ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill dies in his sleep at 72

  • Dusty Hill of ZZ Top performs during the VH1 Rock Honors concert in Las Vegas on May 12, 2007. ZZ Top has announced that Hill, one of the Texas blues trio's bearded figures and bassist, has died at his Houston home. He was 72. In a Facebook post, bandmates Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard revealed Wednesday, July 29, 2021, that Hill had died in his sleep.

    Dusty Hill of ZZ Top performs during the VH1 Rock Honors concert in Las Vegas on May 12, 2007. ZZ Top has announced that Hill, one of the Texas blues trio's bearded figures and bassist, has died at his Houston home. He was 72. In a Facebook post, bandmates Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard revealed Wednesday, July 29, 2021, that Hill had died in his sleep. Associated Press

  • FILE - Dusty Hill, left, and Billy Gibbons from U.S rock band ZZ Top perform at the Glastonbury music festival in Somerset, England, June 24, 2016. ZZ Top has announced that Hill, one of the Texas blues trio's bearded figures and bassist, has died at his Houston home. He was 72. In a Facebook post, bandmates Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard revealed Wednesday, July 29, 2021, that Hill had died in his sleep.

    FILE - Dusty Hill, left, and Billy Gibbons from U.S rock band ZZ Top perform at the Glastonbury music festival in Somerset, England, June 24, 2016. ZZ Top has announced that Hill, one of the Texas blues trio's bearded figures and bassist, has died at his Houston home. He was 72. In a Facebook post, bandmates Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard revealed Wednesday, July 29, 2021, that Hill had died in his sleep. Associated Press

 
Associated Press
Updated 7/28/2021 3:33 PM

HOUSTON -- ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, one of the Texas blues rock trio's bearded figures, died at his Houston home, the band announced Wednesday. He was 72.

In their Facebook post, guitarist Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard said Hill died in his sleep. They didn't give a cause of death, but a July 21 post on the band's website said Hill was "on a short detour back to Texas, to address a hip issue."

 

At that time, the band said its longtime guitar tech, Elwood Francis, would fill in on bass, slide guitar and harmonica.

Born Joe Michael Hill in Dallas, he, Gibbons and Beard formed ZZ Top in Houston in 1969. The band released its first album, titled "ZZ Top's First Album," in 1970. Three years later it scored its breakthrough hit, "La Grange," which is an ode to the Chicken Ranch, a notorious brothel outside of a Texas town by that name.

The band went on to chart the hits "Tush" in 1975, "Sharp Dressed Man," "Legs" and "Gimme All Your Lovin'" in 1983, and "Rough Boy" and "Sleeping Bag" in 1985.

The band's 1976 "Worldwide Texas Tour," with its iconic Texas-shaped stage festooned with cactuses, snakes and longhorn cattle, was one of the decade's most successful rock tours.

The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Said Rolling Stones lead guitarist Keith Richards in introducing the band to the Hall: "These cats are steeped in the blues, so am I. These cats know their blues and they know how to dress it up. When I first saw them, I thought, 'I hope these guys are not on the run, because that disguise is not going to work.'"

That look -- with all three members wearing dark sunglasses and the two frontmen sporting long, wispy beards -- became iconic.

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