Fox News – Trini Lopez, who was known for his hit “If I Had a Hammer,” is dead. He was 83.
Lopez’s close friend and collaborator Joe Chavira confirmed the death to Fox News on Tuesday and explained that he died due to coronavirus complications.
According to Chavira, Lopez had been “in and out” of the hospital for about two months and was working on a local 30-minute television special to raise funds for food banks, which have been stressed because of the pandemic’s economic fallout.
The news was originally reported by Palm Springs Life magazine, which covered the area where he had lived for a long time, via an Instagram post featuring a photo of Lopez holding a giant hammer like a guitar.
“Trini Lopez, who has lived in Palm Springs since the 1960s, passed away Aug. 11,” said the announcement. “One of the well-known songs from his hit 1963 album was ‘If I Had A Hammer.'”
The post continued, explaining that a documentary about Lopez’s life had just finished “shooting and editing,” with Lopez having recently seen a cut of the film for his approval.
According to Variety, Lopez was born Trinidad Lopez III in Dallas to parents from Mexico … Read more.
Lopez formed his first band in Wichita Falls, Texas, at the age of 15. Around 1955/56 Trini Lopez and his band worked at The Vegas Club, a nightclub owned by Jack Ruby, the nightclub owner who assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald, avenging Oswald’s assassination of JFK .
In 1957, at the recommendation of Buddy Holly’s father, Trini and his group “The Big Beats” went to producer Norman Petty in Clovis, New Mexico. Petty secured a contract for them with Columbia Records, which released the single “Clark’s Expedition”/”Big Boy”, both instrumental.
Lopez left the group and made his first solo recording, his own composition “The Right To Rock”, for the Dallas-based Volk Records, and then signed with King Records in 1959, recording more than a dozen singles for that label, none of which charted. In late 1962, after the King contract expired, Lopez followed up on an offer by producer Snuff Garrett to join the post-Holly Crickets as vocalist.
After a few weeks of auditions in Los Angeles, that idea did not go through. He landed a steady engagement at the nightclub PJ’s, where his audience grew quickly. He was heard there by Frank Sinatra, who had started his own label, Reprise Records, and who subsequently signed Lopez. – Wikipedia