gibbons' best guitar work. While the later half of the album is not nearly as good as the first half, it still can hold it's own. "Thug" is a very smooth, cool song that has some funky slap bass and great drumming. "TV Dinners" is a rather repetitive blues song, but Gibbons' guitar work is very inspired here. "Dirty Dog", "If I Could Only Flag Her Down", and "Bad Girl" are all bluesy rockers that any ZZ Top fan can identify with.

What's to say? 'Eliminator' is one of those albums that never gets old. The first half of this album is flawless, a perfect example of what blues-rock should sound like. ZZ Top would never be this good again, and 'Eliminator' remains a very powerful album to this day. Although maybe not my favorite ZZ Top album, it's hard to say it's not. A very well-produced and cohesive record, the band sounds fantastic and the songwriting is clever and imaginative. Please, don't claim you have a complete classic rock album unless you have this classic.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO FANS OF ZZ TOP, BLUES, ROCK, AND 80'S MUSIC! ZZ TOPS' LAST GREAT ALBUM... DON'T MISS IT!

Also Recommended-

Deguello- ZZ Top

Led Zeppelin II- Led Zeppelin

Aerosmith- Aerosmith

Thanks For Reading!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
ZZ Top's sudden MTV omnipresence and massive popularity that followed the 1983 release of "Eliminator" may have jarred long time fans of the little ol' band from Texas, but the truth is that the album is also one of their best. The hits may have been inescapble on video and the radio at the time, but "Gimmie All Your Lovin'," "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs" are perfect pop rock gems that still hold up two decades later. Other standout cuts are the harder rocking "Got Me Under Pressure," another MTV goof "TV Dinners," and one of their better slower songs in "I Need You Tonight." The rest is certainly filler material, but holds up well enough.
Overall, a huge commercial and artistic success that marked the high point of the Top's long career.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Z Z Top / Eliminator: This is phase two for the band. Gone is the bar band feel, and in comes the slick production. This is not entirely bad news. While the old band may be missed, this new sound is pretty damn good. In fact, Z Z Top in the 1980's was one of the joys of the decade. This is no trick album, this is solid rock N roll and it deserves all the attention it received. This is a Five Star album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
ZZ Top's 1983 MTV classic 'Eliminator' brought a change of scenary for the band. Gone are the days of the "Texas tornado blues effect." This album is driven by the synthesizer work of Dusty Hill, who plays the synthsizers (uncredited), and does a pretty good job with it too.

After hearing 1981's 'El Loco,' I kind of figured ZZ Top was heading this way. And that's not a bad thing, either. While this isn't one of my all time favorite albums from them, it's still pretty awesome.

While I loved 'Sharp Dressed Man' and Hill's funky bass playing on 'Thug,' the real highlight to me on this album is 'I Need You Tonight,' a bluesy jam with no synths and no drum machines. Just Gibbons, Hill and Beard jamming. It could have easily been a hit on the 'Deguello' or 'Tejas' record.

'Legs' was a crucial MTV hit for the band; the video was extremely popular. 'Gimme All Your Lovin' was also a big single for the band, and achieved commercial success.

Another one of my all time favorite ZZ Top songs is 'Got Me Under Pressure.' It's one of their best songs, and definitely the second best song here (besides 'I Need You Tonight').

While I'll be the first to tell you that if I had the choice between 1981-1990 ZZ Top or the 1971-1980 ZZ Top, I pick '71-'80 every time. But, I really do enjoy 'Eliminator,' and it's much better than 'Afterburner' and 'Recycler.'

Now that I've talked about the album, let's move forward into the remastering and the "collector's edition" bonus disc:

-The sound quality is superb! Compare this to the original '90s Warner Bros. CD edition of this and you'll be stunned. There is no comparison, this is hands down the version to own.

-The DVD is awesome! Great music videos, although why is 'Tube Snake Boogie' on 'Eliminator' even though that appeared on 'El Loco'? I do question Warner Bros. move to include that here. It's almost like adding 'Sharp Dressed Man' as a bonus track on 'ZZ Top's First Album' from 1971.

Now, here are a couple of side comments that do not relate to the album or reissue, but are questions that I would like to know?

