ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill has died at age 72, the band announced on Wednesday.
Hill served in the Texas-bred blues-rock trio alongside guitarist Billy F. Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard for over 50 years after he joined the group in 1970, shortly after it formed in Houston, TX. It was with Hill that the Top rose to prominence as they brought a new party style to blues music.
The group achieved mainstream success with the 1983 album Eliminator, featuring numerous hits including “Sharp Dressed Man”, “Gimme All Your Lovin'”, “Legs” and more. However, ZZ Top had released its first album in 1971 and had been developing a cult following throughout the South ever since.
Dusty Hill and Gibbons gave ZZ Top its signature look with their chest-length beards, while drummer Frank Beard, ironically, sported no beard.
“We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX,” the surviving band members wrote on social media. “We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top’. We will forever be connected to that ‘Blues Shuffle in C.’ … You will be missed greatly, amigo.”
It is unclear whether Hill’s death is related to a recent hip injury that threatened to keep the band off the road. Last month, the trio announced a massive 2021–2022 arena tour of North America featuring 60 concert dates. Hill’s injury, which the bassist had to address last week according to the band, caused him to miss several of the band’s early tour dates. ZZ Top brought in Elwood Francis as a temporary replacement for the first few shows. The status of the remaining tour dates is unclear as of publication time.
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