- Classicbands Dot Com quoted an ex ZZ Top employee: "According to David Blayney in his book ​Sharp Dressed Men, sound engineer Linden Hudson co-wrote much of the material on the ZZ TOP Eliminator album." (end quote)

    Now, here's the totally messed up part of the story: Linden never received writers credits, and Billy Gibbons (and his management) did not opt to pay Linden royalties for his huge contribution to ZZ Top's most successful album. Was this just another story of greed? Again, we quote David Blayney (ex ZZ Top stage manager of 15 years) from his book:"I find it hard believe that the boys intentionally set out to do a number on Linden, but sometimes you tend to forget where you came from. It's easy to get both greedy and self-serving in show bidness."  (end quote)
     The situation was especially aggravated by the fact that Linden had done so much more than just co-write the material. The Eliminator  album was ZZ Top's biggest selling album (by far). This incredibly famous record album went on to be one of the biggest musical releases of all time, in fact it's sales in the USA alone were rated as Diamond status. Diamond status for a record album starts at ten times Platinum (that's huge). As for Linden's involvement with the entire Eliminator album project, here's another quote from David Blayney's book: "Linden Hudson in a fair world should have had his name all over Eliminator and gotten the just compensation he deserved. Instead he got ostracized." (end quote)

- Eliminator official sales in various countries: US= Diamond, Canada= Diamond, UK= 4x Platinum, Finland= Platinum, Germany= 3x Gold, France= 2x Platinum, Austria= Gold. Actual total sales for Eliminator are stated by many sources as between 20 and 27 million.

     Besides the co-writing revelations, Linden outright owned the copyright to the song Thug  which appeard on the Eliminator album. This seemed to be solid legal footing for that particular song. So Linden began his uphill struggle by sueing ZZ Top for that song (it sounds easy, but it's not). It seemed like a good place to start. After Linden's lawsuit for the song Thug became public, and after it was shown that Linden owned an actual, registered USA copyright to the song, ZZ Top was no long able to deny that Linden wrote it. It was also harder for them to deny that Linden had been generally involved in the entire Eliminator project. The famous band was beginning to have a hard time explaining what they had done to their friend Linden Hudson.
     Rolling Stone Magazine published an article about Linden and his Thug  lawsuit (April 1985 issue) in which there was a quote from a member of ZZ Top's management (JW Williams), he  said: "It's an unfortunate situation, here's a guy (Linden) who was a friend. It's hard to explain... "  (end quote)
     So, as you can see, the band's management found itself in the position of having to say "it's hard to explain" to none other than Rolling Stone Magazine. And, the band's spokesperson got it right when he used the word "unfortunate". ZZ Top continued to deny the facts of Linden Hudson's larger involvement in the entire Eliminator project (forever). Linden Hudson's treatment in these matters left him speechless (to say the least). And, the fact that ZZ Top management had called Linden a "friend" after the way they treated him was bizarre (tragic, absurd, and for sure it was really fucked up). Revelations of Linden's highly believable creative involvement in the stellar Eliminator album project were, apparently, in some strange way, an embarrassment to ZZ Top band and management. It became clear over time that the band never intended to give Linden proper credit or financial reward for his important contributions to the Eliminator album. In fact, their posture towards Linden was hostile (as well as inhumane). 

Teeny Tiny News Flash - On June 3, 2013 Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top's guitarist) began to break the silence about Linden Hudson's involvement with ZZ Top in an interview with MusicRadar Dot Com. Billy didn't address the whole issue (he's quite possible embarrassed and/or fearful of all the ramifications), but he took some baby steps. It's just a flash in the pan, a teeny gesture (very teeny). It must have been tough for Billy to admit to anything (life is hard when you have millions in the bank. And, it's just about 30 friggin years too late. Keep working at it Billy. You've got lots of work to do on the "people" thing. Linden is 68 years old now. Most anything that the great Billy F Gibbons admits to is far to little and far too late.)

