Bill Ham, ZZ Top Manager, Dies

Bill Ham, 79, longtime manager for ZZ Top and Clint Black, died at his home in Austin, Texas, June 21. 

Photo: Mike Bradley
Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.

The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office did not disclose a cause. Ham began his career as a musician, recording a song called “Dream On” in the early ’60s, then became a promoter for a record-distribution company before being introduced to Billy Gibbons backstage at a Doors concert in 1967.

He became, arguably, ZZ Top’s greatest advocate, fighting for $7 million advances for each album from RCA. He was also credited with taking Clint Black from singing James Taylor covers in coffee houses to country music stardom – all the while avoiding interviews for decades.

The murder of Ham’s wife, Cecile, reached headlines in the ’90s when a man, on parole, beat and strangled her in her car so he could drive it back to his halfway house.