Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Rock News Artist Of The Year No. 3: ZZ TOP

As part of the 2021 hennemusic Rock News Awards, the daily news site is counting down the Top 10 Rock News Artists of the past year.

Finalists for the 12th annual hennemusic Rock News Awards are chosen by readers: the Rock News Story Of The Year is determined by page views, while the Rock News Artist Of The Year is based on the combined total page views of the top 50 hennemusic rock news stories of the past twelve months.

The 2021 hennemusic Rock News Awards winners will be announced on Friday, December 17.

2021 Rock News Artist Of The Year – Top 10

10 – RUSH

Rock News Artist of The Year No. 3 – ZZ TOP

ZZ Top began 2021 off the road as the music industry continued to sort its way through the pandemic.

In February, guitarist Billy Gibbons could be seen on video performing a Fleetwood Mac classic with Steven Tyler as a preview to the April 30 release of an early 2020 all-star concert tribute to the band’s founder, Peter Green; a second video of the pair at the event surfaced in May.

The following month, Gibbons streaed a video for “West Coast Junkie”, as the lead single from his new solo album, “Hardware”; more tunes would surface – including “Desert High”, and “My Lucky Card” – before the project’s June release.

You can stream “Hardware” in its entirety here.

June also saw ZZ Top announce dates for an extensive 2021/2022 tour of North America that would start the following month, and when they kicked off the series in Manchester, IA on July 16, fans witnessed bassist Dusty Hill performing with limited motion while seated on a road case as Gibbons covered as much of the stage as possible.

Hill was on board for two more shows – in the same condition – before the group announced that he had been temporarily sidelined from the tour in order to return to Texas “to address a hip issue”, according to a statement, while adding: “They await a speedy recovery and have him back pronto.”

Longtime guitar tech Elwood Francis played his first show with Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard in New Lenox, IL on July 23, and two more before ZZ Top shared an update on Hill’s status.

"We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX,” said Gibbons and Beard in a joint statement announcing the news. “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.”

Tributes poured in from all corners of the music world for Hill, as the band members returned home for a memorial service before continuing the tour on July 30.

Days later, Dusty’s widow, Charleen McCrory, offered her thanks to fans for their outpouring of support following the sudden death of her husband the week before, just days after he played his final concert with the iconic Texas trio.

ZZ Top continued to move forward with their scheduled North American tour dates throughout the summer and fall, with shows wrapping up in El Paso, TX on December 11.

Available for streaming below are just a few of the ZZ Top classics featuring Dusty on lead vocals.

See also:

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