96 Tears By ? & The Mysterians

November 10, 2019

There are and have been tens of thousands of local bands trying to make good. Some have a modicum of talent and manage to play local clubs for years and sometimes decades. Every once in awhile, one of them makes good for one shining moment. Enter ? & The Mysterians.

Rudy Martinez was born in Mexico but grew up in Michigan. He formed his own band and wrote “Too Many Teardrops,” which would become “96 Tears.” It was a part of their live set and was the B side of their local single release “Midnight Hour.” It was “96 Tears” that began receiving airplay and the Cameo label picked it up.

“96 Tears” was a surprise national hit and reached number one for the week of October 29, 1966. ? & The Mysterians had a couple more entries into the Top 100, but by the end of the decade they had disbanded.

In 1981 rocker Garland Jeffreys took the song back to the Top 10. The renewed interest enabled Martinez to put the Mysterians back together. He and they have performed of and on since the early 1980’s.

“96 Tears” was named one of the greatest 500 songs of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine and the band was inducted into the Michigan Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, proving that one shining moment can sometimes can last a lifetime.

96 Tears 45 by ? & The Mysterians

December 1, 2010

? & The Mysterians were a Mexican-American group from Saginaw, Michigan. They consisted of vocalist Rudy Martinez who was ?, guitarist Bobby Balderrama, organist Frank Rodriguez, bassist Frank Lugo, and drummer Eddie Serrato.

They recorded “96 Tears” in their managers living room. The song was released in September of 1966 and climbed all the way to the number one spot on The American singles charts. It may have a great vocal but it is the organ that drives the sound.

Interestingly the original recording has never been released on CD as they have all be re-recordings. You will have to find the vinyl album or 45 you want hear it in all its glory.