A Number One Song Was Recorded Here in Bay City, Michigan, 1966
The song was “96 Tears” by Question Mark & The Mysterians. Over the decades there have been differing remembrances of where the song was recorded, but according to Mysterians guitarist Robert Balderrama, "this is the house where it was recorded, I am the original guitarist who helped write the song and played my guitar in it. '96 Tears' was recorded in Bay City, Michigan, on Raymond Street in 1966."
Also, according to the Michigan Rock & Roll Legends website, "405 Raymond Street in Bay City, Michigan...it's hard to imagine that it was once the home of the Schiell Recording Studio or that a hit record was made there.....Art Schiell's studio represented an important first step to completing a seemingly improbable quest for the young musicians who recorded it there."
The band came from the Saginaw Valley, where their families came up from Texas and Mexico looking for work.
So how did the song come to be?
In an interview with songfacts.com, Question Mark replies, "Little Frank [keyboard player Frank Rodriguez] comes in singing a tune, and I said, 'I've heard that before. And I ain't going to do nothing until I've heard where that music and the title of it comes from.' He played it for like 45 minutes. Everybody's getting mad. And then all of a sudden it dawned on me, I said, 'Oh, I know where I heard that. I wrote that song long time ago.' “
Contrary to much-written bios, the song was never originally called “69 Tears” or “Too Many Teardrops” as reported in the past. Question Mark himself says the number 96 has some sort of mystical meaning, but when asked what it is, he clams up and doesn't explain. He balked at using a number in the song, thinking the public would believe he was copying the Stones' song title “19th Nervous Breakdown”.
They draped themselves in mystery, and conflicting band & song stories still circulate to this day. It may be intentional to confuse the fans and public, living up to their name – 'Mysterians'. The band broke up in 1968, occasionally reunited, and re-formed in 1980.
1) The band was once called “XYZ”.
2) All band members once had three-letter names.
3) All members wore dark glasses.
4) Question Mark says he never takes his dark glasses off...even to sleep and bathe. (?)
The House Where "96 Tears" Was Recorded
NOW HEAR THE SONG!
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