Tequila! by Yaaf Some - Ourboox.com
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  • Joined Jan 2023
  • Published Books 1

The Sandlot (1993): "Chaw, the best!"

The Sandlot (1993)


The song was made famous (again) in the late 20th century by the 1993 movie “The Sandlot”.


The who’s and the why’s

When Gene “The Singing Cowboy” Autry’s record label Challenge Records saw no hits by the end of the 1957, they brought Dave Burgess (stage name Dave Dupree) and accompanying recording band The Flores Trio to record a few songs that would end the studio’s year on a high note.


What resulted was a released single record consisting of two songs. On the A-Side, where the big hitter sits – and the main reason to buy a record single – was the song “Train to Nowhere”, featured on Hairspray and not much else.


On the B-Side however, appeared the song…..


The what’s

“Tequila” by The Champs was not intended to be the highlight of the single record. Released as the B-Side to Dave Dupree’s “Train to Nowhere”, “Tequila” was recorded as a jam by the members of Dupree’s studio band that had stayed after the A-Side track was finished recording.

Danny Flores

In three takes, the remaining band members (Danny Flores on saxophone and vocals, Gene Alden on drums, and Buddy Bruce on guitar) had recorded what originally began as an idea in Flores’ head. They chose the name “Tequila” solely for Flores’ love of the drink.


And then…

In March 1958, two months after the Dave Dupree released his single, the song “Tequila” skyrocketed to the Billboard No. 1 spot and remained there for 5 weeks. In an era of rapid change in the world of popular music, “Tequila” helped set the stage for rock n’ roll music in the decades to come. So much so, that in 1959 the song won a Grammy award, said to be the first Grammy for a rock n’ roll song ever.



Pee-wee Herman dancing to “Tequila” on a bar.


But, why?

Throughout the course we learned that to make a timeless song, there are a number of criteria that can be considered as for why a song remains so popular through the decades.

In this section, I will disprove many of them.


Some of the criteria mentioned are:

1) A story, characters and relationship between the theme, feeling, and sounds of the recording.

  • Tequila has no characters, story or theme.

2) Recognizable beginnings, middle, ends, or hooks.

  • Tequila, recorded as a jam, has no intentional beginning (rather a muted rhythm guitar and drums playing the same melody as they do throughout the song) or ending (it ends on “Tequila!”)
  • In opposition to the popular song structure of A-A-B-A, Tequila has a simpler A-A-B structure repeated 3 times.

3) The “Disney Classic” design (character/villain song, “I want”, more info-more story, unique elements, etc.)

  • Tequila is not a “type song”, but was used in movies to accentuate a scene (see pgs. 6, 8, 9).
  • It also has a total of 3 chords, no tempo or key changes, and does not reflect a character’s emotions.

4) Original vs. cover

  • While covered many times, the energy and the melody of the song remains the same.

5) Simplicity vs. intricacy



The Sandlot (1993): “Chaw, the best!”



Director Edgar Wright builds a scene in Baby Driver (2017) around the song “Tequila”.


So what does it have?

1. Simplicity and repetition

2. Danceability

3. Anyone and everyone can sing it!




Through the years

“Tequila” has been covered by many renowned groups and musicians, including (but not limited to):

  • Stan Kenton and his Orchestra
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Wes Montgomery
  • Larry Carlton
  • The Reverend Horton Heat
  • Sublime
  • Reel Big Fish

And featured in films and shows such as:

  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Cheech and Chong’s Next Big Movie
  • Happy Days
  • Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
  • The Sandlot
  • Friends
  • Baby Driver
  • The Simpsons




Homer Simpsons enjoys “Tequila”.


So what?

We can see that, in comparison to timeless songs that have lasted by the power of their complexity, story, intricacy, and the emotions they are able to portray, some songs withstand simply by their sheer simplicity.

“Tequila”, released 65 years ago as a filler song to an unremarkable single, is an outstandingly basic song. It is technically simple, endlessly repeatable, with a single word that is spoken and not sung, and yet it holds a groove that lets anyone dance to it. It has a singular theme – ‘to party!’ – that is appealing to every crowd, movie and show watcher, and DJ.

The song stands the test of time, and helped define the era of party music with its ease of use and entertainment it provides, so much so that it could easily stand for another 65 years ahead.

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