ZZ Top dominated the music scene in the early 1980s with hits like “Gimme All Your Lovin’” and “Legs,” but a decade before that, the band recorded one of their most iconic hits which is still a fan favorite today.
On AXS TV's upcoming episode of "The Big Interview with Dan Rather" — available Tuesday, March 14 at 8/7 p.m. CST on AXS TV — ZZ Top guitarist and vocalist Billy Gibbons talks about the band’s signature song "La Grange,” and explains why it took four decades for the band to get an invite to play the song in the city it made famous in the second part of his interview with Rathers (check out some of part one in the video below).
In 1973, the Texas-based band released the album Tres Hombres, which featured the boogie-driven single, “La Grange,” a little ditty written about the Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Texas, the brothel that later inspired the musical The Best little Whorehouse in Texas. Billy Gibbons’ signature guitar riff was a staple of the song, and it skyrocketed the band to the top of the charts.
“It was our first Top 10,” Gibbons tells Rather. “And to this day, 47 years later, we still play it nightly. It’s still one of the favorites.”
Still, Gibbons noted that the city of La Grange didn’t initially welcome ZZ Top with open arms. In fact, La Grange didn’t give the trio any lovin’ for quite some time, because for 40 years ZZ Top was never invited to play the song in the town of the same name. “For four decades one of our popular numbers, being ‘LaGrange,’ had yet to see the band perform in La Grange,” Gibbons says.
A call from an agent about the Fayette County Fair changed all that. “We fell over backwards. We said 'It's about time,'” Gibbons says of the fateful day in 2015 that the band was finally invited to play the Texas town.
While the Fayette County fair usually draws about 6000 people, that year it ballooned to 35,000 ticket buyers. And it sounds like, for Gibbons and ZZ Top fans alike, it was worth the wait for rock’ n roll history to be made.
“It was a grand, grand evening,” Gibbons says.
You can catch Billy Gibbons’ full conversation with Dan Rather in an hour-long episode of The Big Interview, which premieres Tuesday, March 14th at 8/7 p.m. CST on AXS TV.