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Trini Lopez, 1960s-era singer mentored by Sinatra, dies

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Posted at 3:43 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 18:43:00-04

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Trini Lopez, a singer and guitarist who gained fame for his versions of “Lemon Tree” and “If I Had a Hammer” in the 1960s and took his talents to Hollywood, has died. He was 83.

Filmmaker P. David Ebersole confirms that Lopez died Tuesday from complications of COVID-19.

Lopez was mentored by Buddy Holly and Frank Sinatra and became an international star, performing in English and Spanish.

Unlike Mexican American singers such as Ritchie Valens, Lopez rejected advice to change his name.

Sinatra signed Lopez to his Reprise Records label after seeing him perform at a West Hollywood nightclub.

Ebersole had just finished shooting a documentary on Lopez.