A 1959 Gibson Sunburst Les Paul Standard
Tom Vickers co-author of “Rock & Roll Gearhead” has personal insight into Billy Gibbons' collection of over 700 guitars. Together they edited down his extensive collection to 80 to be featured in the book about Billy and his vast collection of memorbilia. Among the many vintage and custom made guitars there is one that is most notable, which is of course Pearly Gates.
Known as the Holy Grail of rock guitars it has an interesting history, and according to Vickers an unmistakebale aura. This guitar is so coveted that rumour has it Billy turned down an offer of $5 million for her, true enough but as the song goes: "Money Can’t Buy You Love.”.
“I acquired that instrument – it was found under a bed – not knowing just how vicious this guitar was made to play. It was assembled on one of those fateful days when the glue was just right, the wood was just right, and the electronics were placed perfectly. ‘Til this day, I have yet to find an instrument to equal its raw power.”
- Billy Gibbons
What more can you say about a ‘59 Gibson Sunburst Les Paul Standard known as Pearly Gates? It is pure serendipity that she fell from the sky and into Billy’s lap. Pearly Gates has a good measure of Billy’s DNA in her and is the core of the famed ZZ Top sound and has been used on every recording ever made by the band.
Pearly Gates photos by: John Peden
Billy playing Pearly Gates photo by: Mark’s Rock Concert Photography