Artist picture of The Champs

The Champs

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The Latin-inflected early rock band The Champs were formed in 1957 by Challenge Records studio executives in order to quickly record the B-side for an upcoming release by the label. The quintet originally consisted of Chuck Rio (whose real name was Daniel Flores), Buddy Bruce, Dave Burgess, Gene Alden, and Cliff Hills. The song they threw together was built on the saxophone skills and quirky deep vocals of Rio. The resulting track, “Tequila”, became an unexpected smash, topping both the pop and R&B singles charts and winning the Grammy for Best R&B Performance in 1959. The follow-up single, “El Rancho Rock” was another top 40 pop hit, as dwell as a top 10 R&B hit. They would score two more top 40 hits, “Too Much Tequila” in 1960 and 1961’s “Limbo Rock”. Always a rotating collection of studio pros, the Champs line-up was never stable, but did at one time or another include such notable musicians as Glen Campbell, as well as Jim Seals and Dash Crofts who would go on to form the duo Seals and Crofts.