The music is based on a John Lee Hooker song called “Boogie Chillen.” Hooker died in 2001 at age 83.
In 1992, Bernard Besman, who owned the copyright to “Boogie Chillen,” claimed he had just recently heard the song and sued ZZ Top. After years of litigation, a court ruled that “Boogie Chillen” was in the public domain and ZZ Top was not liable.
This was ZZ Top’s biggest hit at the time. They were big in Texas, but it would be a few years before they became nationally known.
Learn to Play La Grange
The song is played over the A major chord and all related chords in the A major scale.
We will be needing to bar the 3rd and 4th string on the second fret (A major) in playing the La Grange riff. The song is a shuffle but instead of shuffling in the 4th fret, is the 5th.
Guitar Playing Technique
Here are a couple of guitar technique that you should be able to learn when you are done playing the guitar riff of La Grange:
- palm muting
- finger plucking instead of the spectrum
How to Play La Grange Intro Riff
Here’s how you can play the guitar riff of ZZ Top’s La Grange:
- put your left hand to the A-bar open position and finger plucked the A, D and G string for 2 counts
- palm mute the ‘and’ note and pluck the D and G string and muting it immediately.
- Next is to put your pinky finger on the D string, 5th fret right after an open A string pluck
- After hitting the D string 5th fret and G string 2nd fret, go make another open A string
- Now for the next notes, you put your pinky finger on the 5th fret of the G string.
How to Play La Grange
A /G /C (x2) A /G /C A /C /D A Rumour spreadin' around in that Texas town /C /D A /C /D A /C /D Bout that shack outside La Grange (you know what I'm talkin' about) A /C /D A Just let me know if you wanna go /C /D A /C /D A /C /D A To that home out on the range (they gotta lotta nice girls) A /C /D A /C /D Have mercy 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 every night But now I might be mistaken - hmm, hmm, hmm - have mercy... *Solo* C Eb F (x12) A Break (x2) A /G /C (x3) A A /C /D (repeat & fade)