b. Arzel 'Z.Z.' Hill, 30th September 1935, Naples, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 27th April 1984, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.
Z.Z. Hill is a hugely underrated Soul and Blues singer, whose recording career began in the late Fifties, and continued up until his untimely death in 1984.
Born in Naples, Texas, Arzell Hill was part of a gospel group called The Spiritual Five, in the late Fifties.
The Spiritual Five were a Dallas based ensemble.
At the emergence of the Sixties, he was penning songs influenced by the sound and style these singers.
five will get you ten b/w the right to love - 1963 / you were wrong b/w tomble weed - 1964
In 1964, he relocated to California and signed to his brothers M.H. Records imprint, following a short residence at the Mesa Records label.
At the label he released ‘You Were Wrong’ b/w 'Tomble Weed' which charted.
the soul stirring z.z. hill - 1965 / a whole lot of soul - 1969 / the brand new z.z. hill - 1971 / the bluest blues - 1971
He switched labels to the Kent Records imprint, and began releasing material for the label.
Another label change saw him at the Capricorn Records label, however his deal at the label was a difficult experience for the singer.
His contract was bought out by Jerry ‘Swamp Dogg’ Williams' Mankind imprint, which enabled the singer to complete his contract.
By 1971, Z.Z. was recording in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
He began achieving some success with the singles ‘Faithful & True’ b/w 'I Think I'd Do It' and ‘Chokin' Kind’ b/w 'Hold Back (One Man At A Time)'.
the best thing that happened to me - 1972 / z.z. - 1974 / keep on loving you - 1975 / let's make a deal - 1978
Z.Z. switched labels again to the United Artists imprint, where he began establishing further success.
His 1975 album ‘Keep On Lovin’ You’ showcased some of these songs, including the popular Lamont Dozier melody, ‘That Ain’t The Way You Make Love’ (which was later sampled by Madvillain in their single, ‘Fancy Clown’).
He moved from United Artists to Columbia in the mid Seventies and realised one of his biggest selling hits, ‘Love Is So Good When You're Stealing It’ b/w 'Need You By My Side'.
The song spent 18 weeks on the Billboard R&B chart in 1977.
the music of z.z. hill - 1979 / z.z.hill - 1981 / the rhythm and the blues - 1982 / down home - 1982
As with many Blues and Soul vocalists, a welcome home was to be found at the Malaco Records label, to which he signed to in 1979.
At Malaco he released ‘I’m Gonna Stop You From Givin' Me The Blues’ in 1980.
One of Z.Z.’s evergreen songs came in the form of songwriter George Jackson's ‘Cheatin' In The Next Room’ which saw the light of day in 1982.
The song reached the top 20 nationally, spending 20 weeks on the charts.
At Malaco he released another George Jackson song, ‘Down Home Blues’, which sold over one million copies.
i'm a blues man - 1983 / bluesmaster - 1984
Further Eighties sides included ‘Someone Else Is Steppin' In’, ‘Bump And Grind’, ‘Shade Tree Mechanic’, and "Get You Some Business’.
In 1984, Z.Z. Hill died in Dallas at the age of 48 from a heart attack following a road accident.
The Soul Stirring Z.Z. Hill (Kent Records 1965)
A Whole Lot Of Soul (Kent Records 1969)
The Bluest Blues (Excello Records 1971)
The Brand New Z Z Hill (Mankind Records 1972)
Dues Paid In Full (Kent Records 1972)
The Best Thing That's Ever Happened To Me (Mankind Records 1972)
Keep On Loving You (United Artists Records 1975)
Let's Make A Deal (Columbia Records 1978)
Mark Of Z Z (Columbia Records 1979)
Z Z Hill (Malaco Records 1981)
Down Home (Malaco Records 1982)
The Rhythm And The Blues (Malaco Records 1982)
I'm A Blues Man (Malaco Records 1983)
Bluesmaster (Malaco Records 1984)