Tributes paid to ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, who has died aged 72

"You will be missed greatly, amigo"

Tributes are being paid to Dusty Hill, best known for being the bassist of ZZ Top, who has died aged 72.

The musician’s death was confirmed by the group’s longtime rep, who said that Hill died at home in his sleep. No cause of death has yet been revealed.

Remaining ZZ Top members Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard issued a statement on Hill’s passing: “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.'”

They added: “You will be missed greatly, amigo.”

"We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX. …

Posted by ZZ Top on Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Born on May 19, 1949 in Dallas, Texas, Hill grew up playing cello in high school before transitioning to bass. He started his career playing alongside his guitarist brother Rocky and future ZZ Top bandmate Frank Beard in a series of local bands such as the Warlocks, the Cellar Dwellers and American Blues. It was during this time he met future ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons, who was touring the same Texas circuits with his band the Moving Sidewalks.

After the brothers parted company in 1968 over musical differences, Hill and Beard moved to Houston, where they eventually united with Gibbons, who formed ZZ Top in 1969. The band’s original bassist introduced Gibbons to Beard, and Hill would join the pair for a gig in Beaumont, Texas, in February, 1970. The line-up remained the same for more than five decades. In 2020, they celebrated their 50th anniversary at a San Antonio concert.

Starting out on London Records in 1971, ZZ Top went on to release 15 albums including 1973’s ‘Tres Hombres’, which featured the single ‘La Grange’, one of the band’s most successful singles; 1975’s ‘Fandango!’, powered by the single ‘Tush’; and 1983’s ‘Eliminator’, which heard the band – now on Warner Bros. – experimenting with new technologies – guitar loops, manipulated vocals and synthesised bass and drums – that refreshed their sound.

The breakout success of three ‘Eliminator’ singles – ‘Gimme All Your Lovin”, ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ and ‘Legs’ – and their accompanying videos, took the band to a new level of commercial success. The album peaked at Number Nine and spent 183 weeks on the US album charts, later receiving diamond certification for sales of more than 10 million copies.

In 1994, ZZ Top parted ways with Warner Bros. for a reported $35million deal with RCA Records. From there, Gibbons took on co-production duties with the band’s manager Bill Ham, who had helmed their studio work since the group’s debut single. This resulted in the 1994 platinum album ‘Antenna’.

Gibbons picked up the production reins by himself on the group’s last two RCA releases, ‘XXX’ (1999) and ‘Mescalero’ (2003), and co-produced ‘La Futura’ (2012) with Rick Rubin for his American Recordings imprint.

The band was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 2004.

A number of people have taken to social media to pay tribute to Hill including Paul Stanley of KISS, who wrote: WOW! Dusty Hill. What an icon. @ZZTop’s bassist forever. So unique. Always a gentleman from the days of us opening for them through the recent days of them opening for us. I don’t know what to say but ‘Thank you’ and ‘Rest however you damn well choose!'”

“Rest In Peace #DustyHill of @ZZTop. My thoughts go out to @BillyfGibbons and Frank Beard and all the #ZZTop fans around the world,” Ozzy Osbourne said.

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott added: “Today we lost a great friend and a remarkable Texan. ZZ Top’s Bassist Dusty Hill Dead at 72 Truly a music legend.”

Paul Young shared a tribute, writing: “It’s with heavy heart that I have to say goodbye to one member of That Lil’ Ol Band From Texas: RIP Dusty Hill from ZZ Top. I have loved this band since I was 14 & they are without doubt the coolest band on the planet! My condolences to his family, Frank & Rev. Billy G”

You can see more tributes to Dusty Hill below: