Why Freddy Fender’s No. 1 Hit ‘Before The Next Teardrop Falls’ Still Makes Us Feel Things

Music critic Tom Breihan says Fender’s song “is so beautiful, and the way he sings it is so plaintive and forthright.”

By Kristen CabreraJuly 25, 2019 7:11 am

Freddy Fender is a legendary Texas hometown hero. When his song ‘Before the Next Tear Drop Falls’ hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1975, he was in his late 30s and had been out of the Texas music scene for more than a decade. As Tom Breihan put it in his recent column for Stereogum, Fender “wasn’t supposed to get a second chance.”

Breihan is a writer and editor for Sterogum.com and has been working on a project titled The Number Ones. Each day he reviews a No. 1 hit from Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, hoping to eventually work his way through the entire history of Billboard’s No. 1 hits. He reviewed ‘Before The Next Teardrop Falls’ by the San Benito-born Fender – who’s real name is Baldemar Garza Huerta. The song held the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 chart for a week in May of 1975.

“Before I started writing the project I had heard ‘Before The Next Teardrop Falls’… and I knew a little bit about Freddy Fender and his whole story,” Breihan says. “But really delving into it, I thought it was really interesting. He was this really fascinating figure who kind of had to overcome every possible obstacle to find success. And who really did, he was one of the biggest country stars we had for the later half of the 70s.”

Breihan spoke to the Texas Standard about why he gave the song his highest rating, why he thinks it was such a big hit and a glimpse of Fender’s back story.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.