HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, one of the Texas blues trio’s bearded figures, died at his Houston home, the band announced Wednesday on Facebook. He was 72.
In their 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.”
“We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX. 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 band said on Facebook.
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, naming themselves in part after blues singer Z.Z. Hill and influenced by the British power trio Cream. Their debut release, “ZZ Top’s First Album,” came out in 1970. Three years later, they broke through commercially with “La Grange,” a funky blues song in the style of Slim Harpo’s ”Shake Your Hips” that paid tribute to the Chicken Ranch, a notorious brothel outside of the Texas town of La Grange.
The band went on to have such hits as “Tush” in 1975, and the 1980s songs “Sharp Dressed Man,” ”Legs,” “Gimme All Your Lovin’” and “Sleeping Bag.” 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. Their million-selling albums included ”Eliminator,” “Afterburner” and “Antenna.”
ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, introduced by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.
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