Mar 12

The Champs: “Tequila”


The least scary motorcycle gang ever.

Okay, so everyone knows “Tequila,” in some form or another. And for good reason: when it comes to good-humored party songs, it’s one of the grandaddies of them all. But it has kind of an interesting background story…

It seems that there was no band called “The Champs” when the song was recorded. It was just a tossed-off, improvised throwaway song recorded by a group of musicians signed to the Challenge Records label who were brought together for an instrumental session. It was released in early 1958 as the B-side to a now-forgotten song attributed to one Chuck Rio. But once the DJs got a hold of it, it shot up the charts and was #1 within two months. The Champs were quickly created to capitalize on this success so that there was a band that could tour along with it. Later versions of the Champs included Glen Campbell and both Seals and Crofts, but they were not involved in the recording of what would be the “band’s” only hit.

Without “Tequila,” where then would we be? Possibly no Seals and Crofts, meaning no “Summer Breeze”! And no classic Pee Wee Herman dance number in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure! And that already monumental list goes on, I’m sure.

Really, it’s a great song, whether or not everyone already knows it. There’s a reason for it being fairly ubiquitous — it’s so guileless, so breezy and fun, what’s not to love?


  1. yep one of those ‘i wonder what the b-side sounds like’ hit. i have a friend who won a karoake contest using this song, poncho, and a bottle of tequila in a bar in cranbrook, british columbia. wasn’t me honest

    1. Mmm-hmmm. Sure, Terry.

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