Let’s welcome in the last month of summer, August, on this bright and beautiful Friday morning.
I think I will stick with changing the musical theme monthly for a while longer on this blog, and this month I will be concentrating on “Grammy Gold” — specifically the R&B category since the last few months have been Pop oriented.
There are many, many music awards now in the 21st century, but the first was The Grammy! As defined at the Official Grammy.com web site:
“The recording industry’s most prestigious award, the GRAMMY, is presented annually by The Recording Academy. A GRAMMY is awarded by The Recording Academy’s voting membership to honor excellence in the recording arts and sciences. It is truly a peer honor, awarded by and to artists and technical professionals for artistic or technical achievement, not sales or chart positions (GRAMMY Awards Process). The annual GRAMMY Awards presentation brings together thousands of creative and technical professionals in the recording industry from all over the world.”
The first Grammy Awards were presented by The Recording Academy in 1958. There was only ONE category for R&B music and that was Best Rhythm and Blues Performance of 1958 with the Grammy going to the performing artist. The first winner was “Tequila” as performed by The Champs. Yes I know you are saying the same thing I am — “Shouldn’t this have been in the instrumental pop category?” or “Isn’t this Mexican Rock and not R&B?”
Well no matter what we may think in 2008 — the Academy called it R&B fifty years ago in 1958. Guess they got off to a somewhat rocky start. Eh?
The Champs were an instrumental Latin/R&B quintet formed in Los Angles in 1957 made up of Challenge Records executive Dave Burgess on guitar and session players Buddy Bruce on guitar, Chuck Rio (born Daniel Flores) on saxophone, Cliff Hills on bass, and Gene Alden on drums.
Tequila was the B-site for The Champs single release “Train To Nowhere” for the label Challenge Records.
Personally I never heard the A-side but we all know that the B-side went on to top both the Pop and R&B charts in 1958 at #1and stayed there for 19 weeks! This song was written in the studio, by Chuck Rio, after the A-side was recorded and the players realized they needed something to put on the other side of the record. Shouting “Tequila” was just to fill up the “gaps” in the musical sequences.
After 1958 the group had many personnel changes and never a hit as big as “Tequila”. You may read more detail about the group’s transitions over the years at “The Champs (1958-1965) Page” and “The History of Rock.com”
I appreciate your visit.