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Tequila (The Champs song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tequila (The Champs sleeve).jpg
Single by The Champs
from the album Go, Champs, Go!
A-side"Train to Nowhere"
ReleasedJanuary 15, 1958
RecordedDecember 23, 1957
StudioGold Star Recording Studio, Hollywood, California
Songwriter(s)Daniel Flores
Producer(s)Joe Johnson (Challenge Records)
The Champs singles chronology
"Chariot Rock"

"Tequila" is a 1958 Mexican-flavored rock and roll instrumental written by Danny Flores and recorded by the Champs. "Tequila" became a No. 1 hit on both the pop and R&B charts at the time of its release and continues to be strongly referenced in pop culture to this day.[1]


In 1957, Gene Autry's record label, Challenge Records, signed Dave Burgess (born 1934), a rockabilly singer-songwriter from California who often recorded under the name "Dave Dupree". At the end of 1957, having produced no hits, Challenge Records looked to Burgess, who organized a recording session on December 23 in Hollywood. In the studio that day were Burgess on rhythm guitar, Cliff Hills on bass, the Flores Trio (Danny Flores on saxophone and keyboards, Gene Alden on drums, and lead guitarist Buddy Bruce), and Huelyn Duvall contributing backing vocals.[2] They gathered primarily to record "Train to Nowhere", a song by Burgess, as well as "Night Beat" and "All Night Rock" (a song that has never been released).

The last tune recorded was "Tequila", essentially just a jam by the Flores Trio. It is based on a Cuban mambo beat. The word "Tequila" is spoken three times throughout the tune. There were three takes, and Danny Flores, who wrote the song, was also the man who spoke the word "Tequila!". Flores also played the trademark "dirty sax" solo.[3] The song served as the B-side for "Train to Nowhere", which was released by Challenge Records on January 15, 1958. Duvall recalls that the record initially found little success, but, after a DJ in Cleveland played the B-side, "Tequila" reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart on March 28, 1958.

Daniel Flores had written "Tequila", but, because he was signed to another label, the tune was credited to "Chuck Rio", a name he adopted for the stage. Those present for the December 23 session began recording together again on January 20, 1958, under the name the Champs; the group technically formed after recording "Tequila". The tune has been noted[by whom?] to have a similar rhythm structure to Bo Diddley's 1958 release "Dearest Darling".[citation needed]

The Champs recorded a sequel to "Tequila" entitled "Too Much Tequila". Released as a maroon-label Challenge single, it reached No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2020, group leader Dave Burgess resurrected The Champs and recorded 12 new tracks for an LP entitled "Tequila Party". The album contains a "party" version of "Tequila" and is available at


In popular culture

  • Sheb Wooley's hit "The Purple People Eater" implies that "Tequila" is one of the songs the titular character learns to play with his horn; the last word of the song is the title character uttering the word "tequila." Both songs were released in 1958.
  • In the 1960 film Pepe, Cantinflas and Debbie Reynolds jumped out of a tequila bottle and danced to the tune "Tequila" dressed as Mexican peasants.
  • The song is well known for being played during high school and college football games, usually performed by the school's band.
  • The TV series Happy Days made a lot of use of the "Tequila" hit, especially at the diner scenes.
  • In the 1980 film Cheech and Chong's Next Movie, the tune was played during a montage scene in which Cheech and Chong begin customizing Cheech's work van.
  • The 1985 film Pee-wee's Big Adventure featured a scene in which Pee-wee Herman knocks over a row of motorcycles, then proceeds to win over the angered bikers by selecting "Tequila" from the jukebox and comically dancing to it. The "Pee-wee dance," as well as the character himself, have since been closely linked with the tune in popular culture. This usage of the tune was further referenced in rapper Joeski Love's track "Pee-wee's Dance", which also used "Tequila"'s melody.
  • Canadian figure skater Kurt Browning used the song for his short program during the 1987–1988 season which included the 1988 Winter Olympics.
  • A television commercial for the 1988 Mexican Velveeta used the song with "Tequila" replaced with "Velveeta" with the dancing jalapeño peppers.
  • In the 1990 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Michelangelo and Donatello dance to "Tequila" but change the lyric to "Ninjutsu!"
  • In the 2006 film Night at the Museum, the tune is played at a party Cecil is attending. Larry calls Cecil for help, but is quickly hung up on when Cecil participates in the dancing of the song.
  • The song "Está llegando la banda" ("The band is arriving") uses the tune of "Tequila". "Está llegando la banda" is usually sung at Mexican Football Federation football matches.
  • In the 1993 film The Sandlot, the song plays during a scene in which the main characters become nauseous and vomit while on an amusement park ride after chewing tobacco. This scene has been cut from some television airings of the film.
  • In the first season finale of the medical drama ER, "Everything Old Is New Again", the song is played at Carol's wedding whilst all the guests dance along and shout "Tequlia" along with the song.
  • Charlie Sheen's character sings this in the Two and a Half Men episode "Principal Gallagher's Lesbian Lover", but changes the lyric to 'Gridlock'.
  • Mafia II featured the Champs' "Tequila" on the radio station Empire Central Radio during the '50s part of the game
  • The Champs' "Tequila" is featured in Elton John and Tim Rice's "The Lion King" Broadway musical. The hit musical made its Broadway debut in 1997.
  • Terrorvision used the main elements of the melody of this tune as the basis of their song "Tequila" which reached No. 2 in the UK charts in January 1999.
  • In the summer and early fall of 2009, the Ventures' version of the song was heard in The Weather Channel's Local on the 8s segments.
  • A television commercial for Tostitos brand corn chips used the song in 2012, with "Tequila" replaced with "Tostitos".
  • In Dave Gorman's Modern Life is Goodish at the end of S01E03 he replaces "tequila" with "free peeler!"
  • "Tequila" is played during the dance competition at the start of Strictly Ballroom (1992). Other films in which it appears include JFK (1991).
  • "Tequila" was played in Breakfast at Tiffany's, during the party that Audrey Hepburn's character hosted.
  • The 2017 movie Baby Driver features the Button Down Brass' 1970 version of "Tequila".
  • In 2017, Fans of Ipswich Town started using the song for their on loan midfielder Bersant Celina replacing "tequila" with "Celina!"
  • Appeared in Who's the Boss? Season 3 Episode 24 – A Moving Episode.
  • The first few bars are sampled for one of the music tracks in EarthBound.
  • The 2019 video game Far Cry New Dawn features the Bill Black's Combo version of "Tequila".

See also


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 109.
  2. ^ Huelyn Duvall. "Memories of the Tequila Recording Session". Retrieved August 21, 2006.
  3. ^ Grobaty, Tim. "Danny Flores Remembered". Spectropop. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  4. ^ Taylor, Robert. "Larry Carlton: Friends". Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  5. ^ "A Thousand Kisses Deep overview".
  6. ^ "Time again – David Sanborn".
  7. ^ "Husky Marching Band Facts and Traditions".
This page was last edited on 10 January 2021, at 14:47
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