Happy Anniversary: Trini Lopez, THE FOLK ALBUM

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Trini Lopez, THE FOLK ALBUM cover

54 years ago this month, Trini Lopez released his seventh album for Reprise Records, an LP which found him embracing the folk movement…although you probably guessed that from the title.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Lopez’s initial foray into a music career found him running in the same circles as one of the key figures in late 1950s rock and roll: Buddy Holly. Indeed, it was Holly’s father who steered Trini and his band, The Big Beats, to approach Norman Petty about producing them. In turn, Petty helped them score a contract with Columbia Records, and while the band never really took off, Lopez did: he went solo. His search for success was a slow one – he released a dozen singles for King Records without a single one of them making it onto the charts – but after he moved to Los Angeles and started playing regularly at P.J.’s, a noted nightclub at the time, he found a following and, after one Francis Albert Sinatra happened to catch one of his sets, he also found himself signed to Reprise Records.

Lopez’s first – and biggest – hit was his version of “If I Had a Hammer,” but he found further success on the Hot 100 over the subsequent years, and with THE FOLK ALBUM, he hit #20 with “Lemon Tree” and #42 with “Michael.” It should be noted, however, that those songs were substantially more successful on the Adult Contemporary chart, hitting #2 and #7, respectively.

If you’ve never heard THE FOLK ALBUM – heck, if you’ve never heard Trini Lopez at all! – then today’s a good day to remedy that situation. Go forth, my child, and get folked up!

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