The Champs were an American rock and roll band, most famous for their Latin-tinged instrumental“Tequila“. The group was loosely formed by studio executives at the time for the sole purpose to record a B-side for the Dave Burgess (aka Dave Dupree) single “Train to Nowhere”. Disappointed by the lackluster A side, local Disc jockeys flipped the 45 over, and played “Tequila” instead, making the song one of the biggest hits of the ’50s.
What was thought to be an intended throwaway track became more famous than its original A-side, as “Tequila” (Side B) went to No. 1 in just three weeks. The band became the first group to go to the top spot with an instrumental that was their first release. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded agold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America.
It was only after the “Tequila” session that the musicians present that day came up with a name for themselves, inspired by the name of Gene Autry’s horse, Champion. It was also after that session that Danny Flores came up with the pseudonym “Chuck Rio,” under which he was given the songwriting credit on “Tequila.” None of this would have mattered, however, had a Cleveland DJ not decided to “flip” the flop called “Train to Nowhere” one day in the winter of 1958 and treat his listeners to the first broadcast of “Tequila,” which in short order went on to become one of the biggest B-side hits in rock-and-roll history and a #1 hit for the Champs in 1958.