Since CBS will be showing the 61st Annual Grammy Awards this Sunday, February 9, at 7 p.m., I was curious to learn about the first Grammy Awards from May 4, 1959.
On that date, many of the most successful musicians of the day, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, and Andre’ Previn, gathered for a black-tie dinner and awards show at the Grand Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Political comedian Mort Sahl was the emcee and featured a musical sketch, “How South Was My Pacific.” In that day, there was a West Coast Grammys and an East Coast Grammys. Sinatra had six nominations that year, more than anyone else, yet he was not the big winner.
Below is a partial list of the winners that year:
*Record Of The Year & Song Of The Year: Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare) by Domenico Modugno
*Album Of The Year & Best Arrangement: Music from Peter Gunn by Henry Mancini
*Best Female Vocal Performance: Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Irving Berlin Song Book
*Best Male Vocal Performance: Catch A Falling Star by Perry Como
*Best R&B Performance: Tequila by The Champs
*Best recording For Children: The Chipmunk Song by David Seville & The Chipmunks
*Best Classical Performance: Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto #1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 with Van Cliburn on piano
The song featured as our video is “Tequila” by the Champs. It was a #1 song on Billboard in 1958 with a Latin/Cuban beat and is most famous to have two members that later formed a duo in the 1970’s: Jim Seals and Dash Crofts, both from Texas.
There is only one one-word lyric: “Tequila”. The song was written by Daniel Flores, with the word “Tequila” spoken only once. Recorded by the Champs on December 23, 1957, released on January 15, 1958, and produced by Joe Johnson on the Challenge Records label, and running 2:14.
Enjoy the show this Sunday on CBS 11 starting at 6pm with Red Carpet Show and then the Awards Show at 7pm, followed by CBS 11 News At 10pm.