♫ 96 Tears ♫

Tonight, I made the mistake of reading the transcript of Trump’s speech at Mount Rushmore, a speech filled with hatred and divisive remarks, a speech designed to inflame and further divide this nation.  The speech made me ill and brought at least 96 tears, hence this song tonight.

The song, released in 1966 by a little-known garage band calling themselves ? and the Mysterians, a band comprised mostly of immigrants from Mexico.  This song was written by “?,” the band’s frontman who wanted to be anonymous (he’s listed on the composer credits as Rudy Martinez). At one point he referred to the individual band members only by three-letter names (at one point, the band was known as XYZ). The mystery helped market the group, who wore dark glasses to add to the intrigue.

I don’t recall any other song by this group, but this one hit #1 in both the U.S. and Canada, and #37 in the UK.  It is ranked #213 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The singer is not the one crying the 96 Tears. He’s been dumped, and plans to get revenge by reuniting so he can dump her back. That’s when she’ll be crying the 96 tears.  When the group came up with this song, ? didn’t want to use a title with a number in it because he thought they would be accused of ripping off The Rolling Stones, who had a hit with 19th Nervous Breakdown. His bandmates convinced him to go with it.

The record was taped in a converted living room in Bay City, Michigan. The band then had the Texas-based Pa-Go-Go Records press 500 copies so they could distribute them to the DJ’s in southern Michigan. The song became the most requested record on WTAC Flint, and CKLW out of Windsor, Canada, which went into Detroit. Cameo Records, having solvency problems, picked up the record after one of its staffers heard it on CKLW.

According to ? …

“Little Frank [keyboard player Frank Rodriguez] comes in singing a tune, and I said, ‘I’ve heard that before. And I ain’t going to do nothing until I’ve heard where that music and the title of it comes from.’ He played it for like 45 minutes. Everybody’s getting mad. And then all of a sudden it dawned on me, I said, ‘Oh, I know where I heard that. I wrote that song long time ago.’  Then the lyrics came out: ‘Too many teardrops for one heart to be crying,’ all that came out just like that. Boom. See, it was meant to be. There are certain things that are meant to be.”

The group disbanded in 1968, but have reunited from time to time since.

96 Tears
? and the Mysterians

Too many teardrops for one heart to be crying
Too many teardrops for one heart to carry on

You’re way on top now since you left me
You’re always laughing way down at me
But watch out now, I’m gonna get there
We’ll be together for just a little while
And then I’m gonna put you way down here
And you’ll start crying ninety-six tears
Cry, cry

And when the sun comes up, I’ll be on top
You’ll be right down there, looking up
And I might wave, come up here
But I don’t see you waving now
I’m way down here, wondering how
I’m gonna get you but I know now
I’ll just cry, cry, I’ll just cry

Too many teardrops for one heart to be crying
Too many teardrops for one heart to carry on

You’re gonna cry ninety-six tears
You’re gonna cry ninety-six tears
You’re gonna cry, cry, cry, cry now
You’re gonna cry, cry, cry, cry
Ninety-six tears

Come on and let me hear you cry, now
Ninety-six tears, woo
I wanna hear you cry
Night and day, yeah, all night long

Uh, ninety-six tears, cry, cry, cry
Come on, baby, let me hear you cry now, all night long
Uh, ninety-six tears, yeah, come on now
Uh, ninety-six tears

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: R Martinez
96 Tears lyrics © Abkco Music, Inc

23 thoughts on “♫ 96 Tears ♫

  1. Yea! Loved this song back in The Day.
    The publicity hand out at the time asserted this tall tale…..
    A band called the Mysterians were play at a club one night but needed a singer so this unknown kid steps up, they were knocked out by him and offered band membership but he always kept his name a secret.
    I’ve heard less credible statements in politicis.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Out around the same time as the Music Machine’s Talk Talk, it was rumoured both bands were from Texas. Now I find out the truth, ? and the Mysterians were from Detroit but recorded this song in Texas, and Music Machine was from southern California. While most of the 60s rumours turned out to be true, this one was just a little off base.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now there’s one that’s new to me! Never heard of the song or the Goombay Dance Band. I checked on my usual sources, and it doesn’t seem to have played in the U.S. at all. I also checked out the lyrics and found them touching, heartbreaking. A good song … thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

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