Freddy Fender was truly a music icon, one of the most recognized and beloved music legends ever to hit radio waves. He was one of the few Hispanic stars in country music, a singer and songwriter whose work was defined mostly by its strong Latin sensibility.
Sadly, he died on October 14, 2006, at 69 of lung cancer at his home in Corpus Christi, Texas. To honor the phenomenal legacy he built in the world of country music, we’ve put together Fender’s five hits that stormed the charts in this legend’s remarkable career!
5. You’ll Lose a Good Thing
The popular song was written by rhythm and blues artist Barbara Lynn, who scored a 1962 Top 10 hit, peaking at No. 8 and also the No. 1 spot on the R&B charts, with her bluesy rendition of the song.
Fender retained those bluesy, soulful elements when he recorded a country version of the song in 1975. In 1976, the song became his fourth No. 1 song on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart.
4. Secret Love
“Secret Love” is a song written by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster for Calamity Jane – a musical film in 1953 – introduced by Doris Day in the title role. The song has then been recorded by a wide range of artists, eventually becoming a hit for Fender.
Released on Fender’s 1975 album Are You Ready For Freddy?, the song helped Fender earn the third of his four No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, also crossing-over to the United States Top 40 of Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 20.
Nearly three decades later, Fender remade “Secret Love” for his 2002 album La Musica de Baldemar Huerta.
3. Wild Side of Life
Originally recorded by country singer Hank Thompson, the song became one of the most popular recordings in the genre’s history. Written by Arlie Carter and William Warren, “Wild Side of Life” was inspired by Warren’s experiences with a young woman he met during his younger days – a honky-tonk angel who “found the glitter of the gay nightlife too hard to resist.”
Fender released his version in early 1976, and it reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
2. Wasted Days And Wasted Nights
Fender wrote and recorded the song “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” during the early stages of his career in 1959. He was in the process of bringing his mesh of rockabilly and Tejano to perfection, and the blues ballad showcased his new style. Unfortunately, a few months later, he was arrested on charges of marijuana possession and was convicted.
Fender re-recorded “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” in 1975, and this time, the song became a major pop and country hit, topping the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
1. Before The Last Teardrop Falls
The song was written in 1967, and it had achieved modest success in versions by various performers. It has been recorded more than two dozen times but was most famously covered by Fender.
The song is a pure sentiment of a brokenhearted man accepting his own heartbreak, yet offering up whatever’s left of his dignity for even the slightest fleeting chance of future hope. “It’s your happiness that matters most of all. But if he ever breaks your heart, if the teardrops ever start, I’ll be there before the next teardrop falls,” the man says.
Fender recorded the song in bilingual style, singing the first half of the song in English, and repeating the first verse in Spanish. He immediately took the song off in popularity when it was released to country radio in 1975. It then ascended to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles.