The Champs

The Champs were put together by California songwriter/vocalist Dave Burgess to record for Gene Autry’s Challenge label. At a 1957 session at the famed Gold Star studio they cut a version of ‘Train To Nowhere’, with the final few minutes producing the throwaway ‘Tequila’ for the B-side. Radio stations soon flipped the single and ‘Tequila’ went to #1 on the Hot 100, selling a million and gaining a Grammy Award – to the surprise of all involved, especially the writer, sax player Danny Flores. The group had further hits with ‘El Rancho Rock’ and ‘Chariot Rock’ and are retrospectively credited with being the roots for Chicano Rock. Shifting line-ups included the young Glen Campbell replacing Burgess in 1960. With a strong catalogue of fine instrumental singles and albums featuring “dirty” sax leads and Latin influences, the group disbanded in 1964.

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