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Alpert, Herb

Herb Alpert

Trumpet player, composer, recording executive

Trumpet player Herb Alpert was working in the makeshift recording studio in his garage one day in 1962 when he happened on something interesting; he discovered that he could add a new dimension to his sound by recording a second trumpet part directly on top of the original, a process known as overdubbing. When the two parts were combined slightly out of synchronization, another effect was produced, which he called a "Spanish flair."

At 25, Alpert was already a Los Angeles music industry veteran with a track record of peaks and valleys. Among the highlights was a songwriting collaboration with friend Lou Adler and seminal soul singer Sam Cooke that produced several chart entries, including the oft-covered "Wonderful World." With Adler, Alpert also produced and managed Jan & Dean in their pre-surf-music days, resulting in a top ten hit for "Baby Talk." Having recently dissolved his partnership with Adler, Alpert was wondering what his next move should be.

The answer came to him a couple of months later in Tijuana, Mexico, during his first visit to a bullfight. Soaking up the atmosphere, he suddenly realized how to utilize that "Spanish flair." He recorded the thunderous chants of the bullfight crowd and, back in his garage studio, he added them to his "flaired" recording of a friend's instrumental composition called "Twinkle Star," which he then retitled "The Lonely Bull."

In October of 1962 Alpert and his partner Jerry Moss put up $200 to press copies of the song, which was credited to the Tijuana Brass featuring Herb Alpert. A&M Records (for Alpert & Moss), with a home address of Alpert's garage, was thus in business. And what business—by the following February, "The Lonely Bull" had muscled its way into the top ten, selling close to a million copies.

The sound Alpert devised—an easy-to-digest blend of mariachi bounce, Dixieland charm, and the barest hint of rock rhythms—was dubbed "Ameriachi," and it caught on immediately. "The Tijuana Brass," declared Time, "is basically just a good old-fashioned melody band that makes no pretensions toward the new. No soul-searching Thelonious Monk stuff, no revolutionary developments—just pleasant music that is as universal in its way as Bob Hope is in his."

Repeatedly Topped the Charts

Alpert reached out to an older, more traditional—and at the time largely disenfranchised—pop audience, with a continuous schedule of concert dates and television appearances. It worked. The top ten hit "A Taste of Honey" propelled three Tijuana Brass albums onto the charts simultaneously in 1965, but Alpert topped even that the following year; in April of 1966 his fifth album, Going Places, resided at number one, while the four discs previously released crowded the rest of the top 20. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass had five of the top 20 albums—and were outselling the Beatles.

But Alpert did not fare especially well during the dawn of the psychedelic era. He charted nine singles in 1966 and 1967, but none even approached the top ten. Then he teamed with superproducer Burt Bacharach to record a rare vocal effort called "This Guy's in Love With You." Alpert had been signed briefly to RCA Records as a vocalist in 1960—it was there, in fact, that he'd first met Jerry Moss—but all the previous Tijuana Brass records had been trumpet-driven instrumentals. Something about Alpert's soft, reticent voice suited the song, and it struck a sympathetic chord with listeners. "This Guy" shot to number one and became one of the biggest records of 1968. Perhaps even more remarkably, the record represented a number of firsts for three artists already at the pinnacle of the recording industry. It was the first number one single for Alpert and his first million-selling single, the first number one for producer Bacharach, and the first number one for the distinguished songwriting team of Bacharach and Hal David. According to a Time profile, Alpert grossed $30 million in 1968 and paid his Tijuana Brass sidemen base salaries of $100,000 each. Both were considered astronomical sums in the economic context of the day. Alpert's "comeback" had taken him to a whole new level. The group spent 32 weeks in the number one position on the charts between 1962 and 1968. According to Billboard's records, the group had 13 platinum discs, 14 top 40 hits, and six Grammy Awards. It was also, as of 1966, "the only recording act ever to land four albums in the top 10 simultaneously."

