Today’s song is one of the biggest hits of the 1950s, the quirky anthem “Tequila” by The Champs.
- Originally recorded as a B-side to the 1957 single “Train to Nowhere,” radio DJs began playing “Tequila” instead, and it became a smash hit.
- The wong was written by “The Godfather” of Latino rock, Chuck Rio (stage name of Danny Flores)
- It was created on the spot after a recording session ended. The producer realized they didn’t have a B-side for the single “Train to Nowhere,” so the musicians picked it up and recorded it on the fly using the chant “Tequila” to fill in production holes in the recording.
- The song is mostly instrumental, with the lyric “Tequila” appearing only three times throughout the song.
- In 1958, “Tequila” shot to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B Charts.
- It won a Grammy Award in 1959.
- After recording “Tequila,” the Champs formed as an official group. They performed, recorded and toured until 1965.
- Many artists have covered the song, including The Ventures, Dr. Feelgood, Dizzy Gillespie, David Sanborn.
- Tequila has also been featured in many feature films and television series such as Happy Day’s, Two and a Half Men, Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.