Question Mark & the Mysterians - 96 Tears

First performance: 02/11/2002


Bruce covered the song 6 times : 
Pinkpop festival with Garland Jeffreys.
The only Garland-less performance
2003-12-08 Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ
with Garland Jeffreys

2003-11-01 Stone Pony (The), Asbury Park, NJ
Light of Day: 96 Tears" includes a snippet of "Mother-In-Law" in the outro
2003-07-18 Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
with Garland Jeffreys
2002-11-02 Tradewinds, Sea Bright, NJ 
Light of Day: with Garland Jeffreys 


"96 Tears" is a song recorded by the American garage rock band '? and the Mysterians 'in 1966. The song was written by Question Mark (Rudy Martinez) in 1962 in his manager's living room, and was recorded in Bay City, Michigan. At first, Question Mark had to insist that "96 Tears" be the A-side over "Midnight Hour". Once the issue was settled, the band recorded the single for the small Pa-Go-Go label, owned by Lilly Gonzalez. She backed the band financially, and allowed access to her personal studio in her basement. When it began doing well locally, the band took a recording to Bob Dell, the radio director in Flint, Michigan. The song became the most requested, and wider radio play spread into Canada, where it was picked up by Cameo Records for national distribution. Various reports have suggested that Question Mark first wrote the song under the title "Too Many Teardrops" and then "69 Tears", but then changed the title, fearing that radio stations wouldn't play the song. However, Question Mark denied this in an interview, stating that the number 96 has a deep philosophical meaning for him. Known for its signature organ licks and bare-bones lyrics, "96 Tears" is recognized as one of the first garage band hits, and has even been given credit for starting the punk rock movement. The song appeared on the band's album 96 Tears. 

Other cover versions


Bruce on the artist

2021-07-21 SiriusXM Studio, New York City
Bruce played the song during the 25th episode of 'From My Home to Yours' series, themed "Frat Party":

"96 Tears" by Question Mark & the Mysterians. Another one of the coolest monikers in rock 'n' roll history, by one of the coolest frontmen in rock 'n' roll. It is absolutely perhaps the ultimate organ lick of all time. The song was written by Question Mark, Rudy Martinez, in 1962, in his manager's living room. It was recorded in Bay City, Michigan. Rumor: The original title was "69 Tears". But it was changed due to fear it would be banned from the radio. I don't know why. So came "96 Tears" and, once again, immortality and one of rock's most mysterious frontmen awaited. "
Intro to the song :  
"This man thinks he can stump the band…let’s find out…you think we don’t know “96 fucking Tears?" .... the E Street Band, the greatest bar band in the land don’t know "96 Tears"? ....  


Too many teardrops for one heart to be crying
Too many teardrops for one heart to carry on
You're way on top now since you left me
You're always laughing way down at me
But watch out now, I'm gonna get there
We'll be together for just a little while
And then I'm gonna put you way down here
And you'll start crying ninety-six tears
Cry, cry
And when the sun comes up, I'll be on top
You'll be right down there, looking up
And I might wave, come up here
But I don't see you waving now
I'm way down here, wondering how
I'm gonna get you but I know now
I'll just cry, cry, I'll just cry
Too many teardrops for one heart to be crying
Too many teardrops for one heart to carry on
You're gonna cry ninety-six tears
You're gonna cry ninety-six tears
You're gonna cry, cry, cry, cry now
You're gonna cry, cry, cry, cry
Ninety-six tears
Come on and let me hear you cry, now
Ninety-six tears, woo
I wanna hear you cry
Night and day, yeah, all night long
Uh, ninety-six tears, cry, cry, cry
Come on, baby, let me hear you cry now, all night long
Uh, ninety-six tears, yeah, come on now
Uh, ninety-six tears