Singer, Musician, Songwriter
1937 - 2006
Freddy Fender has had three successful careers already-as a Hispanic/pop star in the late 50's, a country pop star in the 70's, and a member of the Grammy award-winning Texas Tornadoes in the 90's. With his signing to Warner/Reprise, he begins a new chapter in an amazing career that spans nearly four decades.
Freddy Fender was born Baldemar Huerta in the Rio Grande Valley town of San Benito, Texas. He grew up in a barrio that, he is quick to point out, was not a crowded ghetto but just a poor Hispanic neighborhood. The first music he played was Tejano, conjunto, Tex-Mex- the rambunctious combination of polka (from the German settlers of Texas) and traditional Mexican music- he learned by watching and listening at weddings and other events in the neighborhood. In 1947, at the age of 10, he made his first appearance on radio, singing a current hit "Paloma Querida", on KGBT in Harlingen, Texas. Another performance of "Paloma Querida" (literally translated "dove" and "loved one") won him a tub of food worth about $10- first prize in an amateur talent contest at the Grand Theater in Harlingen.
In 1974, he cut Before The Next Teardrop Falls" in Houston. The master was bought by ABC-Dot, and on April 8, 1975, it reached the Number One spot on Billboard's pop and county charts, the first time in history an artist's first single reached Number One on both charts. His remake of "Wasted Days And Wasted Nights," essentially the same arrangement that had been considered rock and roll the first time around, followed "Teardrop. . " to Number One on the country charts, and his third release, "Secret Love," and fourth release "You'll Lose A Good Thing" also hit the top spot. The album went multi-platinum. Billboard named him Best Male Artist of 1975, and he won both single and album-of the-year honors from The Gavin Report.
In the 90's, Freddy Fender's role as vocalist/guitarist in the Tex-Mex supergroup, Texas Tornados, has delivered the venerable performer to major marketplaces and audiences traditionally oriented toward roots rock and progressive blues music.
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