It's nice to see Warner Bros. reissuing the 1983 classic 'Eliminator,' but where the heck are the reissued versions of 'Tejas' and 'El Loco,' from 1976 and 1981, respectively? If you are gonna remaster 'Eliminator,' at least remaster those! Unlike some ZZ Top fans, the drum machines/filtered drums don't bother me, but since 'Eliminator,' 'Fandango!,' 'Rio Grande Mud,' 'ZZ Top's First Album' and 'Tres Hombres' have been remastered, why not reissue the other two albums? It's only logical!

Overall, if you don't own 'Eliminator' and you want to get it, hands down, buy the collector's edition. The bonus DVD and the exceptional remastering job make it worth the entire price of admission.

Highly recommended for any ZZ Top fan. The music is five stars, and so is the music. ZZ Top are the greatest band to come out of Texas, and anything less than five stars is criminal in my books. Closing statement: REISSUE 'EL LOCO' AND 'TEJAS' ALREADY!!!

ENJOY!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Eliminator is one of my favourite albums. It works on several different levels, and it works well. On the surface it is a great collection of catchy pop songs. I can dance to them, hum them, play air guitar to them, shave to them, paint the ceiling to them etc. There isn't a boring song on the record, and the album isn't too long. It doesn't cost too much and the cover looks nice. I can hold it up in front of my face, and pretend that I am a car. Eliminator also works as a coherent whole. The music is uniform, but instead of being repetitive and dull, the album instead feels like an excellent half-hour composition divided into movements.

On another level, Eliminator is a thinky album. It's a writey album. I like to ponder it, it sets my mind in motion. Eliminator is a clever scientific musical experiment. It was a conscious attempt to change ZZ Top's style, to make the band more contemporary, and it was an enormous success, on both an artistic and a commercial level. I'm sure that old-time fans of the group might have been upset at the disco rhythms, but only the most uptight square could fail to be moved by "Gimme All Your Lovin'" or "Sharp Dressed Man". I imagine that kids in 1983 might have thought that ZZ Top was a brand-new band, a modern boogie group with a clever retro style, and videos with hot women in them. You know, like Robert Palmer. He made records in the 1970s, but when he did that video for "Addicted to Love" in 1985, an entire new generation assumed that he had just come from nowhere, with a bevy of hot women. Did I mention hot women? Robert Palmer had hot women, and ZZ Top also had hot women. I know this because I have just checked on the Youtube. ZZ Top's women are not as hot as Robert Palmer's women, although it has to be said that any woman would look hot when stood next to ZZ Top. Perhaps that was ZZ Top's way of attracting women. Robert Palmer, on the other hand, did not have to do anything special to attract women, in fact he had to shoo them away, they pestered him so much that he moved to Switzerland, and died young. But I digress.

With Eliminator, ZZ Top did something that Genesis and The Rolling Stones and Jefferson Airplane and The Who and Paul McCartney failed to do, they moved with the times without trashing their reputation. Of the band's contemporaries, I can only think of Yes having achieved the same feat, although that was done by essentially ditching all that was Yes about Yes except for the vocals.

So, as a musical experiment, Eliminator works brilliantly. I cannot think of another album that combines disco and guitar rock and synth-pop so well without sounding awful. It's a deceptively simple record as well. The drums are basically straightforward four-to-the-floor pulse beat, all the way throughout every song, a mixture of drum machine and real live human drummer. Ordinarily this unvarying drum style would be monotonous, and in a way it *is* monotonous, but it's monotonous in a good way, hypnotic rather than boring. The twin guitar lines are often very complex, but they are mixed so that they become a backdrop. The synths are generally tasteful, restricted to pulse-bass and a few swooshy pads. The vocals have a distant, unemotional quality that sounds cool rather than affected. The songs are classically structured rock tunes, none of them have a rapping bit.