     Please read the many article and book excerpts listed on this site, all written by reputable and even famous writers (writers from Rolling Stone, Times of London, The Houston Chronicle, Texas Monthly Magazine, etc). If you find this story interesting, please pass it on. Linden wants this story to be told. Pop music history (like it or not, google search stats prove that to be true), and Linden is part of that pop music history. Linden's story is a small (or large) fire that ZZ Top and it's management would just love to extinguish forever.
    Each song on that notoriously famous Eliminator album made ZZ top hundreds of thousands of dollars, and brought income to the band for decades, and greatly enhanced their fame and their concert ticket sales. In fact, it's easy to day that the Eliminator album elevated ZZ Top from simple stardom to Super-Stardom. Rolling Stone Magazine stated:"With 1983's Eliminator, ZZ Top made a quanum leap from best-kept secret to massive stardom" (end quote).  ​Most rock critics would agree with that statement. Any time your record sales increase twenty-fold overnight, then we think anyone would have to admit that something drastic has changed in the chemistry and/or the creative process (duh). However, again, the sad part is: ZZ Top managment chose to cover up Linden's involvement in this creative process. Welcome to the depressing side of the music busness and say hello to a story of real misery.
    After Linden Hudson realized what the boys had done to him, he painfully started hisThug lawsuit and walked away from ZZ Top forever. He decided to sue the band/management ONLY for the songThug and didn't pursue the other "matters", as Linden had been warned by older and wiser friends that lawsuits are extremely difficult, the legal processes are slow and biased towards the rich, and lawsuits are emotionally draining. And, yes, all that turned out to be true. The lawsuit for just the song Thug proved to be a tough experience. It's a David and Goliath story, an economically challenged and inexperienced young guy fighting a team of rich and famous guys. Who said this is a fair world? This is the true reality of the justice system (in America, or anywhere). Rich people rule wheter it's a civil or criminal matter. Linden has "been there, done that". Another point: if you're fighting for justice against famous people, it's an uphill battle (you become the bad guy). The public hates it whe you fuck with their heroes.​

     There was, however, a bit of poetic justice in all this: ZZ Top was never again able to create an album that matched the sales and success of Eliminator, not even close (part of that formula was gone). Some sources state that the Eliminator album sold HALF of all the records that sold sold in the band's ENTIRE career (out of 15 albums). However, the way Linden was treated (when you consider his contribution) was illogical, cruel, and ultimately a very bad move for the band. Some journalistic writings have suggested (as pondered previously in these writings) that Linden's influence on the Eliminator album project was a huge embarrassment to ZZ Top management. But, that's truly no what Linden wanted or expected. It's impossible to convey the pain he felt as all this unfolded. To this day, it remains surreal for Linden. To be buried and banned for having such a large positive effect was really hard for him to understand.

     To further illustrate the scope of Eliminator's  success: ZZ Top had released seven albums before Eliminator, the best of which only went as high as gold (gold=half a million units sold). Then, Linden became heavily involved on the eighth album (Eliminator) and it sold far more than 10 times Platinum (20 times greater than Gold). As stated before, Eliminator went Diamond in the USA (if even went Diamond in Canada) and multi-platinum in many other countries. After Linden was banished there were seven more albums released up to the year 2012 with ever diminishing record sales. ZZ Top never came close to matching Eliminator in sales/popularity. Linden doesn't want to take all the credit, never did, he just wanted DUE credit. He was absolutely an important element in the chemistry that came together for that short time. But, you can be the judge.
     The Eliminator album was chosen by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the top 500 albums in history. Linden Hudson was a healthy part of that, absolutely he was. But Linden has no "Diamond", no "Platinum", not even a scrawney "Gold" album hanging on any of his walls. Before he takes his last breath, Linden wants one of those trophies. By the way, that wish is not directed, in any way, towards ZZ Top. Let's make things perfectly clear, Linden wants nothing from the band, especially from Billy Gibbons, not asking, no fucking thanks. And, of course, they'll never come to grips with Linden Hudson anyway, and Linden realizes that perfectly and clearly. It's illustrates that some people never change.

     This article is the result of what Linden calls constructive anger. He finally got so mad about it all that his anger motivate action to tell this story (to the world, until he dies, no matter what, no more being timid, no more fear). So this web posting is about Linden Hudson claiming what he believes, in his heart and in this mind, to be his rightful credit and claim. If Linden suceeds in getting this story saturated to the world, it would be too late for it to do him any good financially. Linden realizes that. But he's decided one thing for sure: you can either stand up, or lay in the dirt and let others screw you. Make the choice. Linden wants you to know what these guys did.
     Anyway, Linden Hudson eventually received a settlement for the song Thug ($600,000, well documented). But, most of it went to lawyers, expenses and taxes. Also, the guy (Huey Meaux) who partnered with Linden to finance the lawsuit (lawsuits are not free) took far more than his share from Linden's settlement (adding insult to injury, Linden's lawyer told Linden "you got screwed"), but that's just another totally sad, fucked up, but typical story from the wonderful fucking world of music. Music is often not really a business, but rather a parallel universe filled with pain and dark personalities. Oh well, Linden tried. After all these things went down, Linden walked away with little, and spent decades in depression.
    In the recent decade the internet has provided Linden Hudson with the power to communicate his personal story. The internet is so powerful that even governments are afraid of it. The worldwide web really does give some power to the little people ("not fair" say the rick and powerful). Anyway, Linden has been given a way to tell the story.


