Tuesday, March 15, 2011
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Trini Lopez
Song:If I Had A Hammer
Album:The Very Best Of Trini Lopez: The Reprise Years
Trini Lopez had his biggest hit with this 1963 version of the folk standard If I Had A Hammer. He was part of the folk music boom of the early 60s but he wasn't really a folk singer. Trinidad Lopez III was born May 15, 1937 in Dallas and grew up in the Little Mexico neighbourhood. He started out singing in local clubs including Jack Ruby's Vegas Club. Yes, that Jack Ruby. And he also recorded a couple of Richie Valens influenced singles for King Records. So he was performing at PJ's in Los Angeles in 1962 when he was spotted by veteran producer Don Costa. Costa signed Lopez to Frank Sinatra's Reprise label and recorded Lopez' debut album live at PJ's. If I Had A Hammer reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963 and the album Trini Lopez At PJ's reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 200. If I Had A Hammer was written by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger of The Weavers. It wasn't a hit when they recorded it. But Peter, Paul and Mary had a top ten hit with it in 1962. I think Lopez' version was a bigger hit. Lopez' only other top 20 hit was Lemon Tree in 1965. The folk music movement was very serious and Lopez took a more Las Vegas entertainer upbeat approach to that style of music. Trini Lopez continued to record for Reprise until 1969. You can get all his hits on this Rhino UK comp. He also appeared in films including The Dirty Dozen in 1967. Trini Lopez continues to perform today and last recorded in 2002. Here's Trini Lopez performing If I Had A Hammer on Hootenanny Dec. 1963.