The Music World Mourns the Passing of ZZ Top Bass Player Dusty Hill – Words and Photos by Adam Kennedy

Today the music world mourns the sad loss of ZZ Top bass player Dusty Hill. The group confirmed the passing of their bandmate last night (28th July, 2021) via a social media posting that stated:


“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

As soon as the news broke an outpouring of condolences from both fans and the music world were posted on social media. On a Facebook posting Joe Bonamassa said: “Rest In Peace Dusty. You were a one of a kind legend and a kind and gentle soul. My condolences to his family, Billy and Frank and the entire ZZ Top organization.” Whilst Gov’t Mule frontman Warren Haynes poetically said that there is: “Something about the way he played with Billy and Frank made it seem like a single organism traveling through the universe and his voice had an urgency that was a beautiful counter-balance to Billy’s more relaxed and lower-pitched blues drawl.”

Despite their influence on the blues world ZZ Top did not deem themselves as a blues band per se, but rather classed themselves as ‘interpreters’ of the blues. However, the group were formed out of a shared love of this beloved genre and their sound would evolve over the next fifty plus years of their careers. From the early boogie driven signature sound of ZZ Top’s first three albums, through to their experimentation with synthesisers and new technology during the recording of “Eliminator” and beyond. Catalysed by music television and MTV, hits such as “Sharp Dressed Man”, “Legs” and “Gimme All Your Lovin’” propelled the three-piece to new heights. Although the band’s last studio album “La Futura” was released back in 2012, the trio were actively touring prior to the pandemic, with their last UK appearance at Wembley Arena in July, 2019.

Throughout the pandemic era, the band’s frontman Billy F Gibbons completed the recording of his recently released solo album “Hardware”. It is believed that some of the leftover material from the Hardware project had been sent to both Hill and Beard as starter pieces for a potential new ZZ Top album. In a recent interview with the author Gibbons said that: “Leaving the studio with the Hardware guys puts me right on track to tiptoe in with doing what we like to do – I get to make more loud noise. So yeah, I think that, hopefully, we’ll see a new ZZ project hit the streets as well.” Whether that material was utilized, or if it will ever see the light of day is unknown.

Whatever your favourite album or song by ZZ Top, music fans will be playing their music loudly today in honour of the late great bass player himself. One thing is for sure, the passing of Dusty Hill has left us all with a case of the blues.