A&M Records Became a Success

A&M Records, meanwhile, had become a thriving concern. Fewer than five years after launching their business out of Alpert's garage, Alpert and Moss acquired and moved their operation onto the old Charlie Chaplin movie studio lot near the corner of Sunset and La Brea in Hollywood. Their roles would blur somewhat over the years, but Moss generally handled distribution and sales while Alpert looked after the creative side.

Initially the label was stocked with close musical relatives of the Tijuana Brass, such as the Baja Marimba Band and Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66. The success of these acts, in addition to Alpert's phenomenal sales, enabled the label to develop in whatever direction it chose. Alpert and Moss took the opportunity seriously, and A&M grew into one of the most successful and respected independent record labels of all time.

Michael Goldberg of Rolling Stone called A&M "a company that became known as one of the classiest in the business … where music really did come first. It was a company known for its commitment to its artists." Over the years A&M developed multi-platinum careers for acts like the Carpenters, Cat Stevens, Carole King, Captain and Tennille, Peter Frampton, Quincy Jones, Bryan Adams, the Police, Amy Grant, Sting, and Janet Jackson. But the real strength of A&M was in its diversity; it welcomed and nurtured left-field talent like Joe Cocker, Procol Harum, Captain Beefheart, the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Tubes, Joe Jackson, Suzanne Vega, John Hiatt, and the Neville Brothers, to name but a few.

For the Record …

Born on March 31, 1937, in Los Angeles, CA; married Lani Hall (a former singer), c. 1968.

Began trumpet study, c. 1944; actor, 1956-58; formed partnership with record producer Lou Adler, 1958; wrote with singer Sam Cooke, 1958; became staff producer for Dore Records, 1959; with Adler, produced and managed Jan & Dean, 1959-62; recorded as vocalist Dore Alpert for RCA, 1960; formed A&M Records with business partner Jerry Moss and released first single, "The Lonely Bull," 1962; recorded 32 albums as solo artist and with Tijuana Brass, 1963-93; co-owner and executive, A&M Records, 1962-89; founded Herb Alpert Foundation, c. 1985; co-owner and executive, Rondor Records, 1993–; founded Almo Sounds, 1994; Shout Factory announced extensive reissue project called the "Herb Alpert Signature Series" in 2004, to conclude in 2006. Military service: U.S. Army.

Awards: Seven Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year, 1965, and Best Non-Jazz Instrumental, 1965, for "A Taste of Honey"; Best Non-Jazz Instrumental, 1966, for "What Now My Love"; and Best Pop Instrumental Performance, for "Rise," 1979; Billboard Latin Music Awards, Lifetime Achievement Award, 1997.

Addresses: Record company—Shout! Factory, 2042-A Armacost Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025. Website—Herb Alpert Official Website: http://www.herbalpert.com.

Even as he presided over the mushrooming of the company, Alpert maintained a sporadic recording career of his own. In 1978 he released a highly regarded album in collaboration with South African trumpeter Hugh Masakela. The following year his disco-inflected single "Rise" rose all the way to number one, sold a million copies, and won the 1979 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. In 1987 Alpert enlisted the help of hot dance producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to concoct the top ten hit "Diamonds," which also featured a guest vocal by Janet Jackson.

Somehow Alpert also found the time to branch out into other fields. A talented painter, he began showing his quarter century of work publicly in 1989. That same year he introduced a fragrance for women called Listen. And since the mid-1980s he has directed the activities of the Herb Alpert Foundation, the charitable works of which benefit worthy music, education, and humanitarian projects throughout the country.

Sold A&M to Polygram

After 27 years of running their company as an independent entity, Alpert and Moss sold A&M to the PolyGram Corporation in June of 1989. By that time their little operation had grown to include recording studios, a thriving song publishing arm, the bustling Chaplin Soundstage, and a successful film and television production company. Retaining only the publishing company, Rondor Music, the partners sold everything else to PolyGram for close to half a billion dollars.

