Great Rock Albums of 1981: ZZ Top- El Loco


I first listened to “El Loco” in conjunction with another classic ZZ Top album “Tres Hombres.” For me, it turned out to be a double delight getting to listen to two great albums by the same band one after another and it marked another turning point in my musical life. It wasn’t until 1981 that I listened to any ZZ Top at all. That was because back in 1977, the uncle of my best friend had one of their albums, (I don’t know which), and he said it sucked and I was dumb enough back then to let that influence my music listening tastes. That is why I never listened to them back in the 70s and why I don’t allow things like that to happen anymore.

“Tres Hombres” has my two favourite ZZ Top songs of all time on it. You’ll have to read my 1979 post to discover which ones, but “El Loco” is a very good album too. The album was also the beginning of a turning point for the band musically. It was the first album they would use synthesisers in some of their songs and I must comment that they do a grand job of it on the track, “Groovy Little Hippy Pad.” For the most part, however, they stay true to their more bluesier roots. The first track “Tube Snake Boogie” is a classic and still has me rocking away to it whenever I hear it. Billy Gibbons shows his guitar worth on that and many of the other songs here. The final two tracks, “Heaven, Hell or Houston” and “Party on the Patio” are definite standouts. The band also reinforces another dimension to their music in the fact that they have a sense of humour with their songs. “Ten Foot Pole,” “Pearl Necklace” and the fore mentioned “Groovy Little Hippy Pad” bear witness to this. All in all, I remain thankful to yet another old marine buddy who opened my eyes to more cool music in the shape of ZZ Top and “El Loco.”

Track Listing:

1. Tube Snake Boogie

2. I Wanna Drive You Home

3. Ten Foot Pole

4. Leila

5. Don’t Tease Me

6. It’s So Hard

7. Pearl Necklace

8. Groovy Little Hippy Pad

9. Heaven, Hell or Houston

10. Party on the Patio

ZZ Top

ZZ Top

Billy Gibbons- guitar, vocals

Dusty Hill- bass, keyboards, vocals

Frank Beard- drums

I may have missed some of the classic ZZ Top albums when they came out in the 70s, although I did make up for that in the 80s, it didn’t stop me from appreciating what a great band ZZ Top are. The more I travel back in time, the more I have grateful I am to the USMC. Hard core Republicans might not like this fact but my experiences there opened a great chasm in my musical awareness and played a major role in shaping me in the metal head I was to eventually become. I can say that ZZ Top had an hand in that too.

Next post: 1981 Triumph and Tragedy

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to


2 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1981: ZZ Top- El Loco”

  1. Again, cool story.

    Tube Snake Boogie, for a while anyway, was my favourite ZZ Top song. I still love it.


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