South of the Border
Western Music
The Lone Writer  

Western Song: South of the Border

South of the Border is a popular song that describes a trip to Mexico. It was written by Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Carr and released in 1939 for the film of the same name starring country star Gene Autry.

In the lyrics, a man looks back with regret at leaving a woman he will never forget. When he returned later, she was preparing to get married, perhaps in church or to another man. However, in the film, she becomes a nun to atone for her brother’s crimes. The song ranked number 44 in the Western Writers of America‘s list of Top 100 Western songs of all time.

Table of Contents

Popular and Successful Recordings

Some of the most popular versions of the song were recorded by:

  • Shep Fields (vocal by Hal Derwin)
  • Guy Lombardo
  • Ambrose (vocal by Denny Dennis)
  • Tony Martin

Other Notable Recordings

Many other artists also made notable recordings of the song including:

  • Frank Sinatra 
  • Al Bowlly
  • Acker Bilk
  • Asleep at the Wheel, with vocals by George Strait
  • Bing Crosby
  • Chris Isaak 
  • Chuck Berry
  • Dean Martin
  • Engelbert Humperdinck
  • Fats Domino
  • Frankie Laine
  • Gale Storm
  • Gene Merlino
  • Herb Alpert
  • Keely Smith
  • Malcolm Vaughan
  • Marty Robbins
  • Mel Tormé
  • Patsy Cline
  • Don Mclean
  • Patti Page 
  • Perry Como
  • Russ Conway
  • Sam Cooke 
  • The Shadows
  • Slim Whitman
  • Willie Nelson

South of the Border In Albums

The song has also been released in the tracklist of the albums below:

  • Clarinet Moods
  • Still the King – Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys
  • Bing Crosby’s Treasury – The Songs I Love 
  • Baja Sessions
  • Chuck Berry 
  • Dino Latino
  • The Winding Road 
  • Here He Comes Again!
  • Gale Storm Sings
  • South of the Border (1964)
  • Keely Sings Sinatra
  • ¡Olé Tormé!: Mel Tormé Goes South of the Border with Billy May
  • Showcase
  • Prime Time
  • Let’s Get Away from It All
  • We Get Letters
  • Piano Requests
  • Cooke’s Tour
  • Out of the Shadows
  • In Love the Whitman Way
  • What a Wonderful World
  • Let’s Face the Music and Dance

Listen (Frank Sinatra Version)

South of the Border Lyrics

South of the border, down Mexico way
That's where I fell in love, when the stars above came out to play
And now as I wander, my thoughts ever astray
South of the border, down Mexico way

She was a picture in old Spanish lace
Just for a tender while, I kissed a smile apon her face
'Cause it was fiesta and we were so gay
South of the border, Mexico way

Then she sighed as she whispered, "Mañana"
Never dreaming that we were parting
And I lied as a whispered, "Mañana"
'Cause our tomorrow never came

South of the border, I jumped back one day
There in a veil of white, by the candle light she knelt to pray
The mission bells told me that I mustn't stay
South of the border, Mexico way

The mission bells told me (Ding-dong) that I must not stay
Stay south of the border, down Mexico way
Ay, ay, ay, ay (Ay, ay, ay, ay)
Ay, ay, ay, ay (Ay, ay, ay, ay)
Ay, ay, ay, ay (Ay, ay, ay, ay)
Ay, ay, ay, ay (Ay, ay, ay, ay)

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