Don Remembers Freddy Fender

It was the mid-'70s when I was discussing some business with the late, great Doug Sahm. Sir Doug, whose enthusiasm was beyond bounds about everything including marijuana, told me, "You have to see FREDDY FENDER, (Baldemar Garza Huerta) he's a great performer." He then explained to me how Freddy had a hit back in 1959 called, "Wasted Days, and Wasted Nights," but had been busted in Baton Rouge for pot possession, and served 3 years at the Angola Prison Farm.

He was playing around South Texas when we spoke, and would sign with ABC Records when I was there. His first #1 Hit Record was called, "BEFORE THE NEXT TEARDROP FALLS," which surprised everyone by Topping both the POP and C&W charts. His next release, a reprise of "Wasted Days," that he called Swamp Rock or Rockabilly, also went to #1, although it was difficult.

A lot of the Top 40 stations in the Northeast didn't think it was right for their format; but it became a priority for our crack Promotion Team, and fairly quickly was #1 on every station in the country except one, WABC in New York City.

The legendary P.D. at WABC, Rick Sklar, refused to play it because, "It Wouldn't Work In New York." He held off until he learned that the record was already selling big in the City off airplay at other stations. So one morning I got a call and the guy said, "Just thought you'd like to know, Freddy was added at WABC today at #1." I sat at my desk and visualized some cab driver in New York suddenly hearing Freddy Fender for the first time, and liking it.

Freddy's life was turned around, he began doing TV and touring, world-wide to great response. I remember him well, he was a talented gentleman, who had a working Hash Pipe Belt Buckle. Freddy Fender died in 2006 at 69. @therealdonrocks


While Freddy Fender is still on-stage, let's watch him sing his second #1 Hit Record, "WASTED DAYS AND WASTED NIGHTS, in Rotterdam; and see how a foreign audience receives Freddy and his signature song. It's a great example of the impact of American Music around the world. @therealdonrocks

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights – Live in Rotterdam

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