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 singles.
Ham was born in Waxahachie, Texas in 1937. His first involvement with the music industry was as a recording artist for Dot Records, which released a Billy Mack Ham album produced by Pat Boone.
Career[edit source | edit]
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. In later years, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard replaced the earlier members and the band achieved success as a trio consisting of Gibbons, Hill and Beard.
Bill Ham was working as a record promo 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.
Ham was instrumental to ZZ Top's success, co-writing songs, producing their hit albums, and constructing their image, and he continued as manager up to and including 1996's Rhythmeen album and tour. Ham also recruited the Texas guitarist and singer/songwriter Jay Boy Adams into the ZZ Top family. He 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 guitar master Van Wilks was also a big part of Bill Ham's Lone Wolf Productions throughout the years and toured with ZZ on many occasions.