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|Birth name||Baldemar Garza Huerta|
|Also known as||El Bebop Kid, Scotty Wayne|
|Born||June 4, 1937|
San Benito, Texas, U.S.
|Died||October 14, 2006 69) (aged|
Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.
|Genres||Tejano, country, rock, swamp pop|
|Labels||MCA, ABC, Arista, Reprise|
|Associated acts||Los Super Seven, Texas Tornados, Joe Reyes, Michael Morales|
Freddy Fender (born Baldemar Garza Huerta; June 4, 1937 – October 14, 2006)was an American Tejano, country and rock and roll musician, known for his work as a solo artist and in the groups Los Super Seven and the Texas Tornados. He was best known for his 1975 hits "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" and the subsequent remake of his own "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights".
Fender was born in San Benito, Texas, United States,to Margarita Garza and her Mexican immigrant husband, Serapio Huerta. He made his debut radio performance at age 10 on Harlingen, Texas radio station KGBT, singing a then-hit "Paloma Querida."
Fender dropped out of high school at age 16 in 1953, and when he turned 17, he enlisted for three years in the U.S. Marine Corps.He served time in the brig on several occasions because of his drinking, and he was court-martialed in August 1956 and discharged with rank of private (E-1). According to Fender, he later received a letter from the U.S. Department of the Navy saying that he had been wrongfully discharged dishonorably because of alcoholism, and he was given a general discharge. He returned to Texas and played nightclubs, bars, and honky-tonks throughout the south, mostly to Latino audiences. In 1957, then known as El Bebop Kid, he released two songs to moderate success in Mexico and South America: Spanish-language versions of Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" (as "No Seas Cruel") and Harry Belafonte's "Jamaica Farewell." He also recorded his own Spanish version of Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart" under the title "Tu Frío Corazón" ("Your Cold Heart").
He became known for his rockabilly music and his cool persona as Eddie con los Shades. In 1958, he legally changed his name from Baldemar Huerta to Freddy Fender.He took the name Fender from the guitar and amplifier, and Freddy because the alliteration sounded good and would "sell better with Gringos!" He then relocated to California.
In 1959, Fender recorded the blues ballad "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights."His self penned song was a hit, but he was beset by legal troubles in May 1960 after he and a band member were arrested for possession of marijuana in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After serving nearly three years in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, he was released through the intervention of then-governor Jimmie Davis, also a songwriter and musician. Davis requested that Fender stay away from music while on probation as a condition of his release. However, in a 1990 NPR interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross (rebroadcast October 17, 2006), Fender said that the condition for parole was to stay away from places that served alcohol.
By the end of the 1960s, Fender was back in Corpus Christi, Texas, working as a mechanic and attending local institution, Del Mar College,while playing music only on the weekends.
In 1974 Fender recorded "Before the Next Teardrop Falls."The single was selected for national distribution and became a number-one hit on the Billboard Country and Pop charts. It sold over a million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA in May 1975. His next three singles, "Secret Love", "You'll Lose a Good Thing", and a remake of "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights", all reached number one on the Billboard Country chart. Between 1975 and 1983, Fender charted 21 country hits, including "Since I Met You Baby", "Vaya con Dios", "Livin' It Down", and "The Rains Came". "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" became Fender's second million-selling single, with the gold disc presentation taking place in September 1975.
Fender also was successful on the pop charts. Besides "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" reaching number one on the pop chart in May 1975, "Wasted Days And Wasted Nights" went into the pop top 10 and "Secret Love" into the top 20. "Since I Met You Baby," "You'll Lose A Good Thing" (his last pop top 40), "Vaya con Dios," and "Livin' It Down" (his last to reach the pop top 100) all did well on the pop chart.
While notable for his genre-crossing appeal, several of Fender's hits featured verses or choruses in Spanish. Bilingual songs seldom hit the pop charts, and when they did, it was because of novelty. Bilingual songs reaching the country charts were even more unusual.[ citation needed ]
At the Amusement & Music Operators Association (AMOA) Jukebox Awards in 1975, Fender was awarded "Artist of the Year" and "Record of the Year" for having the highest-earning songs played on jukebox machines in the United States.
Fender was heavily influenced by the swamp pop sound from southern Louisiana and southeast Texas as is shown by his recording swamp pop standards on his 1978 album Swamp Gold. One of his major hits, "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights," has a typical swamp pop ballad arrangement. Fender associated with swamp pop musicians such as Joe Barry and Rod Bernard and issued many recordings on labels owned by Huey P. Meaux, a Cajun who specialized in swamp pop. As music writer John Broven observed, "Although Freddy was a Chicano from Texas marketed as a country artist, much of his formative career was spent in South Louisiana; spiritually, Fender's music was from the Louisiana swamps."
