“Before The Next Teardrop Falls” by Freddy Fender (1974)
Release Date: 1974
Produced by Huey P. Meaux
Chart Positions: #20 (US), #1 (New Zealand), #9 (Netherlands), #10 (Canada), #1 (US Country Music Chart)
Certifications: Gold (US, Canada)
Singles: “Before The Next Teradrop Falls” (US #1, New Zealand #2, Canada #6, Netherlands #6, Belgium #12), “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” (US #8, New Zealand #1, Canada #6, Belgium #7, Netherlands #14)
Freddy Fender, who was born Baldemar Garza Huerta first made it to the music scene in 1957 using the name El Bebop Kid and released two singles: Spanish versions of Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel” (No Seas Cruel) and Harry Belafonte’s “Jamaica Farewell.” Both songs were hits in Mexico and parts of South America. In 1959 Fender wrote and recorded “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” the song was a hit but shortly after he was arrested for possession of marijuana and served 3 years times in jail. He was released from jail, in 1963, with the condition that he stay away from music and alcohol for the duration of his probation. Freddy recorded four singles between 1964-1969 but nothing came of them
In 1971 Freddy met producer Huey P. Meaux. Meaux had Fender focus more on country music while maintaining his Hispanic roots and by 1973 he was releasing music again on a regular basis.
1974 was Freddy Fender’s banner year. It is the year he broke into the Top Ten. In the later part of ’74 Fender released his first album “Before The Next Teardrop Falls,” but nothing happened with it until January 1975 when he released the single of the same name. The song took off immediately with airplay across the US on AM pop radio.
“Before The Next Teardrop Falls” was written in the late 1960s and had been recorded more than two dozen times. The song had achieved modest success with recordings by various performers; the original version by Duane Dee reached #44 on the Billboard country chart in early 1968, and Linda Martell sent her version to #33 in early 1970. Jerry Lee Lewis recorded a version of the song on his 1969 album, Another Place Another Time.
In 1974, record producer Huey P. Meaux approached Fender about overdubbing vocals for an instrumental track. Fender agreed, performing the song bilingual style — singing the first verse in English, then repeating the verse in Spanish.
"The recording only took a few minutes," Fender once told an interviewer. "I was glad to get it over with and I thought that would be the last of it."
However, "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" immediately took off in popularity when released to country radio in January 1975. The song ascended to #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in March, spending two weeks atop the chart. Thereafter, the song caught on just as strongly at Top 40 radio stations and it was not long before Fender had a #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit as well. Billboard ranked it as the No. 4 song for 1975.
Riding on the success of “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” Fender released “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” as the next single. Fender wrote and recorded "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights", a blues ballad, for Duncan Records in 1959, during the early stages of his career. He was in the process of perfecting his mesh of rockabilly and Tejano, and the song showcased his new style. But he was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana, and in May 1960, he was convicted. The popularity of the song, along with his own popularity, plummeted.
Then, in 1975, "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" became a major hit, and Fender's career was rejuvenated. With the help of record producer Huey P. Meaux, Fender re-recorded "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights." This time, the song became a major pop and country hit, topping the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in August 1975. On other charts, "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" went to number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, and number nine on Billboard's Easy Listening chart.
"Wasted Days and Wasted Nights"
"Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" was certified gold for sales of 1 million units by the Recording Industry Association of America. The song was a major hit in New Zealand. In 1975, it spent a total of 12 weeks in the number one position in the New Zealand singles charts, making it the longest running number-one single at the time and the third-longest running number-one single of all time.
Other highlights include a recording of “Roses Are Red (My Love)” a song made famous by Bobby Vinton and the Freddy Fender penned, mariachi influenced, “I Love My Rancho Grande.”
Freddy Fender (1975)