Freddy Fender sings “Before the Next Teardrop Falls”
You may not know the name Baldmar Garza Huerta, or “El Bebop Kid,” “Scotty Wayne,” and “Eddie con los Shades,” but odds are you’ve heard ofFreddy Fender. It can get confusing with all of his nicknames but for the purposes of your sanity, that’s what we’ll call him for the remainder of this article.
Freddy was born on June 4, 1937, in San Benito, TX. His mother, Margarita, was married to his father, a Mexican immigrant. Fender began performing at a young age and by the age of ten, he was a guest on the radio station KGBT. His younger years were a little rocky. Freddy dropped out of high-school to join the Marines. During his enlistment, he battled alcoholism and was granted a general discharge from the troops.
Following his time in the military, Freddy returned to Texas to pursue a career in music. He started off by playing a number of clubs, bars and nightclubs. His Mexican heritage made him a stand-out in the genre of country music. In 1957, his Spanish editions of Elvis’s “Don’t Be Cruel” and Harry Belafonte’s “Jamaica Farewell” found moderate success mostly among his hispanic audience. It was in 1958 that he legally changed his name to “Freddy Fender” because he believed it would appeal to a larger demographic. He also claimed that the name can be attributed to his favorite guitar manufacturer.
In 1974 Fender recorded “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” which became a number-one hit on the Billboard Country and Pop charts selling one million copies. His next three singles, “Secret Love,” “You’ll Lose a Good Thing,” and a remake of “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” all reached number one on the Billboard Country charts. Between 1975 and 1983 Fender charted 21 country hits. Following his success as a solo artist, Freddy teamed up with fellow Tex–Mex musicians Doug Sahm, Flaco Jiménez, and Augie Meyers to form the Texas Tornados. The group was awarded a Grammy for Best Mexican American Performance for the track “Soy de San Luis” in 1990
Freddy passed away on October 14, 2006 from lung cancer and was buried in San Benito. If you’d like to learn more about Freddy Fender, please visit: http://freddyfender.com