Freddy Fender. Photo Credits: freddyfender.com

A Short Background of the American Tejano Singer, Freddy Fender

Born on June 4, 1937, Freddy Fender was one of the few country music stars of Hispanic origin who rose to fame in the late 1950’s. His real name is Baldemar Huerta and was born and raised in San Benito, Texas. As a child, Fender found his joy in playing the guitar. At the age of 16, he dropped out of school and joined the Marine Corps. During that time, he released his first recordings (written in Spanish) under his real name.

Even though his first recordings were successful in Texas and Mexico, he decided to adopt Freddy Fender as his stage name in 1959. Also, he opted to focus on a stronger rockabilly music genre in order to attract more “gringo” audiences.

In 1960, he recorded and released “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights“, which he had self-written. It was his most successful single yet at that time. However, things have changed in a bit of time when he was convicted of marijuana possession. He was sentenced to five-year imprisonment at Angola State Prison in Louisiana. Thanks to the efforts of Louisiana governor Jimmie Davis, he was paroled after serving only three years.

After that incident, Fender re-ignited his music career. Unfortunately, he had just a few nightclub gigs and found little success. This led him to move back to his hometown in San Benito.

Life in Texas, and His Success

Freddy Fender. Photo Credits: findagrave.com

While in Texas, Fender ventured into car repairs and assembly and worked as an auto mechanic for several years. In addition, he returned to school and finished a degree in sociology.

In 1974, he met Huey P. Meaux who changed his life and re-opened his music career. Meaux was the owner of the Houston-based Crazy Cajun label. After agreeing on a recording deal, he convinced Fender to go country and western style with Hispanic roots. In 1967, Meaux produced “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” for Fender. Unluckily, it failed to gain a major label. It was then released on Crazy Cajun. After a recording of a dozen times, in 1975, the song topped both the country and pop charts. And for a while, Fender boomed as a star.

In order to follow-up the success, Fender re-recorded his early single, “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights“. With the song, he notched his second no. 1 country hit. He then released another chart-topper, “Secret Love“.

The 70’s witnessed the success and fame of Fender, with a no. 2 song “Living It Down” in 1976. Furthermore, he released two more albums, Your Cheatin’ Heart and Rock ‘N’ Country in the same year.

Texas Tornados. Photo Credits: texashillcountry.com

As the 1980’s commenced, his career began dripping and his fame started to lie low. Instead, he focused on an acting career. In 1990, he formed the Tex-Mex supergroup Texas Tornados with Doug Sahm, Flaco Jimenez, and Augie Meyers. However, after three albums, the group disbanded leaving Fender in his solo career again.

On October 14, 2006, Fender passed away due to lung cancer at his home in Corpus Christi, Texas. He was 69.

Fender’s Top 5 Hits of All Time (according to Billboard)

Freddy Fender one of the most notable American Tejanos who has introduced country music with a Hispanic influence. We remember him with his hits that dominated and stormed the charts. As per Billboard Chart History, here are the top 5 hits of Freddy Fender that were chart-toppers.

Before the Next Teardrop Falls

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

Secret Love

You’ll Lose A Good Thing

Living It Down

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