There is incredibly sad news today in the rock and roll world as ZZ Top’s long time bass player Dusty Hill has passed away at the age of 72 years old. Dusty Hill has been with the band ZZ Top since 1969 when he joined ZZ Top founding member Billy Gibbons in the band. One year later in 1970, Frank Beard joined the group on drums cementing a lineup that for all of us is really the only ZZ Top lineup we’ve ever known. For the past 50 years, ZZ Top has been one of rock and roll’s favorite bands. The band is currently out on tour. It was just announced a few days ago that Dusty Hill was leaving the band for a while because of some hip issues. He was replaced by ZZ Top’s long time guitar tech Elwwod Francis. Everyone assumed it would be just a temporary fix and that Dusty Hill would be rejoining the band shortly. So today’s news comes as a shock to everyone.
ZZ Top first broke into the scene in the early seventies with their blend of power Texas rock and roll. They had great success in the 1970s with multiple top 10 albums. In the 1970s they released the albums ZZ Top’s First Album in 1971, Rio Grande Mud in 1972, Tres Hombres in 1973 Fandango! in 1975 and Tejas in 1976. Songs such “Tush,” and “La Grange” would become staples of 70s fm radio. As big as the band was in the 1970s it did not seem as if anyone was prepared for the commercial success that ZZ Top would have in the 1980s. The group celebrated major success with a series of hit albums and hits singles fueled by their huge exposure on MTV. With a series of videos that featured their Eliminator Car and three beautiful women that often changed though their videos, ZZ Top became one of the biggest bands in the world in the 1980s. Song such as “Gimme All Your Lovin’, Sleeping Bag, “Sharp Dressed Man, “Legs,” “Rough Boys,’ and a few others were major hits for the band.
From 1983 to 1990 ZZ Top celebrated three top 10 albums on the Billboard Top 200 albums charts with the albums Eliminator in 1983, Afterburner in 1985 which was their highest charting album at number four and Recycler in 1990. The band would continue to release albums and tour into the 90s and 2000 with their most recent album being released in 2012 entitled La Futura. Since their last album in 2012, ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons has been releasing solo albums with Perfectamundo in 2015, The Big Bad Blues in 2018 and just last month Gibbons third solo album Hardware was released.
Currently ZZ Top is scheduled to continue touring through the summer. No news has been released yet on what will become of ZZ Top. The band will never be the same without Dusty as his bass playing and musical skills were simply brilliant in so many way. Dusty and ZZ Top brought us all great joy throughout the years. It’s a tragic loss. Our condolences go out to his family.