The Champs were sort of an accident. Guitarist Dave Burgess was the first artist signed to the Challenge Label and released several singles under the name Dave Dupre. Burgess was helping out on a Jerry Wallace album for the label and when there was some studio time was left over one night he and sax player Dave Flores, drummer Gene Alden, guitarist Buddy Bruce, and bassist Cliff Hills recorded what was thought to be a throwaway song, “Tequila.”
The song was originally the B side of “Train To Nowhere.” Gene Autry owned the label and so the band named themselves after his horse Champ. The song topped both the Pop and Rhythm & Blues Charts. It even won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance.
Best Sellers In Stores Chart – 3/17/58 – 5 Weeks At Number One.
Most Played by D.J.’s Chart – 3/31/58 – 2 Weeks At Number One
Billboard Top 100 – 3/17/58 – 5 Weeks At Number One.
The band reached the top 100 seven more times but never had another big hit. Their were constant personnel changes, including Glen Campbell, before they called it quits in 1965.