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Bill Ham

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Bill Ham
Background information
Birth nameBilly Mack Ham
Born(1937-02-04)February 4, 1937
Waxahachie, Texas, U.S.
DiedJune 20, 2016(2016-06-20) (aged 79)
Austin, Texas, U.S.
  • Rock
  • blues rock
  • Record producer
  • band manager
Years active1958–2006
Cecile Ham
(died 1991)

Billy Mack Ham (February 4, 1937 – June 20, 2016)[1] was an American music impresario, best known as the manager, producer, and image-maker for the blues-rock band ZZ Top.[2] Ham also gained prominence in the country music world by discovering and managing multi-platinum singer-songwriter Clint Black.


Ham began his career as a singer, releasing a single, "Wanderer," on Dot Records in 1960. Cash Box called the song a "bright rocker" with a "sensational backbeat."[3]

In 1968, Ham was working as a record promoter for Bud Daily Distributing when he saw the Moving Sidewalks, the band that would become ZZ Top, perform at a Doors concert in Houston, and went backstage to compliment them.[4] When the Moving Sidewalks decided to fire their manager, they recruited Ham to replace him. Ham was instrumental to ZZ Top's success, co-writing songs, constructing their image, and producing every one of the group's albums from their debut through 1996's Rhythmeen.[2] Ham and ZZ Top parted ways in 2006.[5]

Ham also saw success in management and publishing outside of ZZ Top. His Lone Wolf Management produced such artists as Clint Black and Point Blank,[5] and songwriters signed to his Hamstein Music publishing company scored 100 Top 10 country singles, including 60 number ones.[4]

Personal life and death[edit]

On July 2, 1991, Ham's wife, 48-year-old Cecile Ham, was in a drugstore parking lot in Houston when she was kidnapped and murdered by 22-year-old Spencer Corey Goodman, a recently paroled repeat offender.[6] Goodman was apprehended five weeks later following a high-speed chase where he crashed Cecile's stolen car.[7] He was convicted of murder, sentenced to death, and executed by lethal injection on January 18, 2000. Ham witnessed the execution.[8]

Ham died on June 20, 2016, at his home in Austin, Texas, aged 79.[5]


  1. ^ Kurutz, Stephen. "Bill Ham Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved August 31, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Buckley, Peter (October 28, 2003). The Gough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. pp. 1223–. ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
  3. ^ "The Cash Box Pick of the Week". Cash Box. Vol. 21, no. 38. June 4, 1960. Retrieved January 21, 2024.
  4. ^ a b Shelburne, Craig (June 23, 2016). "LifeNotes: Bill Ham, Founder of Hamstein Music, Passes". MusicRow. Retrieved January 21, 2024.
  5. ^ a b c Blackstock, Peter (September 3, 2016). "Longtime ZZ Top manager Bill Ham dies at 79". The Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved January 21, 2024.
  6. ^ "Spencer Corey Goodman #605". Clarkprosecutor.org.
  7. ^ "Execution Report: Spencer Goodman - Page 1". Txexecutions.org.
  8. ^ "2000: Spencer Corey Goodman". Executedtoday.com. Retrieved August 3, 2023.

External links[edit]