Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1975 Freddy Fender – Secret Love

Baldemar Garza Huerta was born in 1937 in San Benito, a small town in the extreme southern part of Texas. He sang live on a local radio station when he was only ten years old. After dropping out of school, he enlisted in the Marines for three years. After leaving the military, he returned to Texas and began playing in nightclubs and bars as El Bebop Kid in 1957.

He changed his name to Freddy Fender in 1958 and released singles in Spanish that covered English hits (such as No Seas Cruel, a Spanish version of Don’t Be Cruel). The records were moderate hits in Mexico and South America. He wrote and recorded the single Wasted Days And Wasted Nights in 1959 with only English lyrics. His music career was interrupted when he was arrested for possession of marijuana in 1960 and sent to prison for about three years.

When Freddy got out of prison, he found work as an auto mechanic and played music on the weekends. He began work on a sociology degree but never finished.

In 1974, Huey P. Meaux convinced Freddy to record music that was more Country-oriented. Huey singed Freddy to his Crazy Cajun label and produced his first single for the label, Before The Next Teardrop Falls. ABC Dot records picked up the record and it hit the top of both the Country chart and the Hot 100 in 1975.

Freddy followed that success by recording a new version of Wasted Days And Wasted Nights. The single also reached number one on the Country chart and peaked at #8 on the Hot 100. He also recorded two albums that year.

Doris Day sang Secret Love in the film Calamity Jane and it gave her a number one hit in 1953. Freddy’s also released a single that covered that early hit in 1975 and again topped the Country chart but only reached #20 on the Hot 100.

All three of those singles included Spanish lyrics in the middle of the songs and helped solidify the Tex-Mex market. While Freddy had only one more top forty single on the Hot 100, he continued releasing successful Country singles through the rest of the seventies.

After his recording sales declined in the early eighties, Freddy began an acting career.

In 1989 he joined with Doug Sahm and Augie Meyers (two former members of the Sir Douglas Quintet) to form the Tex-Mex group the Texas Tornados. The group recorded three albums and won a Grammy award for Best Mexican-American Performance in 1990.

After Doug died, Freddy joined Los Super Seven, another Tex-Mex group. While he was recording with the group, they also won a Grammy award for Best Mexican-American Performance in 1996.

Freddy won a third Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album for his solo album La Musica De Baldemar Huerta in 2001.

Freddy died after fighting lung cancer in 2006.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/freddy-fender-mn0000188342/biography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddy_Fender
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Tornados

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