Album: Tequila (1957)
Charted: 5 1
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  • Tequila is an alcoholic beverage named after a town in Mexico. It is a key ingredient in Margaritas and is often done as a shot by licking salt, taking the drink, then sucking a lemon wedge. Many bars turn this song into a production, often offering shots of tequila directly from the bottle.
  • This was originally released as the B-side of an aptly named song by The Champs called "Train to Nowhere" in December 1957. Disc jockeys flipped the single and played "Tequila" instead, and in March 1958, it went to #1 in America, where it stayed for five weeks, making the song one of the biggest hits of the '50s.
  • Danny Flores, who was the saxophone player in The Champs, wrote this song (it's credited to his pen name, Chuck Rio).

    Flores had the melody kicking around for a while, and would play it as an interlude during the group's club shows. He was a tequila drinker, so when the band decided to record his melody as a B-side, he named it "Tequila" and added the spoken title, which he voiced.
  • According to Leo Kulka, who was the second engineer, this song was an afterthought after the band recorded "Train to Nowhere" (the A-side of the record). Some of the musicians had already left the studio when it was brought up that nothing had been recorded for the B-side. The remaining musicians were rounded up and the song was written on the spot. The "Tequila" part of the song was simply a silly attempt to cover up the holes in the song. After all, it was just the B-side. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Keith - Reno, NV
  • The Champs were a Los Angeles group that named themselves after Gene Autry's horse, Champion. The "Train to Nowhere"/"Tequila" single was their first release. They had a few more modest instrumental hits, including the follow-up, "El Rancho Rock," which reached #30 in the US, but never came close to the success of "Tequila." Later members of the group included Glen Campbell, Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts (Seals & Crofts of '70s fame).
  • The group released more Tequila-related songs, including "Too Much Tequila" and "Tequila Twist." After The Champs, the Eagles were the next group to chart with a "Tequila" song, reaching #64 with "Tequila Sunrise" in 1973. The beverage fell out of favor musically in the '80s, but was revived in the '90s by Terrorvision ("Tequila") and Sammy Hagar ("Mas Tequila"). It later became a hot topic in country songs, with tracks like "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" and "You and Tequila."
  • As the song started climbing the chart, a sax player named Eddie Platt released a competing version that reached #20. Other cover versions of the song to chart are by:

    Bill Black's Combo - #91 in 1964
    Hot Butter - #105 in 73
    A.L.T. & The Lost Civilization - #48 in 1992
  • This was featured in the 1985 movie Pee Wee's Big Adventure. It was used in a scene where Pee Wee Herman wins over the crowd in a biker bar by doing a dance to the song. The movie was the first feature film directed by Tim Burton, and Danny Elfman wrote the score.
  • This won for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance at the first ever Grammy Awards in 1959. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France

Comments: 18

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaInteresting, because I have read several books that say the Champs were actually a group of pro musicians (as in studio) and they made up a band to travel when the song broke big.
  • Moanin' Lisa from Chillicothe Mo.Great instrumental. Great to dance to. Back in the late Sixties when I attended Univ. of Kansas (Lawrence, Ks), this was on the jukebox in a popular off-campus tavern. What wild, raunchy times there!! Dancing to "Tequila," twist records, & Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels. Then, much later seeing PeeWee Herman's hilarious movie with PeeWee dancing to "Tequila" in his silver platform shoes!! Ahhh !!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 7th 1958, the Champs performed "Tequila" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    The group also performed their next charted record, "El Rancho Rock, on the same 'Bandstand' show; it entered Billboard's Top 100 chart two weeks later on May 20th, 1958 and eventually peaked at #30 while spent 10 weeks on the Top 100.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 20th 1958, the Champs performed "Tequila," on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...."
    Danny Flores, aka Chuck Rio, passed away on September 19th, 2006 at the age of 77 (he wrote "Tequila"; and he was the voice who says 'tequila' on the record)...
    On the same 'Sullivan' show, Kathy Linden sang "Billy", it reached #7 on Billboard's Top 100 chart.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 10th, 1960, the Champs performed "Too Much Tequila" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Twenty-nine days earlier on January 12th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #89; and on February 29th it peaked at #30 (for 1 week) and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
    Two years earlier on February 18th, 1958 the Champ's "Tequila" entered the Top 100; eventually it peaked at #1 (for 5 weeks) and stayed on the chart for 19 weeks.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, Tx'Train to Nowhere' is a snappy little tune as well. Not sure why it wasn't popular, as it topped quite a few other instrumentals of the era.
  • Jeff from Centennial, CoOur son's grammar school band, because the director didn't want to get in trouble, asked the kids to vote on what they would yell out instead of "tequila." They chose "Fruitopia," a high-sugar beverage popular with the kids at the time, the mid-1990s.
  • Michael from Mcfarland, WiDon't be fooled by the listing for this band into thinking they were 1-hit wonders. They released many rockin instrumentals, my favorite of which was their rendition of "El Rancho Grande" which became "El Rancho Rock". It features excellent sax work and a stinging guitar solo!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyThe Champs had two more songs that made the Top 100 with 'Tequila' in the title. In 1960 they recorded "Too Much Tequila" whick peaked at #30 and then in 1962 it was "Tequila Twist" but it only peaked at #99...
  • Mike from Franklin County, Pa(from recipe book "Cooking Texas Style : A Heritage of Traditional Recipes" ): (Tequila Solo)"Tequila is Mexico's most popular drink and its popularity has crossed the Texas border. It is made from the juice of the agave plant and it packs quite a wallop. Tequila is used as a base for many delicious mixed drinks , but the drinking of a 'Solo' is steeped in tradition . To do it properly , you must follow the ritual with the salt and the lime . Afterward , chase it with a cold beer , if desired , to help put out some of the fire . 1 jigger tequila , wedge of lime , shaker of salt. Assemble ingredients . Moisten the 'V' between the thumb and index finger with tongue . Sprinkle salt on the moistened area. Take a bite of the lime pulp , lick the salt on the hand and down jigger of tequila in one gulp. Chase with another bite of lime , if desired. YIELD : 1 serving . "
  • Mike from Franklin County, PaPeople who listens to the song "Tequila" for the first time , doesn't seem to understand what the song is really about . Tequila is a popular Mexican alcoholic beverage in Mexico and Texas ; made from the Agave ( pronounced a - ga - veh ) plant that is fermented into a yellow clear water - like liquor . It is a very strong and powerful beverage , and can pack quite a wallop when swallowed straight - down from a shot glass . It can be drank as - is , mix with fruits for a Margarita or a Daquiri , or served with margarita salt and a slice of key lime for a Tequila Solo . Sometimes it's serves in a bottle with the Agave Worm ( notice that the worm in the bottle is not there to look pretty ; but to eat swallow with the Tequila ). There are many many different brands under different names ( like "Jos'e Cuevo" ), and all are strong according to their fermention .
  • Arsenio from San Antonio, TxThis is from USA Today:

    HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- Danny Flores, who played the saxophone and shouted the word "tequila!" in the 1950s hit song Tequila!, has died. He was 77.
    In 1957, Flores was in a group that recorded some work with rockabilly singer Dave Burgess. One of the songs was based on a nameless riff Flores had written. He played the "dirty" saxophone part and repeatedly growled the single-word lyric: "Tequila!"
    The next year it appeared as the B-side of a single, credited to the Champs. Flores used the name Chuck Rio because he was under contract to a different record label.
    Tequila! went to No. 1 on the Billboard chart and won a Grammy in 1959 for best rhythm and blues performance. Flores continued to play it for the next 40 years.
    "I can honestly tell you he never got tired of playing that song," said his wife, Sharee.
    The song has been used in numerous commercials and TV shows. It became popular with a new generation after it was used in the 1985 movie Pee Wee's Big Adventure.
    "After that, we got shows all over the U.S.," said Mrs. Flores, who sang in the shows. "All these younger people who hadn't heard it were suddenly in love with the song. Danny was just so proud of it."

    Hope it helps.
  • Devon from Westerville, OhThis song was also covered by The Ventures. which is the version I'm used to.
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InNot enough lyricless songs get credit for what they are. This so happens to be one that does. I use to be a Tequila drinker in my younger days and I love the scene in Pee Wee's Big Adventure where he does the dance of life.
  • John from Okemah, OkI played with Buddy Bruce yesterday at a winery in Vinita, OK. He told me that tequila was just a sound check (you know, one intstrument at a time) and the lead singer was too drunk off tequila to sing, so they just made him say "Tequila". Also he said the only reason that song took off is because the dj accidently played the B side instead of the A side, and everyone kept calling in requesting it.
  • Rich from Woodland, CaThese lyrics begin with the sax solo sixteen bars into the song:
    We pick up a little lemon/Wepick up a little lime.
    We go over to my Brother's/And we have a real good time.
    He crush up a little ice,now/He put salt around the rim.
    He pours in an extra giger/The girls be 'a lovin him.
    Drinkin' Tequila, Drinkin' Tequila, Drinkin' Tequila... Tell me what did I just say? TEQUILA!!
    The party is really goin'/ The girls all get up to dance
    I'm liking the little blond one/Man!, How'd she get in those pants??
    (Sax solo)
    Drinkin'Tequila (Etc...)
    Now, don't think that I'm complaining/Cause I'm liking all I see.
    If I am a lucky guy,now/She'll come over sit with me.
    Then we'll go Drinkin'Tequila,now/ You know we'll go drinkin'Tequila,now/Here we go drinkin' Tequila,now /One more time drinkin'Tequila,now, Don't you stop drinkin' Tequila,now/ One more time,drinkin' Tequila,now/Here we go drinkin' Tequila, now. What did I say? TEQUILA!!!
    It took a group of musicians that didn't make it out of the door in time one night to record this classic. 42 years later I wrote words. I hope thgat I did the best party song justice. Let me know. Rich Verdugo (707)301-8847
  • Roger from Seattle, WaBill Lynn has stated that the group was named "The Champs" after their manager's (Gene Autry) horse "Champion."
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