ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, one of the Texas blues rock trio’s bearded figures, has died at his Houston home, the band announced. He was 72.
- No cause of death has been given for Hill
- He was one of three members who founded the band in 1969
- The trio became recognisable worldwide for their distinctive look: long beards, sunglasses and Stetson hats
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, guitarist Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard said Hill died in his sleep.
“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’,” his fellow band members wrote.
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”.
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.
The band released its first album, titled ZZ Top’s First Album, in 1970.
Three years later it scored its breakthrough hit, La Grange, an ode to the Chicken Ranch, a notorious brothel outside of a Texas town by that name.
The band went on to chart the hits Tush in 1975, Sharp Dressed Man, Legs and Gimme All Your Lovin’ in 1983, and Rough Boy and Sleeping Bag in 1985.
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.
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
“These cats are steeped in the blues, so am I,'” said Rolling Stones lead guitarist Keith Richards, when introducing the band to the Hall.
“These cats know their blues and they know how to dress it up.
That look — with all three members wearing dark sunglasses and the two frontmen sporting long, wispy beards and Stetson hats — became so iconic it featured in a New Yorker cartoon and as a joke on The Simpsons.