ZZ Top Bassist Dusty Hill Has Passed Away – Age 72

ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill
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ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill
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Photo Credit: Antti Salonen / CC by 3.0

ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill has passed away in his Houston home, aged 72.

The band shared a statement on Wednesday announcing the bassist’s death. “We are saddened by the news today that our compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX,” the statement reads.

“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. Frank & Billy”

Dusty Hill joined ZZ Top in 1969, shortly after they signed with London Records. In 1973, the band hit the big time with “La Grange.” They followed on that success with legendary blues riffs and clever lyrics. But Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons formed the iconic bearded duo of the band on stage.

Hill sang backing vocals on several ZZ Top songs, including “Tush,” “Bad Girl,” and “Hi Fi Mama.” Both Hill and his bandmates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. The band remained together for more than 50 years, keeping the lineup of Dusty Hill, Billy Gibbons, and Frank Beard intact throughout their history.

ZZ Top’s most recent album was La Futura, which released in 2012. The band was reportedly working on a follow-up. When asked about the longevity of the band, Hill said it’s because the group enjoyed what they do for a living.

“I don’t know that there is a secret. But you gotta hit it with the fun part. We enjoy what we do. They’re other people that enjoy what they do for a living; it turns out to be the same for us,” Hill says in an interview in 2016 with Bass Players Only.

“That’s as close as I can come to answering the question. There’s a lot of different factors, I guess, but the main thing is we just enjoy playing together.”

Back in July, ZZ Top announced Hill would be taking time away due to a hip issue. The band’s long-time guitar tech, Elwood Francis, stepped in to play for Hill. Hill also made several silver screen cameos in movies like Back to the Future Part III and the HBO series Deadwood.

4 Responses

  1. Seth

    Big bummer. This guy was the coolest. You wouldn’t know he was classicaly trained and played cello. If you haven’t watched the ZZ Top documentary on Netflix, do so. It’s not as deep as I would have liked, but it gives some good insight.

  2. jbneon

    Well I was rollin’ down the road in some cold blue steel
    I had a blues man on the back, and a beautician at the wheel
    We going downtown in the middle of the night
    We laughing and I’m jokin’ and we feelin’ alright
    Oh I’m bad, I’m nationwide
    Yes I’m bad, I’m nationwide
    Easin’ down the highway in a new Cadillac
    I had a fine fox in front, I had three more in the back
    They sportin’ short dresses, wearin’ spike-heel shoes
    They smokin’ Lucky Strikes, and wearing nylons too
    ‘Cause we bad, we nationwide
    Yeah, we bad, we nationwide
    Well I was movin’ down the road in my V8 Ford
    I had a shine on my boots, I had my sideburns lowered
    With my New York brim and my gold tooth displayed
    Nobody give me trouble ’cause they know I got it made
    I’m bad, I’m nationwide
    Well I’m bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, I’m nationwide

    One of the finest 3 verse songs out there.
    RIP Joe Michael Hill

  3. TimCinBoston

    Incredible… how is this NOT the lede on today’s email blast?!? Mr. Hill has entertained millions over the course of decades, is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is an icon in the music community. In two months no one will remember/care that some dude calling himself ‘DaBaby’ was dropped by a sponsor for being an idiot.

  4. Bobby

    I hope some kid 300 years from now discovers a ZZ Top CD and finds a way to listen to it.

    Dignified and classy rocks stars. And, they did not need a sex tape to gain fans.