60s Singer Trini Lopez’s Death Confirmed Battling COVID-19
“If I Had a Hammer” and “This Land Is Your Land,” are the hits, Trini Lopez most remembered for. The US Singer who enjoyed a heyday in the 1960s died Tuesday from complications related to coronavirus. Trini Lopez’s death reported at 83.
Mexican-American singer Trini Lopez had a hit in 1963 with his version and played one of The Dirty Dozen. Lopez, a professional guitarist, was mentored by Buddy Holly and Frank Sinatra and designed two instruments for the Gibson Guitar Corporation.
Lopez passed away in Palm Springs, California, of complications. Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters was among those paying tribute, declaring he had left “a beautiful music legacy”. He described his own Trini Lopez guitar as his “most prized possession” and said it had been “the sound of the Foo Fighters from day one”.
Lopez had been in and out of a hospital setting for nearly six weeks before dying about 5 a.m. at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California, stated songwriting partner Joe Chavira.
If I Had a Hammer singer, Trini Lopez’s death at 83
Filmmaker P. David Ebersole, who just completed shooting a documentary on Lopez with Todd Hughes, affirmed Trini Lopez’s death.
Lopez was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1937 and grew up in the Little Mexico neighborhood. He was compelled to drop out of high school in his senior year as he was low on money and needed to earn it to maintain his family.
Sharing on Instagram, Grohl honored Lopez’s Gibson guitar line, which he has used on every Foo Fighters album.
“Today the world sadly lost yet another legend, Trini Lopez. Trini not only left a beautiful musical legacy of his own, but also unknowingly helped shape the sound of the Foo Fighters from day one,” captioned Grohl.
“Every album we have ever made, from the first to the latest, was recorded with my red 1967 Trini Lopez signature guitar. It is the sound of our band, and my most prized possession from the day I bought it in 1992. Thank you, Trini for all of your contributions. You will be missed by many, remembered by all.”
Trini Lopez’s Career
It all started when his father, a onetime musician, bought Lopez a Gibson guitar for $12.
At one club, Frank Sinatra saw him play and signed him to his label, Reprise, for an eight-year term, Guerrero addressed. The deal produced the hits “If I Had a Hammer,” “This Land Is Your Land,” and “Lemon Tree.”
He received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1963. Guerrero explains the Trini Lopez sound as one inspired by folk music though with a Latin flare. Lopez opened for the Beatles in Paris for show series in 1963 and later developed a friendship with Elvis Presley.
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 throughout an 18-day engagement at the Olympia Theatre in Paris.
It was just before the British band would travel to the U.S., appear on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and upend the careers of Lopez and countless others.
Mentored by Buddy Holly and Frank Sinatra, Lopez displayed as an international star while performing in English and Spanish. Contrary to the rest of Mexican American singers such as Ritchie Valens, Lopez refused advice to change his name and openly welcomed his Mexican American heritage notwithstanding warnings it would hurt his career.
Lopez opened for the Beatles in Paris for show series in 1963 and later developed a friendship with Elvis Presley.
A break came when rock ‘n’ roll star Buddy Holly noticed Lopez perform and introduced him to his entourage. Following Holly’s death in 1959, Lopez was invited to perform with the pop star’s band, the Crickets, so he went to Los Angeles and ultimately started on a series of solo club gigs in the early 1960s.
A documentary about his life, titled My Name is Lopez, is currently nearing completion.
Paying tribute, his friend Alison Martino wrote: “My heart is broken. We lost TRINI LOPEZ today from COVID-19. I will always cherish our unique and special friendship. We are completely gutted. We had just finished a documentary on his life. Farewell my guitar hero.”
“I insisted on keeping my name Lopez,” he said The Dallas Morning News in 2017. “I’m proud to be a Lopez. I’m proud to be a Mexicano.”
“The French newspapers would say ‘Bravo Trini Lopez! Who are The Beatles?’” Lopez later said the web site www.classicbands.com.
“When we finished doing the shows, the last night we were there, reporters came to my dressing room. My dressing room was next to theirs and they said ‘Mr. Lopez, The Beatles are leaving tomorrow for New York. Do you think they’ll be a hit?’ I said ‘I don’t think so.’”
“Trini used to say he came to California, broke and in a station wagon. He’d thanked Sinatra for ‘discovering him’,” Chavira said. “Sinatra said, ‘no, it was meant to be.”