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Bill Ham (born Billy Mack Ham in 1937) is a Texas music impresario, best known as manager, producer, and image-maker of the blues-rock band ZZ Top. Ham also gained prominence in the country music world by discovering and managing multi-platinum singer-songwriter Clint Black and founding some of the most successful country music publishing companies. For several years in the 1990s, Ham's companies published a majority of the top-10 country music singles.
The band which eventually became ZZ Top started as the "Moving Sidewalks." When Tom Moore and Don Summers joined, Dan Mitchell and Billy Gibbons changed the name to ZZ Top. Lanier Greig was added and the original ZZ Top was formed. Later, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard replaced the earlier members and the band achieved success as a trio consisting of Gibbons, Hill and Beard.
Ham was working as a record promotion man for Bud Dailey Distributing when he saw the Sidewalks perform at a Doors concert in Houston and came backstage to compliment the band. Later when the Sidewalks decided to fire their manager, Mitchell asked Ham if he would be interested in serving in that capacity.
Ham was instrumental to ZZ Top's success, co-writing songs, producing their hit albums and constructing their image, and continuing as the band's manager up to and including 1996's Rhythmeen album and tour. Ham also recruited Texas guitarist and singer/songwriter Jay Boy Adams into the ZZ Top family. Adams was the second artist produced and managed by Ham. Adams would tour extensively with ZZ Top throughout the seventies and early eighties and served as the band's first regular support act and roadie. Austin, Texas guitarist Van Wilks was also a part of Bill Ham's Lone Wolf Productions throughout the years and toured with ZZ Top on many occasions.
His wife Cecile was brutally murdered in 1991, which was a devastating blow to the band. The killer, Spencer Goodman, was apprehended and executed by the State of Texas by lethal injection in 2000.
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