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Published on Oct 13, 2009
"La Grange" is the hit song from ZZ Top's 1973 album "Tres Hombres". The song charted highest at number 41. Compared to the Top 10: "You're So Vain" - Carly Simon, "Crocodile Rock" -Elton John, "Superstitious" - Stevie Wonder, "Killing Me Softly" -Roberta Flack, etc. Don't get me wrong, those are some really good songs themselves. La Grange was just as good I'd say though. It certainly has stood the test of time just as long as well.
Notice that if you listen closely to the lyrics, you realize that they are describing a whorehouse. The lyrics are graphic, but also ambiguous and short. Just like the great original blues songs. But most songs in the 1973 pop charts, especially a Top 10 hit, didn't contain many profanities. Only a group like ZZ Top could get away with something like this and have the blurred message slip through the radio airwaves.
The blues influence in this song is undeniable. The "Haw haw haw's" are a tribute to the great blues master John Lee Hooker.
Another aspect in this song that makes it stand-out is the guitar riff- it's just one of the best of all-time. In Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All-Time" issue, they talk about how Billy Gibbons' first band opened for Jimi Hendrix in the late 60's. Jimi was very impressed with Billy's guitar playing. There is a reason why Jimi Hendrix once said that Billy Gibbons was going to be the next big guitarist. He was right. This song is just one of many proves that, and showcases Billy's talents on the guitar.
Rumour spreadin' a-'round In that Texas town 'Bout that shack outside La Grange And you know what I'm talkin' about Just let me know If you wanna go To that home out on the range They gotta lotta nice girls ah
A haw, haw, haw, haw, a haw A haw, haw, haw
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 ev'ry night But now I might be mistaken hmm, hmm, hmm