Henry Zimmerle has been playing music since he was a kid, now 60 years later he still continue to pack dance halls all over Texas. Henry Zimmerle is a Tejano Conjunto Hall of Fame Inductee and Pioneer of Conjunto Music.
Starting out with his pre-prepared biography, the singer-songwriter-bajo sexto player was born in the Alamo City to William “Henry” Zimmerle Sr., who also sang and played bajo sexto, recorded his first record at Hotel Mexico at the corner of Navarro and Travis streets in San Antonio. The 1928 recording, for Tomas Acuña, was on Blue Bird Records. In 1946, he and his brother Fred Zimmerle, Henry’s accordionist uncle, formed Trio San Antonio and recorded on Decca Records.
With two well-known conjunto music pioneers to influence him, it is no surprise Henry Jr. followed in their footsteps. “I remember the people from Falcon Records used to come record at my grandmother’s (Anatasia) home with a portable one-track mono tape recorder,” the 59-year-old hall of fame inductee said. “I also remember Santiago Jimenez Sr. coming over to practice at our home. That’s how I met Flaco (Jimenez), because my dad and he played together.” He and Flaco hit it off so well, in 1952, they formed Los Caporales de Flaco Jimenez. The third member was Joe Ponce on bass. Together, clad in blue jeans and white t-shirts, they performed at Ray’s Lounge on S. Flores St. Seven years and several Rio label recordings later, still remaining friends, they went their separate ways.
Flaco, still Henry’s friend, was present at the induction ceremony. Daniel Garzes, Paulino Bernal, Beatriz “La Paloma del Norte” Llamas, Michael Salgado, La Tropa F and Los Cuatro Vientos were also in attendance to honor Zimmerle and Carmen Marroquin. Not to mention Elizabeth Lopez and Mary Jane Garza of El Mundo in Austin, plus disc jockeys from all over the state.
Next Henry Jr. joined Los Pavos Reales and formed the Texas Band Association, a musician’s union that folded in 1961 at which time he formed Henry Zimmerle y El Conjunto San Antonio. Almost immediately, Falcon Records signed the handsome young man, with movie-star looks.
“Six records and one year later nothing happened and it appeared I was about to be dropped when one day I pulled out an old weathered sheet I had carried in my pocket for years,” the inductee said. “The torn tattered piece of paper contained a song my father wrote many years ago. It was ‘El Señor De Los Milagros,’ the song that opened the door for me and made me famous.
“Within 60 days they called me for performances in fifteen states, but I was afraid and decided not to risk loosing my full-time job. So I kind of shut the doors on myself. This is the recJuntos,” “Mar De Lagrimas” and “Celoso,” were other Falcon hits that assured his popularity in all four-corneven Roses” backed by “I Am Alone Because I Love You” with Charlie Pride’s band on ARV International. Other country tunes he did were “Shutters and Boards” and “Without Your Love” on Teardrop Records. After that recordings on Renner, Atlas, Hacienda and Dina record companies followed. Thirty years later, in 2003, he was inducted into the Tejano Conjunto Music Hall of Fame. That same year, Ezequiel Peña was nominated for several national awards for “To All the Girls I’ve Ever Loved,” recorded as “A Todas Las Que Ame.”
“It’s eerie because I was the first Mexican American to record a Spanish-language version of the Julio Iglesias-Willie Nelson hit, I remember traveling from state to state playing at venues and they were pack with thousands of people. Now in 2012 and entering 2013 I have recorded 100 Albums and as long as God allows me too I will continue to create music and put shows together. With all the music talent that runs in our family, we have my dad Henry Zimmerle.Sr, my uncle Fred Zimmerle, My primo Nick Villarreal, and Artie V(Villarreal) and my son Henry Zimmerle Jr is working on music also. We love playing music and entertaining people, that is our life. There are so many memories that I have with many great artists I am thing of writting a book just to let people know what we went through and how we got to where the music is today. What is the name of your latest CD? The name of my latest CD is "Hace Un Añyo" We also did a cd with Flaco Jimenez , Nick Villarreal, and Toby Torres. So keep posted to Tejano Magazine for more info. Who would you like to thank for supporting your music? First of all I want to thank God for gracing me with my music ability and to Tejano Magazine for their time. Thank you to Henry Zimmerle Fan Club and to all my family, friends, and fans that have supported me for 45+ years.
Written by Henry Zimmerle