La Grange (song)

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"La Grange"
Single by ZZ Top
from the album Tres Hombres
B-side "Just Got Paid"
Released 1973
Format 7"
Recorded Brian Studios
Ardent Studios
Memphis, Tennessee
Genre Blues rock,[1] boogie rock[2]
Length 3:51
Label London
Writer(s) Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard
Producer(s) Bill Ham
ZZ Top singles chronology
"Waitin' for the Bus" / "Jesus Just Left Chicago"
(1973)
"La Grange"
(1973)
"Tush"
(1975)
Music sample

"La Grange" is a song by the American rock group ZZ Top from their album Tres Hombres, released in 1973. One of their most successful songs, it was released in 1973 and received extensive radio play, rising to number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974. The song refers to a brothel on the outskirts of La Grange, Texas (later called 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.

Overview[edit]

In March 2005, Q magazine placed "La Grange" at 92nd of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.[3] The song is also ranked number 74 on Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone called the song "a standard for guitarists to show off their chops".[4]

Billy Gibbons played the lead on a 1955 Stratocaster with a stop tailpiece through a Marshall Super Lead 100 with Celestion greenback speakers. The song was produced by Bill Ham, and mixed by Terry Manning.

The initial groove of the song is based on a traditional boogie blues rhythm used by John Lee Hooker in his "Boogie Chillen'" and Slim Harpo's "Shake Your Hips". A failed lawsuit by the copyright holder of Boogie Chillen' resulted in the court ruling that the rhythm was in the public domain.[5]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1974) Peak
position
Australia (Go-Set National Top 40)[6] 15
Australia (Kent Music Report)[7] 21
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[8] 34
France (IFOP)[9] 58
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 41
US Cash Box[11] 24
US Record World[12] 33

Appearances[edit]

Covers[edit]

  • A cover of the song by Junkie XL appears in the Xbox game Forza Motorsport.
  • A cover of this song, with an edited solo in the later part of the song (in order to cover up the final fade-out), was used for the music video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, and Guitar Hero: On Tour.
  • The song is covered by the French artist Renaud Papillon Paravel as well as by Hank Williams, Jr.
  • The song was covered by Crazy Backwards Alphabet on their lone album.
  • D.O.A. recorded a faithful cover of the song for their 2002 EP Play It Over and Over Again. The liner notes included a comment from lead singer/guitarist Joey "Shithead" Keithley lamenting his inability to find the brothel that inspired the song when D.O.A. were touring through Texas.
  • Tracy Byrd released a country version of the song in 2002 for the album Sharp Dressed Men: A Tribute to ZZ Top.
  • The band Phish covered it often in their early career, especially the late 1980s and 1990, but was almost completely dropped from rotation after 1991, appearing only sparsely throughout their extensive touring schedule. It was played for the first time since September 22, 1999 on July 8, 2012 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York as the first-set closer.
  • The song was covered by Molotov on their album Con Todo Respeto (Spanish for "with all due respect"), where they changed the lyrics.
  • The song was covered live by G3 and recorded on the G3: Live in Tokyo concert.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gordon, Reverend Keith A. "ZZ Top Profile". About.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 22, 2014. "Adding a little John Lee Hooker-inspired boogie to their blues-rock sound, songs like "La Grange" (...) found the band hitting their stride" 
  2. ^ "Boogie Rock (Top Songs)". Allmusic. All Media Network. Archived from the original on August 9, 2011. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Q Magazine – 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks Ever!". Q magazine. March 2005. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  4. ^ "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Archived from the original on May 31, 2008. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  5. ^ "La Grange by ZZ Top". Songfacts. ToneMedia. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts – 13 July 1974". Poparchives.com.au. Retrieved June 10, 2013.  cf. last week position
  7. ^ bulion. "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  8. ^ "RPM Top Singles. RPM. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
  9. ^ (French) "InfoDisc : Tous les Titres par Artiste". Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. InfoDisc.fr. June 10, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2013.  Select "ZZ Top" from the artist drop-down menu
  10. ^ "Tres Hombres – Awards". Allmusic. All Media Network. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  11. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JULY 13, 1974". Cash Box magazine. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  12. ^ "RECORD WORLD 1974". Geocities.com. Record World. Archived from the original on June 28, 2004. Retrieved February 20, 2014.