ZZ Top - La Grange

ZZ Top - La Grange

"La Grange" is a song by the American rock group ZZ Top, from their 1973 album Tres Hombres. One of ZZ Top's most successful songs, it was released as a single in 1973 and received extensive radio play, rising to No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1974. The song refers to a brothel on the outskirts of La Grange, Texas (later called the "Chicken Ranch"). The brothel is also the subject of the Broadway play and film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

In a 1985 interview with Spin magazine, ZZ Top bass player Dusty Hill explained: "Did you ever see the movie, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas? That's what it's about. I went there when I was 13. A lot of boys in Texas, when it's time to be a guy, went there and had it done. Fathers took their sons there. You couldn't cuss in there. You couldn't drink. It had an air of respectability. Miss Edna wouldn't stand for no bulls--t. That's the woman that ran the place, and you know she didn't look like Dolly Parton, either. I'll tell you, she was a mean-looking woman. But oil field workers and senators would both be there. The place had been open for over 100 years, and then this a--hole decides he's going to do an exposé and close it. And he stirred up so much s--t that it had to close.

ZZ Top

Hill continued, “La Grange is a little bitty town, and little towns in Texas are real conservative. But they fought against it. They didn't want it closed, because it was like a landmark. It was on a little ranch outside of town, the Chicken Ranch. Anyway, we wrote this song and put it out, and it was out maybe three months before they closed it. It pissed me off. It was a whorehouse, but anything that lasts a hundred years, there's got to be a reason."

The first time ZZ Top played the song in La Grange, Texas was during the Fayette County Fair on September 5, 2015. In March 2020 the song re-entered the Billboard charts following the release of the documentary ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band from Texas. The initial groove of the song is based on a traditional boogie blues rhythm used by John Lee Hooker in "Boogie Chillen'". In 1992, music publisher Bernard Besman filed a lawsuit against the members of ZZ Top, alleging that ‘La Grange’ infringed on ‘Boogie Chillen’’. A federal judge dismissed the case in 1995.

In March 2005, Q Magazine placed ‘La Grange’ at 92nd of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. The song is also ranked No. 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."

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Label – London
Songwriters – Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard
Producer – Bill Ham


[Verse 1]
Rumor spreading round in that Texas town
About that shack outside La Grange
And you know what I'm talking about
Just let me know if you wanna go
To that home out on the range
They gotta lotta nice girls
Have mercy
A-haw haw haw-haw
Heh, a-haw haw-haw
[Verse 2]
Well, I hear it's fine if you got the time
And the ten to get yourself in
A hmm, hmm
And I hear it's tight most every night
But now I might be mistaken
Hmm, hmm, hmm
Have mercy
[Instrumental Outro: 1:13-3:50]
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