In 1962 an odd little band from Bay City, Michigan formed which called itself ? and the Mysterians. In 1966, ? and the Mysterians produced their only hit song called 96 Tears and it reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list. The song achieved sales of a million units and it was played over 3 million times on the radio.
? and the Mysterians has been called the first punk rock band although a more accurate description might be proto-punk. The band is also credited as the first Latino rock band to have a mainstream hit song. Their trademark sound comes from a Vox organ which is featured prominently in 96 Tears.
Now the oddness begins. The band was named for a 1957 Japanese science fiction film called The Mysterians. The band’s rather eccentric front man, Rudy Martinez, legally changed his name to Question Mark (or, ?). He claims to be a martian who has lived with dinosaurs in a past life. Question Mark never appears in public without his sunglasses and he believes that voices have told him he would be singing 96 Tears in the year 10,000.
The band has played on a continual basis from their inception to the present day. Take a listen to Question Mark and the Mysterians – this band was way ahead of their time in the 1960s (or, maybe they are from another time?) You’re gonna cry 96 tears because they don’t make songs like this anymore.