In 1989, Fender teamed up with fellow Tex–Mex musicians Doug Sahm, Flaco Jiménez, and Augie Meyers to form the Texas Tornados, whose work meshed conjunto, Tejano , R&B, country, and blues to wide acclaim. When the Texas Tornados went to audition for Warner Bros. Records, Fender did not think that the group was strong enough, so he brought his own band. The audition was nearly a bust, because he played country music and that was not what the executives were looking for. Fender was persuaded to play some vintage rock and blues numbers, which was what the executives were looking for, and was subsequently given a record contract. After being a solo act, Fender was not sure if signing with a group was a good thing, but according to Fender, he "just wanted to record for a major label."The group released four albums and won a Grammy Award in 1990 for Best Mexican American Performance for the track "Soy de San Luis". Fender described the group in this way: "You've heard of New Kids on the Block? Well, we're the Old Guys in the Street." Following the death of Sahm, the Tornados' production slowed. A live 1990 appearance on TV's Austin City Limits , one of three the group made, was released in 2005 as part of the Live From Austin, Texas, series.
In the late 1990s, Fender joined another supergroup, Los Super Seven, with Los Lobos' David Hidalgo and César Rosas, Flaco Jiménez, Ruben Ramos, Joe Ely, and country singer Rick Trevino. The group won a 1998 Grammy in the Mexican American Performance category for their self-titled disc.
In 2001, Fender made his final studio recording, a collection of classic Mexican boleros titled La Música de Baldemar Huerta that brought him a third Grammy award, this time in the category of Latin Pop Album. Joe Reyes, who worked with Fender in 2004 for a Texas Folklife and Austin tribute titled "Fifty Years of Freddy Fender," said of the album: "When he did Mexican standards at that point in his career, I expected it to be good because he's a perfectionist. But that record is so beautifully recorded; his voice is perfection. I was so proud it was coming back to his roots."
On March 13, 2001, Fender was erroneously reported to be dead by Billboard. He laughed off the magazine's error.He underwent a kidney transplant in 2002 with a kidney donated by his daughter and underwent a liver transplant in 2004. Nonetheless, his condition continued to worsen. He was suffering from an "incurable cancer" in which he had tumors on his lungs. On December 31, 2005, Fender performed his last concert and resumed chemotherapy.
On June 5, 2005, Fender was present for the dedication of a $1.4 million water tower in San Benito. The tower bears an image of Fender along with the words "San Benito Hometown of Freddy Fender," and is visible when driving east on U.S. Route 83 through San Benito.
He died on October 14, 2006, at the age of 69 of lung cancer at his home in Corpus Christi, Texas, with his family at his bedside. He was buried in his hometown of San Benito.
He had said in a 2004 interview with the Associated Press that he wished to become the first Mexican American inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
A Freddy Fender Museum and The Conjunto Music Museum opened November 17, 2007, in San Benito. They share a building with the San Benito Historical Museum. His family maintains the Freddy Fender Scholarship Fund and donates to philanthropic causes that Fender supported.[ citation needed ]
On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Freddy Fender among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal Studios fire.
In 1988, Fender played the mayor of a small town in the Robert Redford–directed film, The Milagro Beanfield War .Fender also appeared as Tony in the prison movie, Short Eyes , a 1977 film adaptation, directed by Robert M. Young, of the Miguel Pinero play. Fender played the role of Pancho Villa in 1979's She Came to the Valley (later released as Texas in Flames). The movie was directed by Albert Band and based on the book by Cleo Dawson. Fender also appeared as himself in an episode of the television series, The Dukes of Hazzard .
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|1974||Before the Next Teardrop Falls||1||20||42||10||Gold||Gold|
|1975||Recorded Inside Louisiana State Prison||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|Are You Ready for Freddy?||1||41||97||34||—||—|
|Since I Met You Baby||10||203||—||—||—||—|
|1976||Rock 'n' Country||3||59||98||—||—||—|
|Your Cheatin' Heart||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|If You're Ever in Texas||4||170||—||—||—||—|
|1977||The Best of Freddy Fender||4||155||—||—||—||—|
|If You Don't Love Me||34||—||—||—||—||—|
|Merry Christmas / Feliz Navidad||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|His Greatest Recordings||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|The Texas Balladeer||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1980||Together We Drifted Apart||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1982||The Border Soundtrack||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1991||The Freddy Fender Collection||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2002||La Música de Baldemar Huerta||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions|| Certifications |
|US Country|| US || US AC ||CAN Country||CAN||CAN AC||NZ||AUS|
|1975||"Before the Next Teardrop Falls"||1||1||19||1||6||18||2||1||Before the Next Teardrop Falls|
|"Wasted Days and Wasted Nights"||1||8||9||2||6||14||1||9|
|"Since I Met You Baby"||10||45||—||—||52||—||—||—||Since I Met You Baby|
|"Secret Love"||1||20||10||1||38||7||10||33||Are You Ready for Freddy?|
|1976||"The Wild Side of Life"||13||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Since I Met You Baby|
|"You'll Lose a Good Thing"||1||32||28||—||—||—||24||—||Rock 'N' Country|
|"Vaya con Dios"||7||59||41||1||—||48||—||—|
|"Living It Down"||2||72||—||1||—||—||—||—||If You're Ever in Texas|
|1977||"The Rains Came"||4||—||—||1||—||—||—||—||Rock ’n’ Country|
|"If You Don't Love Me|
(Why Don't You Just Leave Me Alone)"
|11||—||—||16||—||—||—||—||If You Don't Love Me|
|"Think About Me"||18||—||—||10||—||—||—||—|
|1978||"If You're Looking for a Fool"||34||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Talk to Me"||13||103||—||10||—||—||—||—||Swamp Gold|
|"I'm Leaving It All Up to You"||26||—||—||20||—||—||—||—|
|1979||"Walking Piece of Heaven"||22||—||—||13||—||—||—||—||Tex-Mex|
|"Yours"||22||—||—||23||—||—||—||—||The Texas Balladeer|
|1980||"My Special Prayer"||83||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Please Talk to My Heart"||82||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Together We Drifted Apart|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
San Benito is a city in Cameron County, Texas, United States. Its population was 24,250 at the 2010 census. On April 3, 2007, San Benito celebrated the 100th anniversary of its naming.
