Afterburner (album)

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ZZ Top - Afterburner.jpg
Studio album by ZZ Top
Released October 28, 1985
Recorded 1985
Length 37:36
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Bill Ham
ZZ Top chronology
Six Pack

Afterburner is the ninth studio album by the American rock band ZZ Top, released in 1985. Afterburner was a financial success, going several times platinum and launching several hit singles, the most successful of which was "Sleeping Bag" which peaked at No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks and at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In the UK, it was the band's second album to be certified by the British Phonographic Industry, attaining Gold (100,000 units) in 1985. In 1990, it was certified Platinum (300,000 units), to date[when?] their final Platinum certification in the UK.

The song "Can't Stop Rockin'" was used in the 1993 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. The song "Velcro Fly" was an element in Stephen King's The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands; Eddie keeps hearing drums playing in the distance and thinks it sounds like, then later realizes it is, the drum track for "Velcro Fly".


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B[2]
Rolling Stone unfavorable [3]
Q Magazine 3/5 stars[4]
Kerrang! 4/5 stars [5]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic gave it 3 stars out of 5, stating: "Well, if you just had your biggest hit ever, you'd probably try to replicate it, too. And if you were praised for being visionary because you played all your blues grooves to a slightly sequenced beat, you'd probably be tempted to not just continue in that direction, but to tighten the sequencer and graft on synthesizers, since it'll all signal how futuristic you are. [...] Problem is, no matter how much you dress ZZ Top up, they're still ZZ Top. Sometimes they can trick you into thinking they're a little flashier than usual, but they're still a lil' ol' blues band from Texas, kicking out blues-rockers. And blues-rock just doesn't kick when it's synthesized. [...] All this means that Afterburner is merely a product of its time -- the only record ZZ Top could have made at the time, but it hardly exists out of that time."

Robert Christgau gave a B score, stating: "With sales on Eliminator over five mil almost by accident, this hard-boogieing market strategy is defined by conscious commercial ambition--by its all but announced intention of making ZZ the next Bruce/Madonna/Prince/Michael, with two beards and a Beard at every checkout counter." And stated that "Rough Boy" and "Velcro Fly" were among the highlights of the album.

The album was the band's first to hit number 1, topping the charts in New Zealand. It peaked at number 4 on the Billboard 200, at number 2 on the UK Albums Chart, and at number 6 on the Australian albums chart.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard.

  1. "Sleeping Bag" – 4:03
  2. "Stages" – 3:32
  3. "Woke Up with Wood" – 3:45
  4. "Rough Boy" – 4:50
  5. "Can't Stop Rockin'" – 3:02
  6. "Planet of Women" – 4:09
  7. "I Got the Message" – 3:27
  8. "Velcro Fly" – 3:29
  9. "Dipping Low (In the Lap of Luxury)" – 3:11
  10. "Delirious" – 3:41




Album – Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1985 The Billboard 200 4

Singles – Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1985 "Can't Stop Rockin'" Mainstream Rock Tracks 8
1985 "Sleeping Bag" Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
1985 "Sleeping Bag" The Billboard Hot 100 8
1985 "Stages" Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
1986 "Delirious" Mainstream Rock Tracks 16
1986 "Rough Boy" Mainstream Rock Tracks 5
1986 "Rough Boy" The Billboard Hot 100 22
1986 "Sleeping Bag" Hot Dance Music/Club Play 41
1986 "Stages" The Billboard Hot 100 21
1986 "Velcro Fly" Hot Dance Music/Club Play 43
1986 "Velcro Fly" Mainstream Rock Tracks 15
1986 "Velcro Fly" The Billboard Hot 100 35
1986 "Woke Up with Wood" Mainstream Rock Tracks 18


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "ZZ Top Afterburner review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide Reviews: Afterburner". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "ZZ Top Afterburner review". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 28 November 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "ZZ Top Afterburner review". Q. Bauer Media Group. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011. [dead link]
  5. ^ Wall, Mick (14 November 1985). "ZZ Top 'Afterburner'". Kerrang!. 107. London, UK: Morgan Grampian. pp. 23–24. 
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.