Aug. 11 (UPI) — Singer and guitarist Trini Lopez, most known for his 1960s recordings of “If I Had a Hammer” and “Lemon Tree” died on Tuesday of complications from COVID-19. He was 83.
Lopez died Tuesday in a hospital in Palm Springs, Calif., Joe Chavira, his songwriting and business partner, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Lopez was born Trinidad Lopez III in Dallas, to Mexican immigrants and began playing in bands at the age of 15.
His group Big Beats signed with Columbia Records in 1958 and he later went solo and signed his own deal with King Records in 1962. Lopez was later discovered by Frank Sinatra during a residency at Los Angeles nightclub PJ’s and signed to his label Reprise Records in 1963.
Lopez’s debut album “Trini Lopez at PJ’s” featured a cover of “If I Had a Hammer” that topped charts in multiple countries and reached No. 3 in the United States. His rendition of “Lemon Tree” also reached No. 20 in the U.S. in 1965.
Throughout his career, Lopez recorded more than 60 albums, played a headlining show in Las Vegas, and appeared in the 1967 film “The Dirty Dozen.”
A documentary about his life, titled “My Name Is Lopez,” is in post-production.