Joseph Michael “Dusty” Hill left a lasting impression on rock and roll not only because of his iconic long beard, but also because of his musical talent.
The ZZ Top bassist recently passed away at the age of 72.
Like many musicians, Hill discovered his love of music early on and his taste was considered unique among the families of his peers.
“Back then, the kids would go to each other’s house, bring records to play,” he said in an interview with The Guardian. “And I would bring Muddy Waters or Son House or something, and the parents of those other kids would almost panic – ‘What are you bringing here?’ Whoa! I thought everyone had these records, because that’s what I had. “
DUSTY HILL, ZZ TOP BASSIST, DEAD AT 72
Being from Texas, a young white boy listening to black blues and rock performers was not very common, but Hill would eventually take to the music himself, singing and playing bass.
He eventually started playing gigs all over Texas with a look and stage presence that grabbed people’s attention as well.
“Being a musician in Texas came with its share of risks,” he told The Guardian. “I was with a band called American Blues, and at the time we had long, blue hair – in the 60s in Texas. they thought I was crazy. But whatever crap you have about it, you’ve increased your experience tenfold because there’s so much music out there. “
Shortly after hitting the Texas music circuit, he formed a band, ZZ Top, along with fellow musicians Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons. While he mainly played bass for the band, he also tickled ivories and even sang lead on some tracks.
KID ROCK PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE BASSIST AT THE END OF ZZ TOP DUSTY HILL: “ROCK N ROLL NEVER FORGET”
In 1971, the band released their debut album, “ZZ Top’s First Album,” which reflected the band’s background in the blues, such as Hill’s affinity for Waters and House.
Hill helped launch the band to success by singing the lead role on the song “Tush,” which was one of their early hits and remains a well-known ZZ Top song to this day.
In the late 1970s, the band took a two-year hiatus after several years of consistent performance. In order to keep her feet on the ground, Hill worked at the Dallas / Fort Worth Airport to keep her busy as well, the Guardian reported.
When ZZ Top reunited, Hill and Gibbons began sporting long, matching beards, which have since become iconic and closely associated with the rock band.
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Like many famous musicians, Hill made a handful of Hollywood screen appearances, most notably in “Back to the Future Part III” in 1990 and in a 2010 episode of “Two and a Half Men”.
In 2000, ZZ Top interrupted his work again when Hill was diagnosed with hepatitis C, by NME, but a few years later, Hill was back.
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In 2004, ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.