ZZ Top’s “La Grange” is 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 in the Billboard Pop Singles list in 1974. The song refers to a bordello 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.
In March 2005, Q magazine placed “La Grange” at 92nd of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks, and it’s ranked number 74 on Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time”.
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 suit by the copyright holder of Boogie Chillen resulted in the court ruling that the rhythm was in the public domain.