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. 

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.