     Linden has worked extensively with national and international news media for the past two decades (in his career as a sound engineer for TV broadcast). This experience, plus his personal experience with rock/pop music journalists, has taught Linden something. Here's a hard, cold fact: rock/pop journalists, in general, are unlikely to fully tell Linden's story. Why? Well... here's what a famous rock/pop journalist once told Linden (in 1996): "If a music journalist tells the Linden Hudson story in detail, it will upset the ZZ boys, in turn causing that journalist to LOSE access to the ZZ boys. So there. It's simple, and it's true, but not readily admitted to by rock journalists (it's bad for their image). If they admitted to this, it would be the same as saying "we only write fluff, not truth". This implies that rock journalists are part of the band promotional process (of course they are, are you kidding?). Yes, this is all related to a potentially corrupting thing called "star power". A common rock journalist cannot go around pissing off rock stars, it's the kiss of death. This effect could be called the "losing access" thing, or the "end of career" thing. This is "old school communications 101". By the way, a well-known rock journalist sent Linden an email in the late nineties that referred Linden's shitty ZZ Top experience, he told Linden:​"You don't have to justify your involvement with ZZ to me. I know, as do most other insiders, what you did and what you weren't credited for" (end quote). Linden still has that email. And, because that (un-named) journalist doesn't want to ever lose access, he has only written positive fluff pieces about ZZ Top over the years. Why? We've explained that. By the way, when that journalist referred to himself (and fellow journalists) as "insiders", you DO know what that means, right?


     These writings may feel like a rant, but that makes if even better, more organic, because it's not like reading a fancy book that was combed over by some fancy-schmancy editor (up there in New York City) who counted the words and manipulated the tone of the story. This is a simple story told by a nobody of how it felt to be crushed by the rich and famous.
     If anyone decides to sue Linden to shut him up, he'll probably go broke hiring lawyers, as so many people do. But that's ok, it would just shine a light on the story. The news media is funny that way. The media has lots of slow news days, they need stuff. Imagine having to worry about getting sued by a team of people because you helped them succeed at something (somehow causing them embarrassment and helping them achieve riches at the same time). Weird isn't it?

     Linden wants his son Bryan (Linden's greatest friend), his family and his friends to know, in the final standing version of this fucked up story, that he did something outstanding and noteworthy in his life, something that touched millions of people around the world. By telling this story, Linden is not trying to rain on the parades of any rich folk (God knows rich folk have suffered enough, oh the suffering). 
     When Linden Hudson was working on the Eliminator album project, he was a team player. Nobody wanted the team to win any more than he did. He worked his heart out for that project and he thought he was working for friends. Little did Linden know how much success was ahead for the team. And, little did Linden know just how much misery was ahead for him.

     The Eliminator album was literally the biggest thing on the planet for a space in time, and Linden was stripped of a chance to enjoy the event. Please read all the press clippings on the media page of this site, they bolster the credibility of Linden's story. Then think about the other people in the fucked up music world who have had the same thing happen to them (there are many, especially some of the old black blues men who died alone in shacks but had songs that were recorded by white guys who ended up living in castles). Linden is well versed in some of these other sad stories, and you should be too. Just stop, and think, and feel their pain for a moment, keep it in the back of your mind.
     Linden is extremely proud of his contribution to this hugely successful work of rock art (Eliminator album). Linden ponders this thing just about every night before he goes to sleep. He knows first hand that the ZZ boys (and management) worked hard out there on the road. And, Linden admits that he had some interesting times in their space. But, Linden did some hard work too (and was creative and part of the legendary chemistry). Linden Hudson, sound engineer and songwriter (yes, famous fucking songwriter), lives alone in a suburb of Houston, Texas USA. And, yes, Linden Hudson has been in "Rolling Fucking Stone Magazine". And, yes, Linden has been written about in books. And, yes, Linden will keep fighting to tell his story.

     An article/review was released by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2008 praised Frank Beard for his drumming on "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Give Me All Your Lovin", both songs were on the Eliminator album. It's strange to see an article like this from none other than Rolling Stone  (Linden believes in you Rolling Stone, so guys, please get smarter, don't let us down, or maybe this is just an example of the journalists being part of the band promotion machine, as mentioned earlier). Inside track journalists know full well that Frank did not play on those songs. We repeat, it was synthetic/digital drums on the album, not real drumming (do you get it Rolling Stone?). Frank was only allowed to do Tom Tom overdubs. This was known by the smarter inner circle decades ago. This situation almost resulted in a fist fight between Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons (Linden was just a few feet away, he was there). Just trying to keep history straight. For those who do not believe Linden, that the drums on that album are sequenced and synthetic, read further and you'll find that it's easy to prove. In fact, there are many ways to prove it, both technically and by witnessed accounts. Why is this important? Maybe, to some folks, it's not.  But it's interesting and educational, if nothing else. Do you need truth, or do you just like to be spoon fed hype and fluff? So, referring back to the Rolling Stone review cited at the beginning of this paragraph, is rock journalism just part of the band promotional process? What do you think?

