Trini Lopez was born on this day in 1937

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Trini Lopez: Mexican-American singer and guitarist

Common clue: “Lemon Tree” singer Lopez; Singer Lopez; “If I Had a Hammer” singer Lopez; Lopez of pop

Crossword puzzle frequency: once a year

Video: If I Had a Hammer – Trini Lopez

Trini Lopez (born Trinidad López III, 15 May 1937, Dallas, Texas) is a Mexican-American singer and guitarist.

Lopez made his name on the club circuit of the Southwestern United States before being "discovered" in 1962 by the record producer Don Costa, while playing at the PJ Club in Hollywood, California. Costa was greatly taken with Lopez's latinized versions of contemporary hits and signed him up to Frank Sinatra's record label, Reprise Records. His debut album, Trini Lopez Live at PJ's, was released in 1963. The album included a version of "If I Had a Hammer", which reached number one in 25 countries and was a radio favourite for many years. He also performed his own version of the traditional Mexican song "La Bamba" on this album.

His popularity led the Gibson Guitar Corporation to ask him in 1964 to design a guitar for them. He ended up designing two: The Trini Lopez Standard, a rock and roll model based on the Gibson ES-335 semi-hollow body, and the Lopez Deluxe, a variation of a Gibson jazz guitar designed by Barney Kessel.

He later recorded covers of other popular songs of the day, including "Lemon Tree" (1965), "I'm Coming Home Cindy" (1966) and "Sally Was a Good Old Girl" (1968).

During the 1960s and 1970s Lopez moved into acting as well as recording and playing, though his film career was not as successful as his music. His first film appearance was in Marriage On The Rocks (1965) where he appeared with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. He was one of The Dirty Dozen (1967) and starred in Antonio (1973). He continued his musical career with extensive tours of Europe and Latin America during this period, remaining firmly within his Latin music genre; an attempt to break out by releasing a disco album in the United Kingdom in 1978 proved an embarrassing flop.

Since then, Lopez has done charitable work and received honors such as being inducted into the 'International Latin Music Hall of Fame' in 2003. He was still recording and appearing live in the early 2000s. Recently he announced a new CD album, and took part in a benefit concert to raise money for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Trini Lopez"