Swamp pop is a music genre indigenous to the Acadiana region of south Louisiana and an adjoining section of southeast Texas. Created in the 1950s by young Cajuns and Creoles, it combines New Orleans–style rhythm and blues, country and western, and traditional French Louisiana musical influences. Although a fairly obscure genre, swamp pop maintains a large audience in its south Louisiana and southeast Texas homeland, and it has acquired a small but passionate cult following in the United Kingdom, Northern Europe, and Japan.
Douglas Wayne Sahm was an American musician, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist born in San Antonio, Texas. Sahm is regarded as one of the main figures of Tex-Mex music, and as an important performer of Texan Music. He gained fame along with his band, the Sir Douglas Quintet, with a top-twenty hit in the United States and the United Kingdom with "She's About a Mover" (1965). Sahm was influenced by the San Antonio music scene that included conjunto and blues, and later by the hippie scene of San Francisco. With his blend of music, he found success performing in Austin, Texas, as the hippie counterculture soared in the 1970s.
The Sir Douglas Quintet was an American rock band, formed in San Antonio in 1964. With their first hits, they were acclaimed in their home state. When their career was established, the band relocated to the West Coast. Their move coincided with the burgeoning San Francisco psychedelic rock scene of the mid 1960s to early 1970s. Overall, the quintet were exponents of good-times music with strong roots in blues and Texas-regional traditions.
Texas Tornados is a Tejano supergroup, composed of some of country music's biggest artists who modernized the Tex-Mex style including Flaco Jiménez, Augie Meyers, Doug Sahm, and Freddy Fender. Its music is a fusion of conjunto with rock, country, and various Mexican styles.
Barbara Lynn is an American rhythm and blues and electric blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. She is best known for her R&B chart-topping hit, "You'll Lose a Good Thing" (1962). In 2018, Lynn received a National Heritage Fellowship.
Rod Bernard was an American singer who helped to pioneer the musical genre known as "swamp pop", which combined New Orleans-style rhythm and blues, country and western, and Cajun and black Creole music. He is generally considered one of the foremost musicians of this south Louisiana-east Texas idiom, along with such notables as Bobby Charles, Johnnie Allan, Tommy McLain, and Warren Storm.
Joseph Denton "Jay" Miller was an American record producer, musician and songwriter from Crowley, Louisiana, whose Cajun, swamp blues, and swamp pop recordings influenced American popular culture.
Before The Next Teardrop Falls is an album by Freddy Fender.
The Best of Freddy Fender is a greatest hits album by Freddy Fender that was released in 1977. The 1980 reissue MCA cassette tape version erroneously states the title on the end spine as "The Best of Freddy Fender Plus Seven".
"Before the Next Teardrop Falls" is an American country and pop song written by Vivian Keith and Ben Peters, and most famously recorded by Freddy Fender.
"Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" is an American country and pop song recorded by Freddy Fender. It is considered by many to belong to the swamp pop idiom of south Louisiana and southeast Texas that had such a major musical impact on Fender.
Warren Storm was an American drummer and vocalist, known as a pioneer of the musical genre swamp pop; a combination of rhythm and blues, country and western, and Cajun music and black Creole music.
Johnnie Allan is an American pioneer of the swamp pop musical genre.
La Música de Baldemar Huerta is the title of the Grammy Award recipient cover album released by performer Freddy Fender on February 12, 2002.
Huey Purvis Meaux was an American record producer and the owner of various record labels and recording studios including Crazy Cajun Records, Tear Drop Records, Capri Records, and SugarHill Recording Studios.
Ben James Peters was an American country music songwriter who wrote many #1 songs. Charley Pride recorded 68 of his songs and 6 of them went to #1 on the American country charts. Peters was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1980.
George Khoury was an American pioneer swamp pop and cajun record producer known for co-writing and composing the No. 1 hit song "Sea of Love" by Phil Phillips as well as "Mathilda" by Cookie and the Cupcakes.
Elton Anderson was an American singer and swamp pop pioneer who had a chart hit on Mercury Records.