La Grange

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“La Grange” is a song by the rock group ZZ Top from their album Tres Hombres, released in 1973. Considered to be “one-chord blues”, it is one of their most successful songs. It was released in 1973 and received extensive radio play, rising to #41 in the Billboard Pop Singles list in 1974.

The song refers to a country brothel on the outskirts of La Grange, Texas (later notoriously known as the “Chicken Ranch”). This brothel is also the subject of the Broadway play and film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the latter starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds.

The initial groove of the song is based on a traditional blues lick also used by John Lee Hooker in his “Boogie Chillen” and Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips.” This song itself was subsequently covered by Crazy Backwards Alphabet on their lone album.

In March 2005, Q magazine placed “La Grange” at number 92 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.

Billy Gibbons indicated in Guitar World, Guitar Legends, that the lead was played with a 1955 Stratocaster with a stop tailpiece through a Marshall Super Lead 100 with Celestion greenback speakers.

In recent years, when the band played the song in concert, it has become a tradition for them to abruptly stop playing in the middle of it, at which point Gibbons and bassist Dusty Hill shout out, “Hell yeah!” before resuming the song.

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