HOUSTON (AP) — ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, one of the iconic Texas blues trio’s bearded frontmen, died at his Houston home, the band announced Wednesday on Facebook. He was 72.
In their post, 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.”READ MORE: SF City Planners Won't Allow Taqueria El Farolito In North Beach Due To 'Chain Store' Ban
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 would soon rise to national and international popularity with it’s nuanced Texas take on blues boogie. After some initial chart success with their first two albums, the trio scored its first major radio hit with “La Grange” from the landmark 1973 album Tres Hombres. The tune was 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, followed by “Cheap Sunglasses” in 1979.READ MORE: Fmr. Theranos Lab Director Testifies He Warned Holmes About Faulty Blood-Testing Technology
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.
Though already hugely popular, ZZ Top rose to even greater heights in the MTV era with the trio’s comical, often cartoonish videos featuring the band and an inevitable array of video vixens in clips the for “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Legs” and “Gimme All Your Lovin’” from the album Eliminator in 1983.
Additional hits “Rough Boy” and “Sleeping Bag” followed in 1985.
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Said Rolling Stones lead guitarist Keith Richards in introducing the band to the Hall: “These cats are steeped in the blues, so am I. 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 the two frontmen sporting long, wispy beards — became so iconic as to be the subject of a New Yorker cartoon and a joke on “The Simpsons.”MORE NEWS: COVID: Initial Vaccine Booster Availability Met with Low Turnout, Confusion
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