Trinidad López III (May 15, 1937 – August 11, 2020) was an American singer and guitarist.[1] His first album included a cover version of Pete Seeger's "If I Had a Hammer", which earned a Golden Disc for him. His other hits included "Lemon Tree", "I'm Comin' Home, Cindy" and "Sally Was a Good Old Girl". He designed two guitars for the Gibson Guitar Corporation, which are now collectors’ items. A documentary on his life and career, "My Name is Lopez" was released in April 2022.

Trini Lopez
Lopez in 1963
Lopez in 1963
Background information
Birth nameTrinidad López III
Born(1937-05-15)May 15, 1937
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
DiedAugust 11, 2020(2020-08-11) (aged 83)
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
  • Singer
  • musician
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1959–2020

Early life


Lopez was born in Dallas, Texas, on May 15, 1937. His father, Trinidad Lopez II, worked as a singer, dancer, actor, and musician in Mexico; his mother was Petra Gonzalez. They married in their hometown of Moroleón, Guanajuato, prior to moving to Dallas.[2] Lopez had four sisters (two are deceased) and a brother, Jesse, who is also a singer. He grew up on Ashland Street in the Little Mexico neighborhood of Dallas[3] and attended grammar school and N. R. Crozier Tech High School.[2] He dropped out of high school in his senior year in order to earn money to help support the family.[2][4]



Lopez formed his first band in Wichita Falls, Texas, at the age of 15. Around 1955/56, Lopez and his band worked at The Vegas Club, a nightclub owned by Jack Ruby, the man who assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald.[5] In 1957, at the recommendation of Buddy Holly's father, Trini and his group "The Big Beats" went to producer Norman Petty in Clovis, New Mexico. Petty secured a contract for them with Columbia Records, which released the single "Clark's Expedition"/"Big Boy", both instrumental. Lopez left the group and made his first solo recording, his own composition "The Right To Rock", for the Dallas-based Volk Records, and then signed with King Records in 1959, recording more than a dozen singles for that label, none of which reached any musical hit parade.

In late 1962, after the King contract expired, Lopez followed up on an offer by producer Snuff Garrett to join the post-Holly Crickets as vocalist. After a few weeks of auditions in Los Angeles, that idea did not go through. He landed a steady engagement at the nightclub PJ's, where his audience grew quickly. He was heard there by Frank Sinatra, who had started his own label, Reprise Records, and who subsequently signed Lopez.[6]

His debut live album, Trini Lopez at PJ's (R/RS 6093), was released in 1963.[7] The album included a version of Pete Seeger's "If I Had a Hammer", which reached number one in 36 countries (no. 3 in the United States), and was a radio favorite for many years. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.[8] He also performed his own version of the traditional Mexican song "La Bamba" on the album; his recording of the tune was later reissued as a single in 1966.[2] Another live album from PJ's was recorded later that same year under the title By Popular Demand More Trini Lopez at PJ's (R/RS 6103),[2] which contains the song Green, Green which was written by Randy Sparks and Barry McGuire and originally recorded by the New Christy Minstrels earlier that year for their Columbia album Ramblin.[9]

Trini Lopez and Pat Boone during a tennis event at Fort Lauderdale, Florida (April 1975)

Lopez scored 13 chart singles through 1968, including "Lemon Tree" (1965), "I'm Comin' Home, Cindy" (1966), and "Sally Was a Good Old Girl" (1968). Later in 2013, Lopez told Portland Magazine, “People ask about ‘Lemon Tree’ all the time. It’s one of my most favorite requested songs. It’s a very catchy tune. I just happen to like the chorus.” [10] On the adult contemporary chart, he racked up 15 hits, including the top-10 singles "Michael" (1964), "Gonna Get Along Without Ya' Now" (1967), and "The Bramble Bush" (1967), which he sang in the movie The Dirty Dozen. Beyond his success on record, he became one of the country's top nightclub performers of that era, regularly headlining in Las Vegas. In 1968, he recorded an album in Nashville entitled Welcome to Trini Country (R/RS 6300).[11]

Lopez produced a single promoting the Coca-Cola soft drink Fresca in 1967.[12] In 1969, NBC aired a Trini Lopez variety special featuring surf guitar group The Ventures, and Nancy Ames as guests.[13] The soundtrack, released as The Trini Lopez Show, has him singing his hits with The Ventures as his backing band.[2]

He continued his musical career with extensive tours of Europe and Latin America during this period; an attempt to break out by releasing a disco album in 1978 proved a flop.



