Z.z. Hill biography
Z.Z Hill ( born Arziel Hill September 30, 1935, Naples, Texas — died April 27, 1984, Dallas, Texas) was a popular charting southern blues singer and guitarist from the late 60's until his death in the mid 1980s. He made recordings released on a variety of labels, including Kent, M.H, Capricorn, Quinvy, Atlantic, Mankind, Hill, United Artists Columbia and later Malaco.
He started his career as a gospel singer touring Texas with The Spiritual Five in the 1950's but started gigging solo in Dallas in local R&B clubs with the bands of Big Bo Thomas and Frank Shelton. By the mid 60's he was recording soulful rock n roll with an emphasis on bluesy balladry. Z.Z Hill's style is somewhat reminiscent of other southern blues & soul singers like Percy Sledge, Bobby Bland and his biggest influence B.B King, which is supposedly where he got the idea to shorten his name to Z.Z.
He started hitting his commercial stride with early 70's hits including Chokin' Kind, Don't Make Me Pay For His Mistakes, and Faithful and True. While signed to Columbia, "Love Is So Good When You're Stealing It," spent 18 weeks on the Billboard R&B chart in the summer of 1977. Cheatin' In The Next Room was released in early 1982 and broke into the top 20 nationally, spending a total of 20 weeks on the charts.
His song Down Home Blues helped propel a 1982 album of the same name to stay on the Billboard soul album chart for nearly two years. Songs like "Someone Else Is Steppin In" and "Open House" have become R&B/Southern soul standards. During his career his songs were generally produced, arranged and/or provided by other talented writers and R&B legends including Lamont Dozier, Swamp Dogg, Dan Penn, Gary U.S Bonds, Denise LaSalle and Allen Toussaint.
Z. Z Hill's career was cut short when he died suddenly of a heart attack, after a road accident in 1984[ at the age of 48.