Before the Next Teardrop Falls

Album: Before the Next Teardrop Falls (1974)
Charted: 1
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This is one of those breakup songs where the girl has moved on, but the guy is having a hard time accepting that it's over. He promises to return right away - before the next teardrop falls - if her new man lets her down.
  • 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.
  • In Fender's version, he repeats the first verse (roughly) in Spanish:

    Si te quiere de verdad
    Y te da felicidad
    Te deseo lo más bueno pa' los dos
    Pero si te hace llorar
    A mé me puedes hablar
    Y estaré contigo cuando triste estás
  • For a followup, Fender chose to re-record "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights," a song he originally had in release when he was arrested. This time, it sold well enough to reach #8 on the Hot 100.
  • Al Green covered the track in September 2018 for his first single in over a decade. Green recorded the song at Sam Phillips Studios with the Memphis-based producer Matt Ross-Spang, best known for his work with Margo Price and Jason Isbell. It was one of a couple of songs the producer had in mind. Ross-Sprang recalled to Uncut Magazine:

    "Al has always been a voice of positivity. With everything going on in our world right now, everybody feels so raw. I thought if I could get Al Green singing, 'I'll be there before the next teardrop falls,' if I could get him singing that to the world, it would be the coolest possible therapy session for everybody."
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Comments: 12

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 5th 1975, Freddy Fender performed "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #17 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on May 25th, 1975 it would peak at #1* for one week {See 2nd post below}...
    * It spent three straight weeks at #2 before jumping to #1 on the Top 100.
  • Donna from Ft. Lauderdale, FlFreddy Fender's life story was presented in Latin Music USA. This was a 4-part documentary series on PBS in 2009. Includes a clip of Freddy on the Dinah Shore show in 1975 when he was a guest. So happens that Dusty Springfield was a guest on that same exact episode! This was after Freddy's prison experience which he speaks candidly about. See PBS catalog or Amazon for the DVD set.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 25th, 1975, "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" by Freddy Fender peaked at #1 (for 1 week) and spent 21 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on March 9th, 1975 it reached #1 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart...
    It topped one more chart; on March 29th, 1975 it reached #1 (for 1 week) on the Canadian RPM Top Country Track chart...
    R.I.P. Mr. Fender (1937 - 2006).
  • Garrett from Phenix City, AlSomeone had said, referring to the Spanish, that Freddie wrote it, and I was wondering if you meant that he wrote the song itself or that he just wrote the Spanish. He did write the Spanish translation of the first verse, but the song itself was written by Ben Peters, who has also written several songs for Charley Pride.
  • Wayne from Crockett, TxFreddie has a museum named after him in his hometown of San Benito, Texas. It's worth a look if you are ever in the Valley area of Texas.
  • Avron from Norfolk, KsI Just wanted to say that Dianne, I see where your comming from, and I mean no bad feelings; but your trying to make sense of a literal translation. It is actually the first verse as you said, only it's in correct Spanish. You cannot rely on a literal translation dear. Think about it; Freddy wrote it, and he speaks Spanish...it is very correct indeed. Maybe not European Spanish, but it is very much Mexican...Avron
  • Briar from Hazard, KyGood song from a good singer. I like that he also sings in Spanish.
  • Robert from Topeka, KsFreddy Fender died on October 14, 2006 in Texas from lung cancer.
  • Walter from Antwerp, BelgiumAccording to many sites on the "original"-subject, this was first recorded by Duane Dee on the Capitol label in 1967, just before Charley Pride got to it.
  • Ray from Laughlin, NvIn 1963 when I was a disc jockey at KTKT in Tucson, the number one song for a couple of weeks was "Sweet Summer Day" by Scotty Wayne. Somebody mentioned that it was by a guy in prison named Freddy Fender. In 2000 I ran into Freddy and told him about it and asked if it was him. He said yes, they had released the record under the name of his agent's little boy, but it went nowhere. He was shocked to find it was #1 in Tucson. I gave him a copy of the hit sheet for his scrapbook. He is in his late 60's now and still puts on a fantastic live show.
  • Dianne from Ft. Bening, GaYou may like to know that the Spanish verse is a loose translation of the first verse, not the second. I've always been amazed, though, that no one corrected the Spanish grammar before Fender recorded it. It should be "lo mejor" instead of "lo más bueno," and it should say "cuando triste estãs," not "estás." These are very basic grammar mistakes, kind of like saying "goodest" and "you is." Of course, there are lots of grammar mistakes all over great songs, but in this one it serves no purpose, not for rhyme or rhythm, anyway. No offense intended, just found it curious.
  • Gary from Newberg, OrI would like to know the lyrics to this song...both the english and spanish...
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