FILE - Dusty Hill of U.S. rock band ZZ Top performs on stage during their first concert in Germany in Hamburg, northern Germany, on Oct. 8, 2002. ZZ Top has announced that Hill, one of the Texas blues trio's bearded figures and bassist, has died at his Houston home. He was 72. In a Facebook post, bandmates Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard revealed Wednesday, July 29, 2021, that Hill had died in his sleep. (AP Photo/Christof Stache, File)

ZZ Top: Bearded bassist Dusty Hill dies in his sleep at 72

ZZ Top: Bearded bassist Dusty Hill dies in his sleep at 72

HOUSTON (AP) — ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill, the long-bearded bassist for the million-selling Texas blues rock trio known for such hits as Legs and Gimme All Your Lovin’, has died at age 72.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, 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.” At that time, the band said that 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.

“These cats are steeped in the blues, so am I,” Richards said. “These cats know their blues and they know how to dress it up. When I first saw them, I thought, ‘I hope these guys are not on the run, because that disguise is not going to work.’”

That look, with all three members wearing dark sunglasses and Gibbons and Hill sporting long, wispy beards, became so familiar, in part thanks to their MTV videos in the 1980s, that it was the subject of a New Yorker cartoon and a joke on The Simpsons.

Music

 

FILE - Dusty Hill of ZZ Top performs during the Stagecoach Festival on April 25, 2015, in Indio, Calif. ZZ Top has announced that Hill, one of the Texas blues trio's bearded figures and bassist, has died at his Houston home. He was 72. In a Facebook post, bandmates Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard revealed Wednesday, July 29, 2021, that Hill had died in his sleep. (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP, File)

FILE - Dusty Hill, of ZZ Top, performs during the Crossroads Guitar Festival on June 26, 2010, in Chicago. ZZ Top has announced that Hill, one of the Texas blues trio's bearded figures and bassist, has died at his Houston home. He was 72. In a Facebook post, bandmates Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard revealed Wednesday, July 29, 2021, that Hill had died in his sleep. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)