-(A RAMBLE FROM LINDEN): Let's jump back in time. to a little over a decade before the birth of ELIMINATOR, to the beginnings. When ZZ Top did their first gig (1970) I (Linden Hudson) was a crazy hippy DJ named Jack Smack at a highly regarded rock radio station, KLOL-FM in Houston. One of the best parts about being a DJ was that I got to emcee big rock concerts in front of thousands of people and I met lots of famous people. One night after a show, I played cards with Alice Cooper and his band till sunup. Anyway, in that same general span of time, I emceed ZZ Top's first official concert (if memory serves me well) and I actually sang a song with them that night on stage. Yep, in fact, David Blayney (ZZ Top stage manager for 15 years) described that event in his book​ Sharp Dressed Men. You see, David Blayney was the original ZZ top roadie, and the only roadie there that night. The show that night was the very beginnings and there were only about fifty people in the audience.
     During those days (1970) Billy Gibbons was into Transcendental Meditation (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi style) and Billy would take me to the meditation meetings and he talked me into getting a mantra and being initiated. I'm not sure how great meditation really was other than the fact that it kept you away from drugs and when you're in a band or working at a hippy radio station, getting a break from those substances is all good.  
    I lost track of Gibbons shortly thereafter and didn't see him or work with him again for almost ten years. I worked with him on ideas, on the El Loco album (a little), and then in 1982 Billy and I spent much of the year working on the Eliminator album (which was released in 1983). Billy was frustrated with record sales for that past decade and he wanted something big and different. As the foundations of Eliminator came together, Billy G was hyping me every day saying "we're just gonna kick some ass with this stuff man". When Eliminator was finally released in 1983 it immediately went through the roof, was a massive hit, at which time they gave me the shaft (suddenly I was metaphorically in the Bermuda Triangle, I fell off the face of the earth, they performed a dirty little magic trick and made me disappear). I suddenly found myself living in a teeny apartment, depressed, working odd jobs trying to pay the bills, all the while watching the El​iminator album stay in the Top 100 for years. All this was my reward for helping out (and doing it well). Sometimes friends suck, that is if they turn out not to be your friends. What a weird, strange trip.
     Again, how could I make this stuff up? If I did make i all up, several famous writers somehow wrote about it in several books. One of the writers who wrote one of those books had been the band's stage manager for many years (and their original roadie). If my story had been untrue there would have been a shit-storm of lawsuits against book authors flying around twenty years ago. But those writers didn't get sued. What da ya think? But again, nowadays I'm just trying to set the record straight. That's all. I don't really expect a miracle any more. This chronicle is my therapy, I pray that it serves me well. I also pray that it may serve someone else well, such as some poor fool who tries to make it in the so-called music business. To that person, I pray that your story ends better than mine did. Here's hoping that the people who claim to be your friends are truly your friends. Because the music business is full of liars, junkies, narcissists, bullshit artists and thieves. I truly don't think I ever fell into any of those categories. That's probably why I was victimized. I was trusting, naive, fresh meat. I was just a laid back techie-nerd who loved rock and roll.

Last Comments: I (Linden Hudson) do not blame Frank Beard (ZZ's drummer) for what happened (in the business area of this thing) as he was my best friend. I lived at Frank's house with him and his wife Deb. I went with Frank on family outings to hang with his parents in Northeast Texas. I went with Frank to his drug rehab meetings and did volunteer work with him for that organization. Frank did well with that program, both in getting himself straight, and in helping the organization to help others. I was virtually part of Frank's family. He did me no harm, as he was just a ZZ Top employee and a pawn in the game. Believe it or not, Frank was in constant fear of being fired himself (it's weird, but true, although I believe it was managements strategy to keep him in line). I miss Frank and his wife. Go in peace Frank.
     And, I (Linden) do not blame Dusty, as he meant me no harm, he was always respectful to me and fun to hang with. Go in peace Dusty.

