Cover of the 1966 Italy single
|Single by ? & the Mysterians|
|from the album 96 Tears|
|? & the Mysterians singles chronology|
"96 Tears" is a song recorded by the American garage rock band, Question Mark & the Mysterians (also known as "? and the Mysterians"), in 1966 (see 1966 in music). In October of that year, it was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. and on the RPM 100 in Canada. Billboard ranked the record as the number five song for the year 1966. It is ranked number 213 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. On November 11, 1966 the single was certified as gold by the RIAA.
The song was written by Question Mark (Rudy Martinez) in 1962 in his manager's living room, under the name "Too Many Teardrops" and then "69 Tears". Upon changing the title (fearing that radio stations wouldn't play the song), it was recorded in Bay City, Michigan. At first, Question Mark had to insist that "96 Tears" be the A-side over "Midnight Hour". Once the issue was settled, the band recorded the single for the small Pa-Go-Go label, owned by Lilly Gonzalez. She backed the band financially, and allowed access to her personal studio in her basement. When it began doing well locally, the band took a recording to Bob Dell, the radio director in Flint, Michigan. The song became the most requested, and wider radio play spread into Canada where it was picked up by Cameo Records for national distribution.
- ? – lead vocals
- Bobby Balderrama – lead guitar
- Frank Rodriguez – Vox Continental organ
- Frank Lugo – bass guitar
- Eddie Serrato – drums
- Big Maybelle released a version of the song as a single in 1967 that reached #23 on the US R&B chart and #96 on the US pop chart.
- Shane Martin released a version of the song along with Black is Black on his 1968 45 on Columbia Records.
- The Music Explosion released a version of the song on their 1967 debut album, Little Bit O'Soul.
- Thelma Houston released a version of the song as a single in 1981 that reached #22 on the US dance chart and #76 on the US R&B chart.
- The Modern Lovers released a version of the song on their Album Live at the Longbranch and More.
- Garland Jeffreys released a version of the song as a single in 1981 that reached #5 on the US rock chart, #66 on the US pop chart, and #75 on the US dance chart.
- The Stranglers released a cover version that reached No. 17 in the UK Singles Chart in 1990.
- Eddie and the Hot Rods released a version of the song on the 2000 re-issue of their album, Teenage Depression.
- Primal Scream included a cover version of the song on the 2009 expanded edition of their 1997 Album Vanishing Point.
- Suicide recorded a cover on the live album 21½ Minutes in Berlin/23 Minutes in Brussels. Another live version, recorded at CBGB, was included on re-issued copies of their self-titled, debut album.
- Bill Dahl (28 February 2011). Motown: The Golden Years: More than 100 rare photographs. Krause Publications. p. 300. ISBN 1-4402-2783-7. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (8 November 1997). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 68. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- Gary Hartman (8 March 2008). The History of Texas Music. Texas A&M University Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-1-60344-002-8. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- Tom Moon (28 August 2008). 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. Workman Publishing Company. p. 806. ISBN 978-0-7611-5385-6. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- Question Mark & the Mysterians, "96 Tears" US chart position Retrieved July 1, 2015
- Question Mark & the Mysterians, "96 Tears" Canadian chart position Retrieved July 1, 2015
- Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1966
- "RIAA Gold & Platinum Searchable Database – 96 Tears". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- "Question Mark Bio". pharaohweb.com.
- "The Making of 96 Tears". vice.com.
- "Question". classicbands.com.
- Fred Bronson (October 1, 2003). Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th ed.). Billboard Books U.S. p. ?. ISBN 978-0823076772.
- Question Mark & the Mysterians, chart positions Retrieved July 1, 2015
- "Question Mark: Library of Congress copyright registrations indicate that his birth name is Rudy Martinez". 96tears.net. Retrieved 2014-04-08.
- Big Maybelle, "96 Tears" chart positions Retrieved July 1, 2015
-  Retrieved June 30, 2015
- The Music Explosion, Little Bit O' Soul Retrieved June 30, 2015
- Thelma Houston, "96 Tears" chart positions Retrieved July 1, 2015
- Garland Jeffreys, "96 Tears" chart positions Retrieved July 1, 2015
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 535. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Eddie and the Hot Rods, Teenage Depression Retrieved June 23, 2016.
"Reach Out I'll Be There" by The Four Tops
|US Billboard Hot 100 number one single
October 29, 1966 (one week)
"Last Train to Clarksville" by The Monkees
"See See Rider" by Eric Burdon & The Animals
|Canadian RPM number-one single
October 31, 1966 (one week)
"Last Train to Clarksville" by The Monkees