Tequila Song - The Champs Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Tequila Song – The Champs | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1 for 5 weeks), R&B (#1 for 4 weeks); 1958

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Like so many other early rock ‘n’ roll hits, Tequila started life as a spur-of-the-moment recording. Studio time had been booked for laying down the latest single from Dave Burgess, an instrumental called Train To Nowhere. Joining Dave’s guitar were piano and sax from Danny Flores (who later changed his name to Chuck Rio). Needing a B-side for Train, Danny/Chuck tossed out a tune he used as a break song on club dates. Since Danny liked to drink tequila, Dave suggested he shout that word at appropriate points. The recording done, everyone left the studio without even listening to the playback. When the single hit the streets, the non-existent “group” was dubbed The Champs – after label owner Gene Autry’s horse, Champion. Train never left the station, and deejays began spinning the flip. Tequila not only jolted Elvis out of the #1 spot, it won the first-ever Grammy for Best R&B Performance!

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Joe Johnson (Challenge Records)

Lyrics Written by:

  • Chuck Rio


  • Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance in 1959
  • Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance in 1978