Joseph “Dusty” Hill, ZZ Top’s bassist for more than 50 years, has died, the group’s longtime rep confirmed. No cause of death was cited.
The band’s Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard issued a statement
“We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX. 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’. We will forever be connected to that ‘Blues Shuffle in C.’
“You will be missed greatly, amigo.”
On July 23, Gibbons and Beard played their first performances without Hill in more than 50 years, stating in a Facebook post that the bassist needed to address a hip issue. “The members of ZZ Top, Billy, and Frank, would like to share that Dusty, their fearless Bass player, is on a short detour back to Texas, to address a hip issue. They await a speedy recovery and have him back pronto,” the message continued, “Per Dusty’s request ‘The show must go on!.”
Hill was born in Dallas in 1949 and played cello in high school, which made for an easy transition to electric bass. He, his guitarist brother Rocky and future fellow ZZ Top bandmate Frank Beard, a drummer, played in local bands. They worked the same Texas touring circuits as guitarist Billy Gibbons’ band, the Moving Sidewalks.
The brothers parted company in 1968 over musical differences, and Hill and Beard moved to Houston, where they eventually united with Gibbons in ZZ Top.
Known for their Texas blues licks, the trio’s unique look–colorful clothes and long, long beards–made the band instantly identifiable. Some of ZZ Top’s big hits include “La Grange,” “Tush,” “Gimme ALl Your Lovin’,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” and “Legs.” The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
ZZ Top performed with David Cook on the American Idol finale
American Idol fans may remember the band joining forces with David Cook on the season 7 finale in 2008. David would eventually win the competition, with David Archuleta as runner-up. Watch them perform “Sharp Dressed Man” below.
The 1983 song would make another appearance on Season 15, the final season on FOX. The eventual 2016 winner, Trent Harmon, performed “Sharp Dressed Man” on the Top 4 performance show.