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Former ZZ Top Manager Bill Ham Dies

HOUSTON, TX (CelebrityAccess) — Veteran manager Bill Ham, who helped to bring ZZ Top to international fame has died. He was 79.

According to Austin 360 and the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office, Ham passed at his home in Austin on Saturday. A cause of death was not disclosed.

Ham launched Lone Wolf management in 1969, with ZZ Tops Billy Gibbons as one of his first clients, but soon added Dusty Hill and Frank Beard to fill out the ZZ Top lineup.

Ham helped to cultivate the band's style and has production credits on seminal albums such as Tres Hombres and Eliminator before finally parting ways with the group at the end of their tenure on RCA Records in 2006.

In addition to his work with ZZ Top, Ham also played a key role in the career of country artist Clint Black, helping to take him from a local cover artist to a nationally recognized country performer.

“Yeah, he’s a bear of a manager, but look at what you get,” Former Lone Wolf vice president Sam Taylor told the American-Statesman in a 1999 article “This is the guy who talked RCA Records into giving ZZ Top a $7 million advance on each album, when things had already started to slow for them. He has protected and fought for ZZ Top at all levels and stages of the game. I think the fact the group is still around and still well-off is almost solely due to Ham.” – Staff Writers