In 2002, Lopez teamed with Art Greenhaw for Legacy: My Texas Roots. The album used the "Texas Roots Combo" including Lopez, Greenhaw, and Lopez's brother, Jesse.[14] Said reviewer Steve Leggett of AllMusic, "The album has an easygoing feel very similar to Lopez's classic live sets from the 1960s, only it rocks a good deal harder."[15] Thereafter, Lopez focused on charitable work.[16]

Lopez was still recording and appearing live in the years leading up to his death. He took part in a benefit concert to raise money for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami,[17] and appeared as a guest performer in a number of shows held in Maastricht in the Netherlands with the Dutch violinist and composer André Rieu.[18] He continued to record; El Inmortal was released in 2010, and the following year he released his 65th album, Into The Future.[2][19] He is featured in the documentary My Name Is Lopez, which premiered in his home town of Palm Springs, winning Best Documentary at the AmDocs Film Festival. It went on the win many awards and can be streamed on Amazon Prime and Apple TV. It was produced by Joan and Gary Gand of the Gand Band 3x Coachella Valley Best Band winners who performed with Trini for approx 10 years. The doc was directed by P. David Ebersol and Tod Hughes of the Ebersol Hughes co, who have directed docs on other celebrities including Cher, Jayne Mansfield and Pierre Cardin.

Gibson Guitars


Lopez' 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,[20] a rock and roll model based on the Gibson ES-335 semihollow body, and the Lopez Deluxe,[21] a variation of a Gibson jazz guitar designed by Barney Kessel. Both of these guitars were in production from 1964 until 1971, and are now highly sought-after among collectors.[2] Owners of the guitar include Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters[22] and Noel Gallagher of Oasis.[2]

Acting career


During the 1960s and 1970s, Lopez moved into acting, though his film career was not as successful as his music.[2] Lopez's first film role was in Marriage on the Rocks (1965), in which he made a cameo appearance in a nightclub scene; Lopez's soundtrack song, "Sinner Man", became a hit single (no. 54 pop/no. 12 adult contemporary). He was one of The Dirty Dozen (1967), appeared as himself in The Phynx (1970), and played the title role in Claudio Guzman's Antonio (1973). He made two appearances (playing different characters) on the television program Adam-12. In 1977, he played the role of Julio Ramirez in “The Mystery of the Silent Scream” which was part of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries TV series.[23][24]

Honors, awards, distinctions


Personal life


Lopez remained a lifelong bachelor and had no children.[2] His nephew, Trini Martinez, was the drummer for the Dallas indie rock band Bedhead.[27]

Lopez died on August 11, 2020, at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California.[4] He was 83, and developed complications from COVID-19 during the COVID-19 pandemic in California.[28][29]




