Words & Music by Ray Charles & S. K. Russell
Adapted from a song by Alberto Dominguez
Recorded by Julie London, 1963

Em7          Cdim            Am7       D7
It was a fi - es - ta down in Mex - i - co,

Em7      Cdim               Am7      D7
And so I stopped a while to see the show;

G                Cdim      Am7    G         Am7
I knew that fre - ne - si meant “Please love me,”

G  Am7     Cdim Am7         G
And I could say fre - ne - si.

Em7          Cdim                 Am7       D7
A hand - some cab - el - ler - o caught my eye;

Em7          Cdim              Am7         D7
I stood en - chan - ted as he wan - dered by,

G            Cdim      Am7      G        Am7
And nev -er know - ing that it came from me,

G  Am7      Cdim    Am7        G     D   C
I gent - ly sighed “fre - ne - si.”


B              Am7                 B
He stopped and raised his eyes to mine,

C             D          Am7      B     D  C
His lips just plea - ded to be kissed;

B             Am7                  B
His eyes were soft as can - dle - shine,

C         Am7         D9   Am7   D7
So how was I to re - sist?

Em7           Cdim            Am7      D7
And now with - out a heart to call my own,

Em7         Cdim                  Am7       D7
A great - er hap - pi - ness I've nev - er known,

G              Cdim      Am7      G     Am7
Be - cause his kiss - es are for me a - lone -

G   Am7        Cdim  Am7        G
Who would - n't say “fre - ne - si?”

According to one published source I've seen, bandleader Artie Shaw walked away from the music business during the height of its (and his) popularity in 1939 to go to Mexico. While there, he heard this song, and rushed back to the United States to record it. It hit the charts in a big way, staying in the top ten from December of 1940 until April of 1941, and held the number 1 spot for three weeks. Shaw's version obviously scored far better in the charts, but London's version is one of the relatively few I've found that contained the vocal.

The lyric and guitar chord transcriptions on this site are the work of The Guitarguy and are intended for private study, research, or educational purposes only. Individual transcriptions are inspired by and and based upon the recorded versions cited, but are not necessarily exact replications of those recorded versions.