Mexican Divorce

Album: All-Time Greatest Hits & More: 1959-1965 (1962)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard penned song features backing vocals from a starry quartet - Dionne Warwick, her sister Dee Dee Warwick, her aunt Cissy Houston and her friend Doris Troy. Leiber & Stoller produced the cut.
  • In the 1960s, getting a divorce in Mexico was easier, faster, and less expensive than in most US states. Mexican divorces did not require spouses to be present at a hearing, so a number of Americans took advantage of the "fast-track" process available there frequently sending a lawyer to represent them. Celebrities who obtained a Mexican divorce include Johnny Carson, Katharine Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. This song details the quick and easy legal dismantling of a happy marriage.
  • With its Latin guitars and sliding strings, this song is one of The Drifters classiest tunes. However, divorce was still a touchy subject in the early 1960s, so it was relegated to the flip side of the single "When My Little Girl Is Smiling."
  • It was during this session that Bacharach first took note of young Dionne Warwick's vocal qualities and asked her to do some demo singing. She recalled to Mojo magazine October 2012; "We were contracted by Leiber and Stoller to come in and do background sessions. We'd have no idea who the writer of the song was beforehand or what the song was. One day we got the call to come to New York's Bell Sound studios, where we were told we would be providing background vocals on The Drifters' 'Mexican Divorce.' I didn't know who Burt Bacharach was. Or that he'd written the song, but he was at the session. We heard the song through twice and then came up with the background. It wasn't hard. My mother said I came out singing and I had sung in church and in the gospel group The Gospelaires. My mum sung in The Drinkard Singers, it was a musical family. It's what we did.

    After the session ended, Burt Bacharach came over and introduced himself to me. He said he liked my voice and he asked me if I'd be interested in doing some demonstration records with him and his new song writing partner Hal David. I said yes, and that led to my first solo recording." ("Don't Make Me Over.")

Comments: 1

  • David from MontrealHad never heard the song before. Very nice.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty

Rob Thomas of Matchbox TwentySongwriter Interviews

Rob Thomas on his Social Distance Sessions, co-starring with a camel, and his friendship with Carlos Santana.

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"They're Playing My Song

With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Booker T. Jones

Booker T. JonesSongwriter Interviews

The Stax legend on how he cooked up "Green Onions," the first time he and Otis Redding saw hippies, and if he'll ever play a digital organ.

John Lee Hooker

John Lee HookerSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for Bruce Pollock's 1984 conversation with the esteemed bluesman. Hooker talks about transforming a Tony Bennett classic and why you don't have to be sad and lonely to write the blues.

Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins

Tom Bailey of Thompson TwinsSongwriter Interviews

Tom stopped performing Thompson Twins songs in 1987, in part because of their personal nature: "Hold Me Now" came after an argument with his bandmate/girlfriend Alannah Currie.

Ralph Casale  - Session Pro

Ralph Casale - Session ProSongwriter Interviews

A top New York studio musician, Ralph played guitar on many '60s hits, including "Lightnin' Strikes," "A Lover's Concerto" and "I Am A Rock."