Life and career highlights of ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, who has died aged 72

By Helen Johnson
Thursday, 29th July 2021, 1:03 pm
Dusty Hill, bassist of American rock-blues band ZZ Top, has died at the age of 72, his band members have announced (Photo: SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images)

Dusty Hill, bassist of American rock-blues band ZZ Top, has died at the age of 72, his band members have announced.

Born Joseph Michael Hill, the bassist originally played guitar alongside his brother Rocky in Dallas before he moved to Houston.

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ZZ Top was founded in 1969, and played their first live concert the following year.

Lead singer-guitarist of ZZ Top, Billy Gibbons - who also starred in TV drama Bones - and drummer, Frank Beard, said in a post on the band's Facebook page: "We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston.

"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'."

"You will be missed greatly, amigo," they added.

Hill joined ZZ Top in 1970 and played with the band for more than 50 years, as their music progressed from heavy blues to its experimental synthesiser sound of the 1980s.

ZZ Top released 15 studio albums in total, with the most recent in 2012, and the band was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

One of the band’s songs, Doubleback, also featured in the film Back to the Future Part III, where the band had a cameo in the movie playing a country music version of the song along with some local musicians.

‘Thank you for the years of music, rock, and funky bass licks’

A multitude of tributes from musicians across the globe have now been paid to Hill.

American singer-songwriter Travis Tritter paid tribute to Hill on Twitter, as he wrote: “Very sad to hear of the passing of @zztop bass player and co-lead singer Dusty Hill.

“Legendary musician and all around great dude that has gone too soon! He will be sorely missed. Deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans. #RIPDustyHill.”

Queen star Brian May posted on Twitter: “No! It cannot be. I’m so sad. RIP Dusty Hill. Bri.”

Rock band Garbage also paid tribute to Hill on Twitter.

“Dusty Hill. Rest in Rock. Our sincere condolences to all who knew and loved him ⁦@ZZTop⁩,” the band wrote.

“Rest In Peace Dusty Hill a true Legend. You’ve been influencing us since day 1 and still the coolest band to ever come out of Texas,” said rock group Whiskey Myers on Twitter.

Singer Paul Young also expressed his condolences on Twitter, as he said: “It’s with heavy heart that I have to say goodbye to one member of That Lil’ Ol Band From Texas: RIP Dusty Hill from ZZ Top. I have loved this band since I was 14 & they are without doubt the coolest band on the planet! My condolences to his family, Frank & Rev. Billy G”.

The guitar company Gibson said on Twitter: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of Dusty Hill. Thank you for the years of music, rock, and funky bass licks. Rest in Power Dusty Hill, there will never be another like you. Our condolences to Dusty's friends, family and fans. We are thinking of all of you.”

Musician Bootsy Collins also wrote: “Danggit! We lost another loving Giant legend of the Rock & Roll Empire, Mr. Dusty Hill. Prayer's going out to his Family & Friends...Thx u for blessing us all with ur gifts. R.I.P.”