Year Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Chart positions Album
1958 "The Right to Rock"
b/w "Just Once More"
Teenage Love Songs
1959 "Rock On"
b/w "It Hurts to Be in Love" (from Teenage Love Songs)
Non-album tracks
"Yes You Do"
b/w "My Runaway Heart" (from Teenage Love Songs)
"Rock On"
b/w "Since I Don't Have You"
"Love Me Tonight"
b/w "Here Comes Sally" (Non-album track)
Teenage Love Songs
"I'm Grateful"
b/w "Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die" (Non-album track)
"(Won't You Be) My Queen for a Day"
b/w "Yes You Do"
Non-album tracks
"Nobody Loves Me"
bw "Nobody Listens to Our Teenage Problems" (from Teenage Love Songs)
1960 "Jeanie Marie"
b/w "Schemer"
Teenage Love Songs
"The Search Goes On"
b/w "It Hurts to Be in Love" (from Teenage Love Songs)
Non-album track
"Then You Know (You've Been in Love)"
b/w "Don't Treat Me That Way" (Non-album track)
Teenage Love Songs
1961 "You Broke the Only Heart"
b/w "One Heart, One Life, One Love"
b/w "Only in My Dreams"
Trini Lopez & Johnny Tores
1962 "Sinner Not a Saint"
b/w "Where Can My Baby Be"
1963 "Jeanie Marie"
b/w "Love Me Tonight"
Teenage Love Songs
"Don't Go"
b/w "It Seems"
Non-album tracks
b/w "Let It Be Known"
"La Bamba" (Part I)
b/w "La Bamba" (Part II) (Non-album track)
"If I Had a Hammer"
b/w "Unchain My Heart"
3 3 4 12 Trini Lopez at PJ's
"Kansas City" 23 26 13 35 By Popular Demand!! More Trini Lopez at PJ's
"Lonesome Traveler" 135
"La Bamba"
b/w "Granada"
Trini Lopez at PJ's
"Nobody Loves Me"
b/w "The Club for Broken Hearts" (from Teenage Love Songs)
Non-album track
1964 "Sinner Not a Saint"
b/w "If"
103 Trini Lopez & Johnny Tores
"Jailer, Bring Me Water"
b/w "You Can't Say Goodbye"
94 106 On the Move
"What Have I Got of My Own"
b/w "Ya Ya"
43 51
b/w "San Francisco De Assisi" (from The Second Latin Album)
42 41 7 The Folk Album
1965 "Lemon Tree"
b/w "Pretty Eyes"
20 22 2
"Sad Tomorrows"
b/w "I've Lost My Love for You" (Non-album track)
94 81 22 The Love Album
"Are You Sincere"
b/w "You'll Be Sorry"
85 110 25 20
"Sinner Man"
b/w "Double Trouble" (from The Rhythm & Blues Album)
54 64 12 Trini Lopez Plays and Sings
"Regresa A Mi"
b/w "Mi Felicidad"
Non-album tracks
1966 "Made in Paris"
b/w "Pretty Little Girl"
113 113 36
"The Search Goes On"
b/w "Chain of Love" (from Teenage Love Songs)
"I'm Comin' Home, Cindy"
b/w "The 32nd of May"
39 48 2 28 23 Trini
"La Bamba Pt. 1"
b/w "Trini's Tune" (from Trini)
86 100 9 78 Greatest Hits
"Pancho Lopez"
b/w "Hall of Fame" (from Greatest Hits)
The Second Latin Album
"Takin' the Back Roads" / tag Trini Lopez in London
"Your Ever Changin' Mind" 131
1967 "Gonna Get Along Without Ya Now"
b/w "Love Letters"
93 93 6 41
"Up to Now"
b/w "In the Land of Plenty" (from Trini Lopez – Now!)
123 Non-album tracks
"The Bramble Bush"
b/w "The Ballad of the Dirty Dozen"
117 4
b/w "I Wanna Be Free" (from Trini Lopez – Now!)
"It's a Great Life"
b/w "Let's Take A Walk"
It's a Great Life
1968 "Sally Was a Good Old Girl"
b/w "It's a Great Life"
99 106 30
"Mental Journey"
b/w "Good Old Mountain Dew"
18 Welcome to Trini Country
"Malagueña Salerosa"
b/w "Something Tells Me"
24 Non-album tracks
"El Nino Del Tambor (The Little Drummer Boy)"
b/w "Noche De Paz (Silent Night adaption) / Let There Be Peace"
1969 "Come a Little Bit Closer"
b/w "Pata Cum Cum" (first pressings)
"My Baby Loves Sad Songs" (later pressings)
121 The Whole Enchilada
"Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying"
b/w "My Baby Loves Sad Songs"
"Love Story"
b/w "Games People Play"
Non-album tracks
1970 "Five O'Clock World"
b/w "You Make My Day"
"Mexican Medicine Man"
b/w "Time to Get It Together"
"Mexican Medicine Man"
b/w "Su-Kal-De-Don"
"Let's Think About Living"
b/w "There Was a Crooked Man"
1971 "Some Kind of Summer"
b/w "Poor Old Billy"
1972 "Ruby Mountain"
b/w "Y Volvere"
1973 "Butterfly"
b/w "Don't Burn Your Bridges Behind You"
Non-album tracks
1975 "We Gotta Make It Together"
b/w "Bring Back the Sunshine"
"Somethin' 'Bout You Baby I Like"
b/w "Sweet Life"
1977 "Sha-La-Boom-Boom-Yeah"
b/w "Satisfaction"
"You Say Something Nice"
b/w "Sittin' Pretty in Atlantic City"
b/w "Beautiful People"
Transformed by Time
1978 "Helplessly"
b/w "Trini's Medley"



Most albums are on the Reprise label, unless otherwise indicated.[11][30]

