October 14, 2006 – Freddy Fender was born Baldemar Huerta on June 4th 1937 was the first and biggest pioneer in Tex Mex music, and one of the most important musicians in Tejano Music History. He is documented as The First American Hispanic and Hispanic Rock & Roll Recording Artist In Anglo Latino Musical History.
He actually made himself a guitar at the age of six and at 10 he was singing on local radio stations and winning talent competitions. Then at 16, he joined the Marines for three years. After his discharge, he started playing Texas honky tonks and dance halls. His big break came with Falcon Records in 1957, when he recorded Spanish versions of Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel” and Harry Belafonte’s “Jamaica Farewell.”
The recordings both reached No.1 slots in Mexico and South America. He signed with Imperial Records in 1959, renaming himself “Fender” after the brand of his electric guitar, and “Freddy”, well.. because it sounded good with Fender.
In 1974, he recorded “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” and on April 8, 1975, it reached the Number One spot on Billboard’s pop and country charts, the first time in history an artist’s first single reached Number One on both charts. With its success, he won the Academy of Country Music’s best new artist award. Throughout his long career Freddy has appeared on 18 TV shows, in 8 films, 11 videos, and countless soundtracks, commercials, shows, tributes and is a triple Grammy Award winner.
He won his first shared Grammy with the Texas Tornados, in 1990 for best Mexican-American performance for “Soy de San Luis”, his second shared Grammy came in with Los Super Seven in the same category in 1998 for “Los Super Seven”. Then in year 2002 he won his own Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album in 2002 for “La Musica de Baldemar Huerta.”
Freddy Fender died from lung cancer on October 14, 2006 at age 69.