The celebrated ’60s singer Trini Lopez, whose hits included Latin-influenced renditions of folk standards such as “If I Had a Hammer” and “This Land Is Your Land,” died Tuesday from complications related to coronavirus, at the age of 83. One of his songwriting partners, Joe Chavira and said that the last song they wrote together, “If by Now,” was performed for a half-hour coronavirus fundraiser expected to air over the weekend on local television in Santa Barbara, California. “He passed trying to tell people about COVID,” Chavira said. Chavira said he called to speak to Lopez four days ago at a hospital, but was told Lopez was not responsive. He asked a nurse to hold the phone to the singer’s ear and said, in an Alvin and the Chipmunks-style voice, “Hey Trini, it’s your amigo, Joe,” to which Lopez reacted with laughter. He was born Trinidad Lopez III to Mexican immigrants in Dallas. His father bought Lopez a Gibson guitar for $12 on which he learned his art. Buddy Holly was among those impressed by Lopez and after his death in 1959, Lopez was asked to perform with The Crickets. He moved to Los Angeles and eventually embarked on a series of solo club gigs in the early 1960s. Frank Sinatra saw him perform and signed him to his label, Reprise, for an eight-year term, during which he produced his biggest hits. He won a Grammy in 1963 and also famously appeared in The Dirty Dozen.
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