Texas Top 40

1. "96 Tears," ? & the Mysterians (#1, 1966)

Recorded (reportedly for $40) by sons of migrant workers born along the Texas-Mexico border, and raised in Saginaw, Mich., ? & the Mysterians' "96 Tears" is one of the most pathological songs ever to make the Top 10. Over an omnipresent bed of Tex-Mex Vox organ, Rudy Martinez (aka "Question Mark") sings about a woman "way on top" who is "always laughing way down" at him. Utilizing the most irrational-yet-common brand of scorned-man logic, he plots to get back with her for just long enough to make her as miserable as he is. The organ is what gives the song (originally it was 69 tears ...) its Lone Star flavor, but the angry break-up lyrics are what make it an enduring garage-punk classic.

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