Thursday, March 17, 2011

How About Some Tequila This Morning...?

How many times in life does a lucky accident happen that can change everything for those involved?

Probably a lot more than we know! This song is just one such case. What started out as a "B side" filler is still around...after 50 years! Pretty amazing! In fact, it was on this date, March 17th, 1958 that this catchy tune became #1 on the Billboard charts!

Written on the spot and recorded as an afterthought near the end of a session at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, the song—"Tequila" —hit #1 on the Billboard pop chart on March 17, 1958. It was the Champs' one, and only, pop hit.

Half a century later, this accidental, one-word classic still sounds as fresh and irresistible as it did to the long-forgotten Cleveland disk jockey who rescued it from the cutout bin of history.

The reason "Tequila" needed rescuing is that it was never really intended to be a hit. It was recorded rather hastily one afternoon in December 1957 to fill the B-side of a single called "Train to Nowhere," by Dave Burgess. Burgess was a minor rockabilly guitarist in the Los Angeles area whose day job was as an A&R man with Gene Autry's fledgling record label, Challenge.

After a session of laying down instrumental tracks for the country singer Jerry Wallace's next album on Challenge, a frugal Dave Burgess decided to use the leftover studio time to record his own B-side. It was not uncommon at the time for B-sides to be devised in the studio from some or other riff contributed by a session musician, and this one would be no exception.

Saxophonist Danny Flores contributed the now-familiar melody and vaguely Latin, syncopated rhythm. He also contributed the low, growling vocal line, "Tequila," without which the song might truly have remained the throwaway it was intended to be.

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 on this day in 1958.

Just goes to show ya that some accidents happen for a reason!

I know I'm getting old 'cause I remember when this song was playing on my transistor radio all the time! Boy, where in the world have all the years gone to?

What say we get some fresh coffee and sit out on the patio this morning? I'll tune the radio to the oldies station...and we can reminisce a little!


Catman said...

Thanks for the interesting bit of rock and roll history, Jim!

HermitJim said...

Hey Catman...
My pleasure, buddy! Glad you liked it!

Funny what the older mind remembers, isn't it?

Thanks for coming by today!

russell1200 said...

Just stay away from the Flaming Spanish Fly!

A drink that combines Tequila and Coffee: along with other potent beverages.

My dad used to get Teguila from a neighbor who would bring it back from his trips to Mexico. He did not want to throw it out (he was a Vodka man) but he never drank it. So it was the source of my early forays into secret imbibing: Straight up! Ugh! Nasty Stuff!

Anonymous said...

I'm not quite as 'seasoned' as you are HermitJim, but I recall some summers when I was a child, a transister radio was blaring out music. How did that lady singing 'Downtown' get so much volume out of that little radio? Heavy little guys, those radios were.

I did not know the history of that song Tequila - that was a fortunate turn of events!

Have a good day.

Ben in Texas said...

Couldn't resist!!!

linda m said...

Boy, does that song bring back some old memories. Thanks for the trip down "memory lane". and for the history lesson.

Momlady said...

'Preciate your research, Jim.

Kelle said...

Thanks Hermit for sharing the history of the song.

Although I have not commented much lately, I'm still checking in from time to time. Spring is upon us and those, "Life Happens" moments are here again. Just wanted to say Good Morning and share some coffee for a few moments, then it's back to Spring time chores, which I dearly LOVE *wink*


HermitJim said...

Hey Russell...
That should have been enough to deter you from drinking for real!

Thanks for the link...and for coming by today!

HermitJim said...

Hey Anon 5:58...
They did get some sound out of those small little boxes, didn't they?

Seems like the 9 volt batteries lasted a long time as well!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Ben...
I figured someone would put up Pee-Wee doing his dance!

You probably were close to all the great oldies when you worked in radio, right?

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

Hey Linda...
Makes me feel old when I hear how long a song has been around, and I still remember it well!

I don't feel that old!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Momlady...
Always glad to do my part to share some of the old songs! Must be an age thing!

You have a great day, and thanks for coming by!

Hey Kelle...
I certainly understand about life getting in the way!

You just come by when you can!

Thanks for the visit today!

Bob Mc said...

I remember it, and transistor radios too. In fact I still have one; but I'm older than dirt and I'm a pack rat. Never throw anything away.

HermitJim said...

Hey Bob...
Get's harder to throw stuff away all the time for me! I know that I should thin out, but I always seem to save more than I toss!

I appreciate the visit today!

Anonymous said...

I'll listen to the music momentarily. Don't think I know any about this...hmm, where was I...such good information, I must research. But do you care is I have my coffee with a bit of brandy? That tequila with the worm sorta turns my stomach. Thanks and I promise to stay sober...only two cups.

Anonymous said...

Petula Clark "Downtown"! I loved it.