In June of 1993 Alpert and Moss departed the management posts they had retained at A&M/PolyGram. By the fall of that year Rondor Music was well on its way to spinning off a full-fledged label. In 1994 Alpert and Moss founded Almo Sounds. The label was distributed by Geffen Records. Its eclectic artist roster included Garbage, Gillian Welch, Bijou Phillips, Ozomatli, as well as Alpert himself. It also released the compilation Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons in 1999. Soon after, the label was sold to Universal and eventually shut down.

Alpert's career achievements were recognized in 1997 by the Billboard Latin Music Awards. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award, given annually "to a recording artist or executive who has helped broaden the exposure of Latino music to the mainstream market," according to the magazine. "As a recording artist, Alpert … greatly expanded the presence of Latino-slanted sounds throughout the world with his Tijuana Brass ensemble."

Critics were not always kind to Alpert's later solo recordings. Entertainment Weekly's Steve Futterman said in a review of 1996's Second Wind that it conjures up "images of dentists' offices, confining elevators, and other unpleasant environments," thus "producing the opposite of its intended effect. Alpert, an unpretentious, unremarkable trumpeter who's got his lite-jazz licks down cold, works here with fusion schlockmeister Jeff Lorber to concoct a sonic wet blanket of mechanized rhythms and colorless keyboards."

The label Shout Factory announced in 2004 that it would be re-releasing the back catalog of Herb Albert & the Tijuana Brass, as well as Alpert's solo recordings in its "Herb Alpert Signature Series." The label's announced plans included reissues of albums out of print for years.

According to Billboard, Alpert was responsible for re-mastering the sets and the expanded liner notes. He did re-record some of the trumpet parts for the releases. "It caught me off guard," he said of the project. "I try not to live in the past, [but] when I heard these tapes, I just felt it would be nice for people to be able to experience it.

In addition to putting the classics South of the Border and The Lonely Bull back into circulation on CD in February of 2005, the label issued Lost Treasures, previously unreleased songs recorded by the Tijuana Brass at the height of its popularity. Whipped Cream and Other Delights, now considered a classic, was set for release in 2005.

Selected discography

The Lonely Bull, A&M, 1962; reissued, Shout! Factory, 2005.

Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass, Volume 2, A&M, 1964.

South of the Border, A&M, 1964; reissued, Shout! Factory, 2005.

Whipped Cream & Other Delights, A&M, 1965; reissued, Shout! Factory, 2005.

Going Places, A&M, 1965.

What Now My Love, A&M, 1966.

S.R.O., A&M, 1966.

Sounds Like, A&M, 1967.

Herb Alpert's Ninth, A&M, 1967.

The Beat of the Brass, A&M, 1968.

Warm, A&M, 1969.

Greatest Hits, A&M, 1970.

Solid Brass, A&M, 1972.

Coney Island, A&M, 1975.

Herb Alpert/Hugh Masakela, A&M, 1978.

Rise, A&M, 1979.

Magic Man, A&M, 1981.

Fandango, A&M, 1982.

Bullish, A&M, 1984.

Keep Your Eye on Me, A&M, 1987.

My Abstract Heart, A&M, 1989.

North on South St., A&M, 1991.

Midnight Sun, A&M, 1992.

Second Wind, Almo Sounds, 1996.

Passion Dance, Almo Sounds, 1997.

Colors, Almo Sounds, 1999.

Lost Treasures, Shout! Factory, 2005.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, May 1, 1993; February 15, 1997; October 30, 1999; August 12, 2000; December 4, 2004.

Daily Variety, August 3, 1988; April 26, 1993; June 21, 1993; March 12, 2003.

Down Beat, September 1991; October 1992; February 1993.

Entertainment Weekly, May 3, 1996.

Forbes, October 31, 1988.

Newsweek, April 25, 1966; August 5, 1968.

People, October 24, 1988.

Rolling Stone, May 16, 1991; August 8, 1991.

Time, November 12, 1965; July 19, 1968.

