Dusty Hill, the quiet, bearded bass player who made up one third of ZZ Top, among the best-selling rock bands of the 1980s, has died at his home in Houston. He was 72.
Starting in the early 1970s, ZZ Top racked up dozens of hit records and packed hundreds of arenas a year with their powerful blend of boogie, Southern rock and blues. But the band really took off in the 1980s, when Mr. Gibbons, the lead singer and guitarist, and Mr. Hill grew their signature 20-inch beards and the band released a series of albums that added New Wave synthesizers — often played by Mr. Hill — to their hard-driving guitars, producing MTV-friendly hits like “Legs” and “Sharp-Dressed Man.”
The band paired their grungy sound and innuendo-filled lyrics with a knowing, sometimes comic stage act — Mr. Hill and Mr. Gibbons, in matching sunglasses and Stetson hats, would swing their hips in unison, spinning their instruments on mounts attached to their belts. (Despite his name, Mr. Beard, the drummer, sports just a mustache.) Their stage sets might include crushed cars and even livestock.