Tres Hombres

Tres Hombres is the third studio album by the American rock band ZZ Top. It was originally released by London Records in July 1973 and was the first album on which the band worked with engineer Terry Manning. Tres Hombres, Spanish for "Three Men", was a successful combination as the release was the band's commercial breakthrough. In the US, the album entered the top ten while the single "La Grange" reached number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Tres Hombres
ZZ Top - Tres Hombres.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 26, 1973
StudioBrian Studios & Ardent Studios, Memphis, Tennessee
ProducerBill Ham
ZZ Top chronology
Rio Grande Mud
Tres Hombres
Singles from Tres Hombres
  1. "La Grange"
    Released: 1973
Song sample
21-second excerpt of "La Grange"

Background and releaseEdit

Frontman Billy Gibbons said of the album:

We could tell that we had something special. The record became quite the turning point for us. The success was handwriting on the wall, because from that point we became honorary citizens of Memphis.[1]

At the height of ZZ Top's success in the mid-1980s a digitally remixed version of the recording was released on CD and the original 1973 mix was no longer issued. The remix version created controversy among fans because it significantly changed the sound of the instruments, especially drums. The remix version was used on all early CD copies and was the only version available for over 20 years. A remastered and expanded edition of the album was released on February 28, 2006, which contains three bonus live tracks. The 2006 edition is the first CD version to use Manning's original 1973 mix. Subsequent releases on digital platforms such as iTunes have used the original mix as well.

A Quadraphonic version was released in 1973.[2]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [5]
The Daily VaultB+[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [7]

The album was released in July 1973 to a lukewarm reception. Steve Apple in a September 1973 review for Rolling Stone felt that while the "Southern rock & roll sound" was becoming popular, ZZ Top themselves were "only one of several competent Southern rocking bands", though they had "an advantage over most white rockers" because they "sound black". Apple felt that ZZ Top had "the dynamic rhythms that only the finest of the three-piece bands can cook up. Billy Gibbons plays a tasty Duane Allman lead with Dusty Hill and Frank Beard pounding out the funky bottom", and were "one of the most inventive of the three-piece rockers" but wondered when "audiences will get tired of hearing the same ... 'Poot yawl hans together' patter."[8]


In 2000 it was voted number 501 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.[9] In 2003, the album was ranked number 498 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and in 2012 ranked at number 490 on a revised list.[10] The album peaked at number 8 on the Billboard 200. In July 2013, 40 years after its release, the album was described by Andrew Dansby in the Houston Chronicle as "... full of characters and doings so steeped in caricature – yet presented straight-faced – as to invite skepticism. The album is stuffed with color and flavor, much like its famous gate-fold photo on the inside: a gut-busting couple of plates of food from the much-beloved but now-closed Leo's Mexican Restaurant on South Shepherd near Westheimer."[11] AllMusic commented that "Tres Hombres is the record that brought ZZ Top their first top ten record, making them stars in the process. It couldn't have happened to a better record", and rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars.[12] Andy Beta of Pitchfork awarded the album 9.0 out of 10, writing that, "ZZ Top's 1973 breakthrough was a masterful melding of complementary styles, cramming Southern rock and blues boogie through the band's own idiosyncratic filter."[13]

Recording and singlesEdit

The two tracks "Waitin' for the Bus" and "Jesus Just Left Chicago" segue seamlessly into each other. Although there are many stories of it being a "mistake", it is in fact an intentional effect according to the album's engineer Terry Manning, who performed the edit.[14]

The only single released from the album was "La Grange" (b/w "Just Got Paid" from the band's second album Rio Grande Mud) which peaked at number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1974.[15]

Track listingEdit

Side one
1."Waitin' for the Bus"Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill2:59
2."Jesus Just Left Chicago"Gibbons, Hill, Rube Beard3:30
3."Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers"Gibbons, Hill, Beard3:23
4."Master of Sparks"Gibbons3:33
5."Hot, Blue and Righteous"Gibbons3:14
Side two
1."Move Me on Down the Line"Gibbons, Hill2:32
2."Precious and Grace"Gibbons, Hill, Beard3:09
3."La Grange"Gibbons, Hill, Beard3:52
4."Sheik"Gibbons, Hill4:05
5."Have You Heard?"Gibbons, Hill3:15
2006 remaster bonus tracks
11."Waitin' for the Bus" (live)Gibbons, Hill2:42
12."Jesus Just Left Chicago" (live)Gibbons, Hill, Beard4:03
13."La Grange" (live)Gibbons, Hill, Beard4:44





Year Chart Position
1974 Billboard Pop Albums 8


Year Single Chart Position
1974 "La Grange" Billboard Pop Singles 41 (Also debuted #33 on American Top 40 June 29, 1974)


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[16] Gold 50,000^
United States (RIAA)[17] Gold 500,000^

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


  1. ^ Bosso, Joe (3 June 2013). "Billy Gibbons talks ZZ Top: The Complete Studio Albums (1970-1990)". MusicRadar.
  2. ^ "ZZ Top – Tres Hombres". Discogs. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Tres Hombres – ZZ Top; AllMusic". Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  4. ^ Beta, Andy (June 25, 2017). "ZZ Top: Tres Hombres". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  5. ^ Cross, Charles R. (2004). "ZZ Top". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 907–908. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  6. ^ Thelen, Christopher (2019). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : Tres Hombres". Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
  8. ^ Apple, Steve (September 13, 1973). "ZZ Top: Tres Hombres". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 2, 2007.
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 176. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  10. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  11. ^ Dansby, Andrew (July 31, 2013). "40 years after its release, the allure of 'Tres Hombres' lives on". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  12. ^ Tres Hombres at AllMusic. Retrieved June 11, 2012.
  13. ^ "ZZ Top: Tres Hombres Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  14. ^ "Tres Hombres". PRW Forums. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  15. ^ "The Hot 100, The week of June 29, 1974". Billboard.
  16. ^ "Canadian album certifications – ZZ Top – Tres Hombres". Music Canada. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  17. ^ "American album certifications – ZZ Top – Tres Hombres". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 9, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.