Before the Next Teardrop Falls (song)

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"Before the Next Teardrop Falls"
Single by Freddy Fender
from the album Before the Next Teardrop Falls
A-side "Before the Next Teardrop Falls"
B-side "Waiting for Your Love"
Released January 1975
Format 7"
Recorded 1974
Genre country, pop
Length 2:33
Label ABC-Dot Records 17540
Songwriter(s) Vivian Keith, Ben Peters
Producer(s) Huey P. Meaux
Freddy Fender singles chronology
"Before the Next Teardrop Falls"
"Wasted Days and Wasted Nights"
"Before the Next Teardrop Falls"
"Wasted Days and Wasted Nights"

"Before the Next Teardrop Falls" is an American country and pop song written by Vivian Keith and Ben Peters, and most famously recorded by Freddy Fender.

Song history[edit]

The song was written in 1967 and had been recorded more than two dozen times. The song had achieved modest success in versions 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.[1]

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 half of the song in English, then repeating that portion 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."[2]

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.[3] 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.

The song is about a man's undaunted determination to save his heart for the just-departed object of his deep (but unrequited) love, and sincere hope that should the woman's new relationship not work out, she will remember his love and return to him. As originally composed, it is in thirty-two bar form (Fender's bilingual recording stretches the piece to 48 bars).

A showcase of Fender's tenor and Meaux's Tex-Mex musical styling, "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" jump-started his career. (Fender's career had stalled in 1960 after his arrest on drug charges.)[4] In the months and years that followed, Fender recorded several bilingual standards which became major hits, most notably "Secret Love".

BMI Songwriter Sterling Blythe claimed authorship and recalled having sold the rights to a portfolio of songs, among them "Before the Next Teardrop Falls", for $4,500 to settle debts when he left Nashville for the West Coast prior to Fender's recording.


"Before The Next Teardrop Falls" was certified gold for sales of 1 million units by the Recording Industry Association of America.[5] The song also won the Single of the Year award from the Country Music Association in 1975, and was instrumental in Fender also winning that year's Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year awards.[6]

The song was used in the movie The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005), starred and directed by Tommy Lee Jones.

1975 country-pop "half-dozen"[edit]

"Before the Next Teardrop Falls" was one of six songs released in 1975 that topped both the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Hot Country Singles charts. The others were "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" by B.J. Thomas; "Rhinestone Cowboy" by Glen Campbell; "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" and the two-sided hit "I'm Sorry"/"Calypso" by John Denver; and "Convoy" by C.W. McCall.


Dolly Parton later recorded the song, including it on her 1996 covers album Treasures; Parton's version featured vocals by David Hidalgo, who sang the Spanish lyrics.

Gene Stuart recorded a version that went to number 3 in the IRMA Irish charts in 1969.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1975) Peak
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 18
Canadian RPM Top Singles 6
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Singles 19
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
Australian Kent Music Report 1
New Zealand Singles Chart 2
Dutch Top 40 6
Preceded by
"Linda on My Mind"
by Conway Twitty
Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single
March 15 - March 22, 1975 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Bargain Store" by Dolly Parton
RPM Country Tracks< number-one single
March 29, 1975 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Everybody's Going to the Country" by Hank Smith
Preceded by
"Shining Star" by Earth, Wind & Fire
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
May 31, 1975 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Thank God I'm a Country Boy" by John Denver


  1. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Another Place Another Time - Jerry Lee Lewis | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-11-12. 
  2. ^ Bill Janovitz. "Before the Next Teardrop Falls - Freddy Fender | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-11-12. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 120. 
  4. ^ Tucker, Stephen R., "Freddy Fender", The Encyclopedia of Country Music, Paul Kingsbury, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, ISBN 978-0195176087.
  5. ^ [1] Archived June 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Homepage - 2015 CMA Awards". Retrieved 2015-11-12.