ZZ Top Bassist Dusty Hill Dead at 72
Dusty Hill, who rose to fame as a bass player and singer in the iconic Texas-based blues-rock band ZZ Top, has died. According to a statement from his bandmates on Wednesday afternoon (July 28), Hill died at his home in Houston, Texas.
"We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX," ZZ Top's Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons write alongside a picture of the bassist and singer.
"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.'"
The statement ends by saying simply, "You will be missed greatly, amigo. Frank & Billy."
Hill was 72 years old at the time of his death. His cause of death has not yet been revealed.
ZZ Top rocketed to fame in the 1970s, scoring their breakthrough with their third album, Tres Hombres, in 1973. That album featured one of their all-time most important songs, "La Grange." They followed up with 1975's Fandango!, which featured "Tush." Other highlights of that early blues-rock period include "Cheap Sunglasses" and "I Thank You," both from 1980's Deguello.
The band changed their approach beginning with the Eliminator album in 1983, incorporating synthesizers and sequencing on later hits including "Legs," "Got Me Under Pressure" and more. That album, along with 1985's Afterburner and Recycler in 1990, represented the commercial peak of the group, but they have continued to record and tour sporadically in more recent years.
Hill served as their bass player and second singer for more than 50 years, but Beard and Gibbons performed a recent concert date at Village Commons in New Lenox, Ill., without Hill, who had to seek treatment for a "hip issue." Longtime ZZ Top guitar tech Elwood Francis subbed for Hill at that gig.
It's unclear if Hill's death is related in any way to his recent medical treatment, or if Beard and Gibbons will continue with ZZ Top in his absence.