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 verse in English, then repeating the verse 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.”
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.Thereafter, the song caught on just as strongly at Top 40 radio stations and it wasn’t 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.
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.) In the months and years that followed, Fender recorded several bilingual standards which became major hits, most notably “Secret Love“.