On a further level, and perhaps this is unintentional, Eliminator has a timeless quality. It's a period piece, but it has dated well. There's nothing offensive about the overall sound. The music is classical. The dual-guitar playing is technically impressive and the guitar tone is still awesome, although subdued. The lyrics are generally dumb beyond parody, with sexual metaphors that would make Roy "Chubby" Brown feel uncomfortable, but that just adds to the charm. ZZ Top were real men, you see, from an era that did not value manly manliness. Nowadays they come across as endearingly retro and harmless. Eliminator has dated much, much better than "Afterburner", the band's next album, which came out in 1985. Afterburner really does sound like a mid-80s record, with fake drums and fake guitars that could have come out of an arcade machine. They're both cheesy records, in the sense that you couldn't take them to a posh dinner party without people laughing at you and mocking you and deriding your taste, but Eliminator is likeably cheesy whereas Afterburner is just an anonymous mid-80s synth rock record.

In its day, Eliminator was a big popular success, although the critics thought it was just another modern pop-rock record. Today it is grudgingly respected as a classic of the period, but I believe it deserves more. There are few albums that entertain me all the way through, that I can listen to in one sitting without being bored. Kraftwerk's "Computer World" is one. This is another. It's the musical equivalent of one of those films that you can just sit and watch; Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Where Eagles Dare etc. It's easy to overlook that kind of entertainment, but it's precious and rare and should be cherished. I would love it if Eliminator goes into the time capsule.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I own this in LP. But I had heard on the radio before buying it, this was their first hard rock recording. And between the radio and MTV, I had heard enough of the songs from this album. I admit. I was impressed by how they did this. It separates the professionals from the amateurs. I will cover why.
One thing I like about this recording is, it was so little of a transition hardly anyone who had not heard this was a hard rock recording would not know it. They made little change in their style of music in this recording. But it was enough to classify as hard rock. I had heard earlier recordings of theirs. One is Tres Hombres. It was to be one of their last regular rock recordings for a while.
The guitars were a little deeper and heavier. They slowed down the tempo just enough. The drums had a harder beat. It was in all their songs in this recording.
I noticed why they only made a gradual transition. One was to keep their regular rock fans. The other was to pick up new hard rock fans. And they did succeed in both areas.
Of course, I noticed their next hard rock recording that came out in 1985, Afterburner, got a little harder yet. I liked their gradual approach. There is a reason.
There have been other regular rock groups who changed too rapidly into either hard or metal rock. They did not last.
Others chose not to change. And they faded as well. One is Pat Benatar. It was at an era when regular rock was fading. And hard and metal rock were on the rise. ZZ Top knew they had to change or fade out. And they knew to change gradually. Or they would risk losing their then current fans. And they would not be able to pick up hard rock fans. This is what separates the professionals from the amateurs.
All I can say is to buy this CD from this site. Listen closely to their style. You will see as I have why they survived while others died. And they are still going strong. It is a momento in the 1980's history of rock 'n roll. It is well worth the investment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Some people like slick, some like gritty. Some like their music to have a polished studio sound, others an organic natural grunge. I happen to like both and this ZZ Top title satisfies my ears and mind just right ! Hardcore ZZ Top fans have bashed this album for its early MTV pop appeal and others who grew up glued to MTV love it. I am in neither category but am able to appreciate and enjoy Eliminator just the same after all these years. Yes, it's electronically slick. Yet, that ZZ Top trademark sound of blues/rock is unmistakeable and easily identifiable despite the "studio-electricity" flowing through it (yes, I have heard some of their earlier works as well). Eliminator had it's own unique individual and distinctive electric guitar and bass, drum driven sound that no other pop-rock bands or new wave groups of the time possessed or dared to even come close to !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I'm not writing this review to comment on the album. You probably already know about Eliminator and nothing I can tell you will change your opinion or add anything substantial. The reason I bought this was because as is the case with a lot of CDs released in the mid/late 80s, the mastering on the original CD release was terrible. If you have a decent stereo and speakers, it sounded bad...no bass, shrill treble...blah. I have to say that I'm very happy with the mastering on this release. "Gimme All Your Lovin" starts out with the thumping bass you'd expect. "Thug" is phenomenal. The rest of the tracks are much, much better than the original. Granted they don't sound like recently recorded music that is correctly mixed and mastered, but it isn't bad. The live tracks don't sound great, but that is kind of to be expected considering when and how they were recorded.
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