- 28 Jul 21
The legendary bearded bassist and Dallas native was an integral a part of ZZ Top, playing with bandmates Gibbons and Beard for over 5 decades.
Dusty Hill, the bassist and lead singer of ZZ Top, has died. He was 72.
His death was confirmed in a statement, posted on Instagram by his fellow Toppers, Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard. Hill had recently suffered a hip injury. He is said to have died in his sleep, though no further information has been released in relation to the cause of his death.
ZZ Top have been touring recently in the US. However, as a result of his hip injury, Hill was unable to participate in these post-Covid shows.
ZZ Top have been in existence for over 50 years. The band's debut single 'Salt Lick' was released in 1969. Hill joined the band in 1970, and their debut album ZZ Top’s First Album was released the following year, in 1971. In all, they have released 15 studio albums, including the 1983 global smash hit Eliminator. It sold 10 million copies in the US alone and went on to reach No. 3 in the UK.
Eliminator contained the brilliantly successful ‘Legs,' which was accompanied by an impressive video. It catapulted the band from cult notoriety to global smash hit success, peaking at No.8 in the Billboard Hot 100. The album also contained 'Sharp Dressed Man’ and ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’ – other hits that received heavy rotation from MTV.
While the band were immensely successful, there was a cartoon-like aspect to it, best encapsulated in the fact that Hill accidentally shot himself in 1984. It was an incident he preferred to laugh about.
“My first reaction was ‘Shit!’ and then ‘Ouch’,” he said later. “I couldn’t believe I’d done something so stupid. To this day, I don’t know how I could do it.”
In addition to his role as bassist, Dusty Hill played keyboards and was both a lead vocal and backing vocalist, depending on the song. Outside of the band, he also made appearances in Back to the Future Part III and Deadwood and played himself in King of the Hill.
“I don’t believe in regrets at all,” Hill said in 2016. “What’s the point? There are things I’ve done that, if I had my time all over again, I would do differently – or not at all. But I am the sort of person who, once something’s done, just brushes it away and gets on with life.”
ZZ Top were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2017, they performed at Dublin's 3Arena and "[gave] all their loving," as Pat Carty of Hot Press wrote in the live show review.
Paying tribute to Hill, Flea of Red Hot Chill Peppers described him as “a true rocker.” Kathy Valentine, a member go the Go-Go's tweeted that Hill was “a Texas icon."