Freddy Fender (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
Freddy Fender was one of the few Hispanic stars in country music, a singer and songwriter whose work was defined largely by its strong Latin sensibility. Fender began playing guitar early in his childhood. After dropping out of school at the age of 16 to join the Marine Corps, he released his first Spanish-language recordings under his given name in 1958.
In Texas, he spent several years working as an auto mechanic, and even returned to school to pursue a degree in sociology. In 1974, he met Huey P. Meaux, the owner of the Houston-based Crazy Cajun label; after agreeing on a recording deal, it was Meaux who convinced Fender to steer in the direction of country & western while maintaining his music's Hispanic roots. After Fender's first Meaux-produced single, "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," failed to attract the attention of a major label, it was released on Crazy Cajun; in the first weeks of 1975, the song hit the top of both the country and pop charts, and Fender became an overnight star.
Throughout the remainder of the '70s, Fender's success continued, most notably with the number two single "Living It Down" in 1976. That same year, he released two more albums, Your Cheatin' Heart and Rock 'N' Country. In 1977, he also issued a holiday record, Merry Christmas/Feliz Navidad. As the 1980s dawned, however, his popularity began slipping; after his final chart hit, 1983's
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.n 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.
Freddy Fender underwent a kidney transplant in 2002 donated by his daughter and a transplant of the liver 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. (Info edited from Wikipedia & All Music Guide)