This was written by Ben Peters and Vivian Keith, both of whom worked at a publishing company in Nashville called Fingerlake Music (Peter's also wrote Charley Pride's hit "Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'
"). It was first recorded in 1967 by Duane Dee; his version was a minor country hit, going to #44. Over the next few years, many other artists recorded the song, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Faron Young, Linda Martell, Charley Pride and Dottie West. But it was Freddy Fender who had the breakout hit with the song, taking it to #1 on both the Country and Pop charts with his 1974 version.
Fender (born Baldemar Huerta) was a Tex-Mex singer who in the late 1950s had a regional hit (as El Bebop Kid) with a Spanish version of "Don't Be Cruel
." In 1960, he was sentenced to five years in jail for marijuana possession - he was released in 1963.
Fender met producer Huey Meaux in 1971 and signed with Crazy Cajun Records. A few years later, Meaux convinced Fender to record "Before the Next Teardrop Falls." He wasn't thrilled about recording a country song, but did it to placate his producer.