Online

"Almo Sounds," A&M Records, http://www.onamrecords.com/Almo_Sounds.html (March 14, 2005).

Additional information for this profile was obtained from A&M Records publicity material, 1989, 1991, and 1992.

BenEdmondsand

LindaDaileyPaulson

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Alpert, Herb

Herb Alpert

Trumpeter, composer, producer, record company executive

Outsold the Beatles

Vocal Comeback

Renaissance Man

Selected discography

Sources

Trumpeter Herb Alpert was messing around in the makeshift recording studio in his garage one day in 1962 when he happened on something interesting; he discovered that he could add a new dimension to his sound by recording a second trumpet part directly on top of the original, a process known as overdubbing. When the two parts were combined slightly out of synchronization, another effect was produced, which he called a Spanish flair.

At 25, Alpert was already a Los Angeles music industry veteran with a track record of peaks and valleys. Among the former was a songwriting collaboration with friend Lou Adler and seminal soul singer Sam Cooke that had produced several chart entries, among them the oft-covered Wonderful World. With Adler, Alpert had also produced and managed Jan & Dean in their pre-surf-music days, which had yielded a Top Ten hit in Baby Talk. Having recently dissolved his partnership with Adler, Alpert was wondering what his next move should be.

The answer came to him a couple of months later in Tijuana, Mexico, during his first visit to a bullfight. Soaking up the atmosphere, he suddenly realized how to utilize that Spanish flair. He recorded the thunderous chants of the bullfight crowd and, back in his garage studio, he added them to his flaired recording of a friends instrumental composition called Twinkle Star, which he then retitled The Lonely Bull.

In October of 1962, Alpert and his partner Jerry Moss put up $200 to press copies of the song, which was credited to the Tijuana Brass featuring Herb Alpert. A&M Records (for Alpert & Moss), with a home address of Alperts garage, was thus in business. And what businessby the following February, The Lonely Bull had muscled its way into the Top Ten and had sold close to a million copies.

Outsold the Beatles

The sound Alpert devisedan easy-to-digest blend of mariachi bounce, Dixieland charm, and the barest hint of rock rhythmswas dubbed Ameriachi, and it caught on immediately. The Tijuana Brass, opined Time, is basically just a good old-fashioned melody band that makes no pretensions toward the new. No soul-searching Thelonious Monk stuff, no revolutionary developmentsjust pleasant music that is as universal in its way as Bob Hope is in his.

The clearest explanation of the appeal of the Tijuana Brass in a world then being swept by Beatlemania came from an unlikely music critic; Best live entertainment

For the Record

Born March 31, 1937, in Los Angeles, CA; married Lani Hall (a former singer), c. 1968.

Began trumpet study, c. 1944; actor, 1956-58; formed partnership with record producer Lou Adler, 1958; wrote with singer Sam Cooke, 1958; became staff producer for Dore Records, 1959; with Adler, produced and managed Jan & Dean, 1959-62; recorded as vocalist Dore Alpert for RCA, 1960; formed A&M Records with business partner Jerry Moss and released first single, The Lonely Bull, 1962; recorded 32 albums as solo artist and with Tijuana Brass, 1963-93; co-owner and executive, A&M Records, 1962-89; founded Herb Alpert Foundation, c. 1985; co-owner and executive, Rondor Records, 1993. Military; service: U.S. Army.

Awards: Numerous gold and platinum records. Seven Grammy awards, including record of the year, 1965, and best non-jazz instrumental, 1965, for A Taste of Honey; best non-jazz instrumental, 1966, for What Now My Love; and best pop instrumental performance, 1979, for Rise.

Addresses: Office Rondor Music, 360 North La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.

Ive seen in years, enthused former Postmaster General J. Edward Day to Newsweek after catching the Alpert groups command performance at the 1966 White House Correspondents Dinner. I wish there were more like them and fewer of those weird and kooky groups.

