12 August 2020 10:37
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Lopez's hits included If I Had A Hammer and Lemon Tree Mexican-American singer Trini Lopez, who had a hit in 1963 with his version of If I Had A Hammer and played one of The Dirty Dozen, has died at 83. Lopez, an accomplished guitarist, was mentored by Buddy Holly and Frank Sinatra and designed two instruments for the Gibson Guitar Corporation. He called his own Trini Lopez guitar his "most prized possession" and said it had been "the sound of the Foo Fighters from day one". His debut live album, Trini Lopez at PJ's, was released in 1963 and featured his version of Pete Seeger's If I Had A Hammer. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Trini Lopez as he appeared in The Dirty Dozen Business partner and musician Joe Chavira said he and Lopez just finished recording a song to raise money for food banks during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Trini López, the singer and guitarist who in the 1960s had hits with the songs "If I Had a Hammer" and "Lemon Tree" and appeared in the classic war movie The Dirty Dozen, has died. López died Tuesday of complications from COVID-19 in a hospital in Palm Springs, songwriting and business partner Joe Chavira told The Hollywood Reporter. The good-natured Dallas native and son of Mexican immigrants was signed by Frank Sinatra to his Reprise Records label, and he worked with the Gibson Guitar Corp. Singer Trini Lopez, who enjoyed a heyday in the 1960s with hits including "If I Had a Hammer" and "This Land Is Your Land," died Tuesday from complications related to coronavirus, collaborators said. Lopez had been in and out of a hospital setting for about six weeks before dying about 5 a.m. at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California, said songwriting partner Joe Chavira.
A break came when rock 'n' roll star Buddy Holly saw Lopez perform and introduced him to his entourage. After Holly's death in 1959, Lopez was asked to perform with the pop star's band, the Crickets, so he moved to Los Angeles and eventually embarked on a series of solo club gigs in the early 1960s. At one club, Frank Sinatra saw him perform and signed him to his label, Reprise, for an eight-year term, Guerrero wrote. Singer/actor Trini Lopez passed away August 11 of complications from COVID-19 in Palm Springs, California. In 1964, Gibson created a Trini Lopez model that the guitar makers says on its website "is also favored by many other famous musicians from Dave Grohl to Noel Gallagher." Gibson later reissued the instrument and offered it for $5,499.
Frank Sinatra caught Lopez performing during his residency and in 1963, Sinatra signed Lopez to Reprise Records. Lopez's 1963 Reprise debut, a live album called Trini Lopez at PJ's, produced several hits, including his rendition of "If I Had a Hammer," written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays that hit Number One and eventually achieved gold status, and his version of the Will Holt-penned "Lemon Tree." The album also included his take on the traditional Mexican song, "La Bamba." He continued to release albums and hits through the Sixties as well as performed nightclubs throughout the U.S., including regular stints as a Las Vegas headliner. He also designed two guitars for Gibson, The Trini Lopez Standard and the Lopez Deluxe, which were produced from 1964 through 1971. His guitars are prized by musicians, including Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl. "Every album we have ever made, from the first to the latest, was recorded with my red Trini Lopez signature guitar. In 1967, he starred alongside an ensemble cast that included Charles Bronson, Ernest Borgnine, John Cassavetes, Lee Marvin, Donald Sutherland and Telly Savalas in Robert Aldrich's The Dirty Dozen. Trini Lopez, a singer and guitarist who gained fame for his versions of "Lemon Tree" and "If I Had a Hammer" in the 1960s and took his talents to Hollywood, died Tuesday. David Ebersole, who just finished shooting a documentary on Lopez with Todd Hughes, confirmed that Lopez died from complications of COVID-19 at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California. Business partner and musician Joe Chavira said he and Lopez just finished recording a song "If By Now," a tune meant to raise money for food banks during COVID-19. "And here he is dying of something he was trying to fight," Chavira said. Lopez crossed over into acting, appearing in the World War II drama "The Dirty Dozen," the comedy "The Phynx" and credits on television's "Adam-12." He also designed guitars that became a favorite of Dave Grohl and other rock stars. Mentored by Buddy Holly and Frank Sinatra, Lopez became an international star while performing in English and Spanish. Buddy Holly saw Lopez at a small nightclub in Wichita Falls, Texas, and introduced him to Norman Petty, his record producer in Clovis, New Mexico. Sinatra saw him perform and offered him a contract with his new record label, Reprise, where Lopez got his first major hit with "If I Had A Hammer." It went to No. 1 in nearly 40 countries. Lopez received a Grammy nomination for best new artist of 1963 and by early 1964 he was so in demand that he and The Beatles were co-headliners during an 18-day engagement at the Olympia Theatre in Paris. My dressing room was next to theirs and they said 'Mr. Lopez, The Beatles are leaving tomorrow for New York. Lopez was rarely on the charts after the 1960s, but his line of Gibson Trini Lopez guitars released from 1964 to 1971 unexpectedly influenced a generation of younger guitarists, including Grohl, the Edge and Noel Gallagher. Ebersole and Hughes recently finished shooting a documentary on Lopez called "My Name is Lopez," which is due to be released in 2021.