"La Grange" is a song by the American rock group, ZZ Top, from their 1973 album entitled 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 1974. Inspired by the great mathematician, Joseph-Louis Lagrange, 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, the latter starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds.

Contents Edit


  • 1 Information
  • 2 Chart performance
  • 3 Uses
  • 4 Covers
  • 5 Personnel
  • 6 References

§Information[edit] Edit

In March 2005, Q magazine placed "La Grange" at 92nd of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.[3] 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".[4]

Billy Gibbons played the lead on a 1955 Fender Stratocaster with a stop tailpiece through a Marshall Super Lead 100 amp 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 failedlawsuit by the copyright holder of Boogie Chillen' resulted in the court ruling that the rhythm was in the public domain.[5]

"La Grange" has been performed at almost every ZZ Top concert since it's release. When performed live the song is often stretched out to almost 10 minutes.[6] The long version incorporates lyrics from "Bar-B-Q" and the line "I'd rather be sloppy drunk than anything I know..." It's elongated form is referred to (and listed on setlists) as "La Grange/Sloppy Drunk Jam."[7] The jam has been performed over 700 times.[8]

§Chart performance[edit] Edit

Chart (1974) Peak


Australia (Go-Set National Top 40)[9] 15
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 21
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[11] 34
France (IFOP)[12] 58
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 41
US Cash Box[14] 24
US Record World[15] 33

§Uses[edit] Edit

  • The song was licensed for use as the title track in the 1992 pinball machine The Getaway: High Speed II.
  • It has been used in many movies, including: Shanghai NoonStripteaseArmageddonMan of the HouseThe Dukes of HazzardDogtown and Z-Boys, and the trailers for Planet 51The Rundown, and Home on the Range. A modified version of the song appears in the 2004 remake of Walking Tall.
  • Professional wrestler David Von Erich and his brother Kerry used this as their theme song in World Class Championship Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling.
  • Professional wrestler Barry Windham used an instrumental cover of "La Grange" as his theme music in the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions territory and its successor, World Championship Wrestling.
  • In 2009, it was heard in a television commercial for Samsung widescreen TVs.
  • An instrumental of the song is featured in the South Park episode Poor and Stupid (S14E08) in 2010, as Eric Cartman wreaks havoc in a NASCAR Race.
  • This song is also featured in the NASCAR The Game: 2011 soundtrack.
  • ZZ Top's version is heard in a 2011 TV commercial for Can-Am motorcycles.
  • The beginning of song was played by Billy Gibbons in an episode of Bones named "Stargazer in a Puddle".
  • When Gibbons and Hill hosted an episode of WWE Raw in 2009, they played this song with Santino Marella (who was substituting for the absent Frank Beard).
  • The song is in many Wrangler Jeans commercials with athletes including Brett Favre, and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • The song was in an IMAX movie about NASCAR in 2003.
  • This song was also used in one episode a German TV Series Alarm für Cobra 11 – Die Autobahnpolizei
  • The song played at the start of The Blacklist season 2 premiere.

§Covers[edit] Edit

  • The song has been covered by legendary Australian rock band The Angels as a B-Side to their 2015 commemorative re-release of the hit single Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again with the guitar solos completely replaced by harp solos from guitarist John Brewster.
  • The music was sampled by the Mexican rock band El Tri in the song "El Muchacho Chicho", included in their 1997 album Cuando Tú No Estás.
  • Black Oak Arkansas performs a cover of the song in the album Lynyrd Skynyrd Family & Southern Classics.
  • 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] Edit

  • Frank Beard – drums
  • Billy Gibbons – guitar, vocals
  • Dusty Hill – bass guitar
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