El Loco

El Loco is the seventh studio album by the American rock band ZZ Top, released in 1981. The title means "The Crazy One" in Spanish. The band's guitarist/singer Billy Gibbons has said that the recording of this album was the first time the three members of the band were isolated from one another in the studio, rather than recording simultaneously in the same room. It also foreshadowed ZZ Top's synthesizer-driven direction later in the decade, with early experimentations in synthesizer backing on certain tracks.

El Loco
ZZ Top - El Loco.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 1981[1]
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerBill Ham
ZZ Top chronology
El Loco
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars [2]
Robert ChristgauB+ [3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[4]


El Loco was produced by Bill Ham and recorded and originally mixed by Terry Manning. The biographer David Blayney explains in his book Sharp Dressed Men that the recording engineer Linden Hudson was involved as a pre-producer on this album.[5] Hudson did not receive credit for engineering the tracks on "Groovy Little Hippie Pad" which were used on the final album mix. In 1987, most of the band's back catalog received a controversial "digitally enhanced" remix treatment for CD release; however, El Loco did not receive this remix treatment and the original mix of the album has been available on CD since 1987.

On June 3, 2013, Gibbons told Joe Bosso of MusicRadar.com that the album was "a really interesting turning point", explaining that the band had "befriended somebody who would become an influential associate, a guy named Linden Hudson. He was a gifted songwriter and had production skills that were leading the pack at times. He brought some elements to the forefront that helped reshape what ZZ Top were doing, starting in the studio and eventually to the live stage. [He] had no fear and was eager to experiment in ways that would frighten most bands. But we followed suit, and the synthesizers started to show up on record. Manufacturers were looking for ways to stimulate sales, and these instruments started appearing on the market. One of our favorite tracks was "Groovy Little Hippie Pad". Right at the very opening, there it is – the heavy sound of a synthesizer. For us, there was no turning back."[6] Gibbons would later cite seeing a Devo soundcheck in Houston as inspiring the synthesizer line on "Groovy Little Hippie Pad." [7]

Track listingEdit

All songs by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard.

Side one
  1. "Tube Snake Boogie" – 3:03
  2. "I Wanna Drive You Home" – 4:44
  3. "Ten Foot Pole" – 4:19
  4. "Leila" – 3:13
  5. "Don't Tease Me" – 4:20
Side two
  1. "It's So Hard" – 5:12
  2. "Pearl Necklace" – 4:02
  3. "Groovy Little Hippie Pad" – 2:40
  4. "Heaven, Hell or Houston" – 2:32
  5. "Party on the Patio" – 2:49



  • Producer – Bill Ham
  • Engineer – Terry Manning
  • Pre-production engineer - Linden Hudson
  • Mastering – Bob Ludwig
  • Design – Bob Alford
  • Photography – Bob Alford

Who’s the 4th guy on the album cover??


AlbumBillboard (United States)

Year Chart Position
1981 Pop Albums 17

SinglesBillboard (United States)

Year Single Chart Position
1981 "Leila" Pop Singles 77
1981 "Pearl Necklace" Mainstream Rock 28
1981 "Tube Snake Boogie" Mainstream Rock 4


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[8] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "ZZ Top". Ultimate Music Database. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  2. ^ El Loco at AllMusic
  3. ^ Robert Christgau. "ZZ Top". Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  4. ^ Cross, Charles R. (2004). "ZZ Top". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 907-8. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  5. ^ Blayney, David (1994). Sharp Dressed Men. New York: Hyperion. pp. 196–202. ISBN 0-7868-8005-8.
  6. ^ http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/billy-gibbons-talks-zz-top-the-complete-studio-albums-1970-1990-575728
  7. ^ https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-lists/billy-gibbons-my-life-in-15-songs-151784/groovy-little-hippie-pad-1981-143189/
  8. ^ "American album certifications – ZZ Top – El Loco". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 9, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.