  • 1963 Trini Lopez at PJ's (#2 Billboard 200)
  • 1963 More Trini Lopez at PJ's (#11 Billboard 200)
  • 1964 On the Move (#32 Billboard 200)
  • 1964 Live at Basin St. East (#30 Billboard 200)
  • 1964 Trini Lopez Plays and Sings
  • 1964 The Latin Album (#18 Billboard 200)
  • 1965 The Folk Album (#18 Billboard 200)
  • 1965 The Love Album (#32 Billboard 200)
  • 1965 The Rhythm and Blues Album (#46 Billboard 200)
  • 1965 The Sing Along World of Trini Lopez (#101 Billboard 200)
  • 1965 Trini Lopez Live in South Africa
  • 1966 Trini (#54 Billboard 200)
  • 1966 The Second Latin Album (#110 Billboard 200)
  • 1966 Greatest Hits (#47 Billboard 200)
  • 1967 Trini Lopez In London (#114 Billboard 200)
  • 1967 Now! (#162 Billboard 200)
  • 1968 It's a Great Life
  • 1968 Welcome to Trini Country
  • 1969 The Whole Enchilada
  • 1969 The Trini Lopez Show
  • 1971 Trini Lopez Live in Tokyo
  • 1972 Viva
  • 1977 Y Su Alma Latina
  • 1978 Transformed By Time
  • 1991 The 25th Anniversary Album
  • 1998 Dance Party
  • 2000 Aylole-Aylola
  • 2001 Dance the Night Away
  • 2002 Legacy: My Texas Roots
  • 2005 Romantic and Sexy Guitars
  • 2008 Ramblin' Man
  • 2011 Into the Future, Trilo Records


Year Title Role Notes
1965 Marriage on the Rocks Himself
1966 The Poppy Is Also a Flower Himself
1967 The Dirty Dozen Pedro Jiminez
1970 The Phynx Himself
1973 Antonio Antonio Contreras
1995 Prima Donnas Himself

Use of music



  1. ^ "Trini Lopez Biography". Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Farber, Jim (August 11, 2020). "Trini Lopez, Singing Star Who Mixed Musical Styles, Dies at 83". The New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  3. ^ Spinner, Chuck (January 31, 2008). A Book of Prayers: To the Heavens from the Stars – Chuck Spinner – Google Books. AuthorHouse. p. 104. ISBN 9781467083379. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Contreras, Russell; Italie, Hillel (August 11, 2020). "Trini Lopez, 1960s-era singer mentored by Sinatra, dies". Associated Press. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  5. ^ "Gary James' Interview with Trini Lopez". Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  6. ^ "Ssingings". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. September 11, 1971. p. 20. ISSN 0006-2510.
  7. ^ Billboard – Google Books. May 15, 1965. p. 46. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  8. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 162. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  9. ^ "Ramblin' Featuring Green, Green – The New Christy Minstrels". AllMusic. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  10. ^ "Music Man – Songwriter Will Holt | PORTLAND MAGAZINE". June 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c "Trini Lopez – Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  12. ^ Popoff, Martin (September 8, 2009). Goldmine Record Album Price Guide. Penguin. ISBN 9781440229169.
  13. ^ Osborne, Jerry (2002). Movie/TV Soundtracks and Original Cast Recordings Price and Reference Guide. Jerry Osborne Enterprises. p. 604. ISBN 9780932117373.
  14. ^ "Legacy: My Texas Roots – Trini Lopez – Credits – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  15. ^ "Legacy: My Texas Roots – Trini Lopez – Songs, Reviews, Credits – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Granberry, Michael (August 11, 2020). "Trini López, whose roots in Dallas' Little Mexico preceded a stunning musical career, dies at 83". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  17. ^ Clark, John (July 9, 2006). "Speaking of DVDs: Trini Lopez". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  18. ^ "Andre Rieu & Friends: Live In Maastricht VII". Radio Times. 2013. Archived from the original on January 19, 2017. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  19. ^ "Biography". Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  20. ^ "Trini Lopez Standard". Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  21. ^ "Trini Lopez Deluxe". Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  22. ^ "Dave Grohl – Exclusive Studio Tour video". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  23. ^ "Trini Lopez". Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  24. ^ "Trini Lopez List of Movies and TV Shows". Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  25. ^ "Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 13, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  26. ^ "TRINI LOPEZ – ONLINE". Archived from the original on June 14, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  27. ^ Heller, Jason (November 2, 2014). "First Listen: Bedhead, '1992–1998'". Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  28. ^ Saperstein, Pat (August 11, 2020). "Trini Lopez, Singer and Actor in 'The Dirty Dozen,' Dies of COVID-19 at 83". Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  29. ^ "Trini Lopez, "If I Had a Hammer" and "Lemon Tree" Singer, Dies of COVID-19 at 83". The Hollywood Reporter. August 11, 2020. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  30. ^ a b "Trini Lopez". Billboard. Retrieved August 11, 2020.