Dr. J's Blog

Rock and Roll History, News & Views

"96 Tears" Pt. 2 - Spelling Is Important

Before he died in in 1983, I wonder if Art Schiell ever heard the old saying "I don't care what they write about me as long as they spell my name correctly"? If ever there was a man in Rock and Roll history who got the shaft by having his name misspelled, it was Art Schiell. Granted, Schiell's place in the story of Rock and Roll is a very small one. He ran the Schiell Recording Studio at his home at 405 Raymond Street in Bay City, Michigan, for nearly two decades. His only claim to fame outside of Bay City was the fact that he recorded "96 Tears" by Question Mark and The Mysterians there in the spring of 1966. The song went on to become a # 1 hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 that same year.

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"96 Tears" Pt. 1 - Too Many Mistakes For One Heart To Be Cryin'

Very few people in Bay City, or anywhere else for that matter, know where "96 Tears" was recorded. Even local folks who are interested in rock and roll are confused as to the correct city; citing Saginaw, Flint, and even Auburn as the place where the famous recording was made. That being the case, I guess it shouldn't be surprising to find that there is a great deal of inaccurate information in the writings of people not from this area when dealing with ? and The Mysterians and "96 Tears" in rock and roll history. In my attempt to research the recording career of Art Schiell and his recording of "96 Tears" at his small studio in Bay City, I uncovered quite a few mistakes and also some completely false information in a variety of rock and roll sources.

Read more: "96 Tears" Pt. 1 - Too Many Mistakes For One Heart To Be Cryin'

How About A Little Respect For Art Schiell

Boy! Talk about a guy who does something great and gets very little respect for his efforts - that would be Art Schiell. In 1966, Schiell recorded the classic "96 Tears" with Question Mark and The Mysterians at the small studio located inside his home at 405 Raymond Street on Bay City's West Side. The song became a # 1 hit that year on Billboard's Hot 100. It was the only song ever recorded in Bay City, Michigan to achieve that distinction.


"96 Tears" has become a classic of the 'garage rock' genre. Schiell's recording of the song, however, didn't even rate a feature story in the Bay City Times that year. Worse yet, has been the myth that has grown over the years that the recording of "96 Tears" was some type of thrown-together affair done at a make-shift studio. Although this version has been gradually accepted as fact in most rock and roll historical accounts, nothing could be further from the truth.

Read more: How About A Little Respect For Art Schiell