Trini Lopez

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Trini Lopez
Trini Lopez 1963 1.jpg
Trini Lopez in 1963
Background information
Birth name Trinidad López III
Born (1937-05-15) 15 May 1937 (age 81)
Origin Dallas, Texas, United States
Occupation(s) Singer, musician, actor
Instruments Vocals and Guitar
Years active 1963 – present
Labels Reprise
Notable instruments
Gibson ES-335
Gibson DG-335/Trini Lopez[1]

Gibson ES-335 Trini Lopez

Trinidad "Trini" López III (born May 15, 1937) is an American singer, guitarist, and actor. He was born in Dallas, Texas, and grew up on Ashland Street in the Little Mexico neighborhood.[2]

Family Life

Trini Lopez is the son of Trinidad Lopez II (who was a singer, dancer, actor, and musician in Mexico) and Petra Gonzalez who moved to Dallas, Texas, from Mexico. Lopez has four sisters (two are deceased) and a brother. He attended grammar school and N. R. Crozier Tech High School in Dallas, and had to drop out of High School in his senior year because his father needed his financial support.


Lopez formed his first band in Wichita Falls, Texas, at the age of 15. In 1958, at the recommendation of Buddy Holly, Trini and his group "The Big Beats" went to producer Norman Petty in Clovis, New Mexico. Petty secured them to a contract 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 charted. 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.

His debut live album, Trini Lopez at PJ's (R/RS 6093), was released in 1963.[3] The album included a version of "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.[4] 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. 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) 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.

His 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,[5] a rock and roll model based on the Gibson ES-335 semihollow body, and the Lopez Deluxe,[6] 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.[citation needed] Owners of the guitar include Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters[7] and Noel Gallagher of Oasis.[citation needed]

He scored 13 chart singles through 1968, including "Lemon Tree" (1965), "I'm Comin' Home, Cindy" (1966), and "Sally Was a Good Old Girl" (1968). 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). 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).

During the 1960s and 1970s, Lopez moved into acting, though his film career was not as successful as his music. 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. Lopez produced a single promoting the Coca-Cola soft drink Fresca in 1967.

In 1993, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.[8]

In 2002, Lopez teamed with Art Greenhaw for Legacy: My Texas Roots. The album used the "Texas Roots Combo" including Lopez, Greenhaw, and Lopez' brother, Jesse. Said reviewer Steve Leggett of All Music Guide, "The album has an easygoing feel very similar to Lopez' classic live sets from the 1960s, only it rocks a good deal harder." Since then, Lopez has done charitable work and received honors such as being inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2003.

On May 15, 2008, his 71st birthday, Lopez was inducted into the Las Vegas Walk of Stars.[9]

Trini was still recording and appearing live in recent years. He took part in a benefit concert to raise money for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and has recently appeared as a guest performer in a number of shows held in Maastricht in the Netherlands with the Dutch violinist and composer André Rieu. Trini Lopez has continued to record, and in 2008, his 63rd album, "Ramblin Man,” was released. "El Immortal" was released in 2010 and in 2011, Trini released his 65th album "Into The Future.”[10]

Acting Career

Trini Lopez' 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 starred in Antonio (1973). He made two appearances (playing different characters) on the television program, Adam-12. In 1973, Lopez played the lead role of Antonio Contreras in “Antonio.” 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.

Singles discography

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)
123 Greatest Hits
"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 Greatest Hits
"Regressa 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
"Malaguena Salerosa"
b/w "Something Tells Me"
24 Non-album tracks
"El Nino Del Tambor (The Little Drummer Boy)"
b/w "Nocho 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 (Heavy Makes You Happy)"
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.

  • 1963 Trini Lopez at PJ's
  • 1963 More Trini Lopez at PJ's
  • 1964 On the Move
  • 1964 Live at Basin St. East
  • 1964 The Latin Album
  • 1965 The Folk Album
  • 1965 The Love Album
  • 1965 The Rhythm and Blues Album
  • 1965 The Sing Along World of Trini Lopez
  • 1965 Trini Lopez Live in South Africa
  • 1966 Trini
  • 1966 The Second Latin Album
  • 1966 Greatest Hits
  • 1967 In London
  • 1967 Now!
  • 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

Use of music


  1. Malernee, Ellen (October 12, 2007). "Gibson Custom Shop Proudly Introduces the Dave Grohl Inspired By DG-335". Gibson Guitar Company. Retrieved August 17, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. A Book of Prayers: To the Heavens from the Stars – Chuck Spinner – Google Books. January 31, 2008. Retrieved 2012-04-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Billboard – Google Books. May 15, 1965. Retrieved 2012-04-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 162. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Trini Lopez Standard". Vintage Guitars. Retrieved December 4, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Trini Lopez Deluxe". Vintage Guitars. Retrieved December 4, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Dave Grohl – Exclusive Studio Tour video". NME. Retrieved November 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated
  9. Trini Lopez
  10. "Biography". Trini Lopez: Official Website. Retrieved 7 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links