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Freddy Fender's Songs of Love and Loss

Published: 6/4/2012

Singer Freddy Fender gestures to photographers Thursday, Feb. 4, 1999, after receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. More than 300 people showed up to witness the unveiling of the star, the 2,129th dedicated along the famous walkway. (AP Photo / Chris Pizzello)

Singer Freddy Fender receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Feb. 4, 1999. (AP Photo / Chris Pizzello)

Freddy Fender was one of the kings of Tejano music and a rare Mexican-American crossover success on the country music charts. His songs of love and loss struck a chord with listeners, even when they couldn’t understand all of the bilingual lyrics.

We’re celebrating Fender on what would have been his 75th birthday by listening to his greatest hits – the four songs that rose to No. 1 on the country charts. It all started in 1975 with "Before the Next Teardrop Falls."

The same album included a reworked version of an earlier song. Fender first recorded "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" in 1959, garnering some attention at the time. But then Fender was arrested for marijuana possession in Baton Rouge and spent nearly three years at the Angola prison farm. After his release, he worked as a mechanic and took some college classes. When he returned to the music world full-time, he rerecorded his first successful song and rose to the top of the chart.

Fender saw songs from three different albums chart in 1975. The next chart-topping hit was "Secret Love."

Fender’s last No. 1 hit came in 1976 with "You’ll Lose a Good Thing," but it was far from the end of his career. He continued recording albums for many years, teaming up with super groups Texas Tornados and Los Super Seven. He won Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Tejano Music Hall of Fame, and he acted in movies including The Milagro Beanfield War. But he’s best remembered for tear-jerkers like this classic.

Written by Linnea Crowther. Find her on Google+.

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