The song was written in the late 1960s 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 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.”[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 wasn’t long before Fender had a #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit as well. Billboard ranked it as the No. 4 song for 1975.[4]

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.)[5] In the months and years that followed, Fender recorded several bilingual standards which became major hits, most notably “Secret Love“.