     The fault falls on others as to how I, Linden Hudson, was treated in the matter of the Eliminator album project. I won't be too specific about some of those other folks (for several good reasons, fear being one). But, I'll say: I (Linden) respect Billy Gibbons for his guitar skills, but I also hold a huge amount of anger and hurt towards Billy Gibbons (not a hero) for my need to sue ZZ Top, and for the lack of writers credits and production for my large contributions. Billy held a lot (huge amount) of weight with management and I believe (I know) he could have caused it all to work out properly for me, but, he didn't. My life could have been different from then on. Billy called me his friend, but he didn't mean it. I'll never understand it and I'll never forget it. He strongly suggested to me that I would be credited and rewarded for my creative contributions and work. It didn't fucking happen.
     I've thought about this every day for all these years (who wouldn't?). If you ever run into Billy Gibbons somewhere, ask him about Linden Hudson. It's likely that he'll act like he didn't hear your question, and he probably will make no comment either. When it comes to this topic Mr Gibbons is most likely embarrassed (as he should be). Billy and I (Linden) are one year apart in age, in our sixties, and I feel certain now that we'll both go to our graves with this between us.





- 1990 TO 2016 (the most recent 26 years): Linden is a pro sound engineer (freelancing part-time in recent times, by choice). In the most recent 26 years he has engineered location sound for TV networks, documentary films, TV spots, corporate video, and much more (see fame page for Linden's songwriting story). In 2014 Linden spent a month on the road with PBS (from London) on a documentary film shoot which aired in the USA on PBS in June 2015 (Title: "First Peoples - Americas"). Forbes Magazine said: "First Peoples is a visually stunning and approachable introduction to the origins of modern humans" (end quote). This PBS film project took Linden all across America, and to Mexico City, as well as the jungles of the Yucatan. On smaller video shoots, besides his sound duties, Linden often assists with lighting and knows the lighting equipment and terminology. On many occasions (in under-manned situations) Linden has completely lit live TV interviews for major networks as well as performing the audio duties. Many of these jobs have involved celebrities. And, you wouldn't believe some of the things he's experienced during this period. He's worked with four Presidents of the USA, attended dinner with Dr Stephen Hawking, hunkered down in hurricanes in Florida with big TV networks, camped in oceanside swamps across the southern USA for weeks of network TV oil spill coverage, worked video jobs on the high seas in huge storms, worked in caves for PBS in the Mexican jungles, been on the field for SuperBowl and the crazy wardrobe malfunction, ridden in high speed chases with police while wearing a bullet -proof vest, participated in crackhouse busts with cops, worked in the jungles of Borneo at the South China Sea, met some of the most famous and interesting people... and so much more.

- 1970 to 1990: This was the era of Linden's very first audio engineering career. He spent the better part of this 20 year period as a recording engineer in recording studios. He also spent a bit of time as a DJ for KLOL rock radio in Houston and he was an associate producer for the Gulf Regional Educational Television Affiliates. And, during this period Linden spent 3 years with ZZ Top as pre-production recording engineer and songwriter on multi-platinum record projects (see "fame" page on this website). One notation: not to be forgotten, in the late eighties Linden was lucky enough to work as an audio engineer on six NASA space shuttle missions at mission control in Houston. Linden is a science geek, so working on space missions in any capacity was a totally mind-blowing and incredible experience for him.

- CLIENTS & SHOWS: ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, FOX, MTV, BBC, BLOOMBERG TV, VH1, MSNBC, CNBC, SHOWTIME, HBO, NASA (6 shuttle missions), Dr Phil (several shows), Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Frampton, Simone Biles, President Bush Sr, President Clinton, President Bush Jr, President Ford, Ron Paul, Dr Stephen Hawking, Good Morning America, Nightline, 48 Hours, 20/20, 60 Minutes, Morely Safer, Richard Schlesenger, Ellen Degeneres Show, Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, Paula Zahn Show, Court TV (40 murder trials), Inside Edition, American Journal, History Channel, Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, Weather Channel, Food Channel, Ricky Lake, Americas Most Wanted, BP Oil Spill, Oklahoma City Bombing, Enron Trials, Arthur Anderson Trials, Dan Rather, Connie sChung, Chris Cuomo, Yao Ming, Michael Dell, Maroon 5, Michael Pena, Anna Faris, Lyle Lovett, Chris Farley, Charlie Sheen, Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, Van Cliburn, George Stephanopoulos, Chris Wallace, T Boone Pickens, and so much more.

- Linden is world traveled. For work and fun he's been to: UK, Scotland, Norway, Finland, Netherlands (several times), Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Borneo (rainforests), Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico (all over), Canada (many times) and more. Linden has experienced these places in the hotel/suitcase mode, and in the backpacking/hostel mode. Either way is ok with him.