The world of rock ‘n roll lost another soul today with the passing of Dusty Hill. The legendary bassist of the famed Texas band ZZ Top passed away in his sleep from unknown causes at the age of 72. In honor of his passing, the band posted the following homage on Facebook:
“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. Frank & Billy”
Born Joseph Michael Hill in Dallas Texas on May 19, 1949, Hill attended Woodrow Wilson High School (Dallas) where he played the cello. According to imbd.com, “he began his career playing with local bands from Texas like the Warlocks, the Cellar Dwellers, and American Blues” before joining with Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons to form ZZ Top. Dusty has also appeared in films and television series including Back to the Future Part III (1990) and as himself in an episode of the eleventh season of King of the Hill (1997), in which Hank Hill is said to be Dusty’s cousin.
Hill suffered from several health issues, including hepatitis C which led ZZ Top to cancel a European tour in 2000. Apparently, in a nod to marijuana, the band Primitive Man eulogized Hill, saying, “Smoke a fat one for Dusty Hill. Tragic. 52 years a rocker. A real one. A LIFER. So much [ZZ Top] in all 3 of our lives growing up we knew we had to stay a power trio and that’s no lie.”
Hill was a talented musician, playing keyboards and providing backup vocals to ZZ Top for the 3-piece blues-oriented band for nearly 50 years. Hill was a realist who insisted on staying focused on the present. In an interview in 2016, the bearded sage of blues said, “I don’t believe in regrets at all,” Hill also said in 2016. “What’s the point? There are things I’ve done that, if I had my time all over again, I would do differently – or not at all. But I am the sort of person who, once something’s done, just brushes it away and gets on with life.”
And Hill’s fans are feeling the sadness of his absence. On the Memories and Condolences section of his legacy.com page, one fan seemed to strike the right chord: “My heart goes out to Dusty’s family and his brothers in ZZ Top. Will keep you all in my prayers. Not only a legendary rocker but a legendary beard! I credit my own ‘Texas goatee’ largely to Dusty and Billy, so I will be reminded daily of one of my hero’s. Thank you Dusty. “
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