(June 4, 1937 – October 14, 2006), born Baldemar Garza Huerta
in San Benito, Texas, United States, was a Mexican-American Tejano, country and rock and roll musician, known for his work as a solo artist and in the groups Los Super Seven and the Texas Tornados. He is best known for his 1975 hits "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" and the subsequent remake of his own "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights".Texas TornadosIn 1989, Fender teamed up with fellow Tex-Mex musicians Doug Sahm, Flaco Jiménez, and Augie Meyers to form the Texas Tornados, whose work meshed conjunto, Tejano, R&B, country, and blues to wide acclaim. The group released four albums and won a Grammy in 1990 for Best Mexican American Performance for the track "Soy de San Luis." Fender described the group as such: "You've heard of New Kids on the Block? Well, we're the Old Guys in the Street". Following the death of Sahm, the Tornados' production slowed. A live 1990 appearance on TV's Austin City Limits
, one of three the group made, was released in 2005 as part of the Live From Austin, Texas
Los Super 7
In the late 1990s, Fender joined another supergroup, Los Super Seven, with Los Lobos' David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas, Flaco Jiménez, Ruben Ramos, Joe Ely, and country singer Rick Trevino. The group won a 1998 Grammy in the Mexican-American Performance category for their self-titled disc.
In 2001, Fender made his final studio recording, a collection of classic Mexican boleros titled La Música de Baldemar Huerta
that brought him a third Grammy award, this time in the category of Latin Pop Album. Rose Reyes, who worked with Fender in 2004 for a Texas Folklife and Austin tribute titled "Fifty Years of Freddy Fender", said of the album, "When he did Mexican standards at that point in his career, I expected it to be good because he's a perfectionist. But that record is so beautifully recorded; his voice is perfection. I was so proud it was coming back to his roots."
Death and legacy
Freddy Fender underwent a kidney transplant in 2002 with a kidney donated by his daughter and underwent a liver transplant in 2004. Nonetheless, his condition continued to worsen. He was suffering from an "incurable cancer" in which he had tumors on his lungs. On December 31, 2005, Fender performed his last concert and resumed chemotherapy.He died in 2006 at the age of 69 of lung cancer at his home in Corpus Christi, Texas, with his family at his bedside. He was buried in his hometown of San Benito.International news coverage of the death cited an oft-expressed wish by the singer to become the first Mexican-American inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, with reporters noting that posthumous induction remains a possibility.A Freddy Fender Museum and The Conjunto Music Museum opened November 17, 2007, in San Benito. They share a building with The San Benito Historical Museum. His family is committed to continue the Freddy Fender Scholarship Fund and other philanthropic causes which the musician was passionate about.The song "Dead Man's Curve" from the album NonStopErotik by Black Francis is about Freddy Fender.
In 1988, Fender played the mayor of a small New Mexico town in the Robert Redford-directed film The Milagro Beanfield War
. Fender also appeared as "Tony" in the prison movie Short Eyes
, a 1977 film adaptation, directed by Robert M. Young, of the Miguel Pinero play.