ZZ Top Founder Dusty Hill Dead at 72: Jason Isbell, Flea and More of the Music World React

by Jon D. B.

“Rest In Peace Dusty Hill! The @ZZTop bassist, who played with the legendary Texas trio for 50+ years, has died at age 72,” announces the world’s largest independent record store, Amoeba Music.

The franchise is one of many outlets to lament the passing of the beloved rock legend. On Wednesday, July 28, TMZ chocked the music industry with the longtime bassist, singer, and songwriter’s death announcement. Dusty Hill passed away at his home in Houston, Texas. He was 72.

Twitter is a’light with tributes today – as it should be. Drive-By Truckers icon Jason Isbell offers:

“So sad to hear about Dusty Hill. An all-time great bass player, and a rock and roll institution. Breaks my heart. @ZZTop.”

Michael Peter Balzary – better known to fans as Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist, Flea, offers “Ahhhh man, I love Dusty Hill. A true rocker. What a straight jammer.”

He does so in response to Abby Travis, a.k.a. Sumo Princess’ “R.I.P Dusty Hill. Wonderful bassist and vocalist.”

Dusty Hill was – and is – brother to fellow ZZ Topper and guitarist, Rocky Hill. With Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons, the Hills went on to incredible success with “La Grange,” “Tush,” and this Outsider’s all time favorite ZZ Top hit: “Sharp Dressed Man.”

In addition, SiriusXM radio host Eric Alper tributes the late Hill with: “If you weren’t there, you can’t comprehend how BIG ZZ Top were in the 1980s and 1990s. “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs” were on staples on MTV, concerts sold out, and brought the blues + FUN into music that hasn’t been seen since. Rest in peace, Dusty Hill.”

Music Industry Toasts ZZ Top Legend Dusty Hill on Day of His Death

“Rest easy Dusty Hill. F*ckin legend,” offers Koe Wetzel Wednesday.

Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick is lamenting the loss of Dusty Hill, too, saying it’s been a “Tough week in music. Damn.”

True words. Alongside founding and heading ZZ Top, Hill would also play as part of the American Blues band beforehand. He would also transcend music culture to appear in many films and tv shows – taking on the mantle of a pop culture icon. From Back to the Future Part III, to WWE Raw and King of the Hill on the small screen, singer and bassist Dusty Hill was everywhere. And we loved him for it.

On May 19, 2021, Dusty Hill had just celebrated his 72nd birthday.

In TMZ’s report of his death Wednesday, as well as Outsider’s coverage, the bassist’s struggles with a hip issue had recently set ZZ Top on edge. The band posted to Facebook to let fans know Dusty was “headed back to Texas in order to get assistance with the issue.”

That was on July 23. Less than a week later, Dusty would leave us.

Rest in Peace to an absolute icon.