Alpert reached out to this older, more traditionaland at the time largely disenfranchisedpop audience with a relentless schedule of concert dates and television appearances. It worked. The Top Ten hit A Taste of Honey propelled three Tijuana Brass albums onto the charts simultaneously in 1965, but Alpert topped even that the following year; in April of 1966, his fifth album, Going Places, resided at Number One, while the four discs previously released crowded the rest of the Top Twenty. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass had five of the Top Twenty albumsand were outselling the Beatles.

But Alpert did not fare especially well during the dawn of the psychedelic era. He charted nine singles in 1966 and 1967, but none even approached the Top Ten. Then he teamed with superproducer Burt Bacharach to record a rare vocal effort called This Guys in Love With You. Alpert had been signed briefly to RCA Records as a vocalist in 1960it was there, in fact, that hed first met Jerry Mossbut all the Tijuana Brass records had been trumpet-driven instrumentals.

Vocal Comeback

Something about Alperts soft, reticent voice suited the song and struck a sympathetic chord with listeners everywhere. This Guy shot to Number One and became one of the biggest records of 1968. Perhaps even more remarkably, the record represented a number of firsts for three artists already at the pinnacle of the recording industry: it was the first Number One single for Alpert and his first million-selling single, and it was the first Number One for producer Bacharach, as well as the first Number One for the distinguished songwriting team of Bacharach and Hal David. According to a Time profile, Alpert grossed $30 million in 1968 and paid his Tijuana Brass sidemen base salaries of $100,000 each. Both were considered astronomical sums in the economic context of the day. Alperts comeback had taken him to a whole new level.

A&M Records, meanwhile, had become a thriving concern. Fewer than five years after launching their business out of Alperts garage, Alpert and Moss acquired and moved their operation onto the old Charlie Chaplin movie studio lot near the corner of Sunset and La Brea in Hollywood. Their roles would blur somewhat over the years, but Moss generally handled distribution and sales while Alpert looked after the creative side.

Initially the label was stocked with close musical relatives of the Tijuana Brass such as the Baja Marimba Band and Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66. The success of these acts in addition to Alperts phenomenal sales enabled him and Moss to make A&M whatever kind of company they chose. They took this opportunity seriously, and A&M grew into not only the most successful independent record label of all time, but also one of the most respected.

Michael Goldberg of Rolling Stone called A&M a company that became known as one of the classiest in the business... where music really did come first. It was a company known for its commitment to its artists. Over the years A&M developed multi-platinum careers for acts like the Carpenters, Cat Stevens, Carole King, Captain and Tennille, Peter Frampton, Quincy Jones, Bryan Adams, the Police, Amy Grant, Sting, and Janet Jackson. But the real strength of A&M was in its diversity; it welcomed and nurtured left-field talent like Joe Cocker, Procol Harum, Captain Beefheart, the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Tubes, Joe Jackson, Suzanne Vega, John Hiatt, and the Neville Brothers, to name but a few.

Renaissance Man

Even as he presided over the mushrooming of his company, Alpert maintained a sporadic recording career of his own. In 1978 he released a highly regarded album collaboration with South African trumpeter Hugh Masakela. The following year his disco-inflected single Rise rose all the way to Number One, sold a million copies, and won the 1979 Grammy Award for best pop instrumental performance. In 1987 Alpert enlisted the help of hot dance producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to concoct the Top Ten hit Diamonds, which also featured a guest vocal by Janet Jackson.

Somehow Alpert also found the time to branch out into other fields. A talented painter, he began showing his quarter century of work publicly in 1989. That same year, he introduced a fragrance for women called Listen. Since the mid-1980s he has directed the activities of the Herb Alpert Foundation, the charitable works of which benefit worthy music, education, and humanitarian projects throughout the country.

After 27 years of running their company as an independent entity, Alpert and Moss sold A&M to the PolyGram Corporation in June of 1989. By that time their little operation had grown to include recording studios, a thriving song publishing arm, the bustling Chaplin Soundstage, and a successful film and television production company. Retaining only the publishing company Rondor Music, the partners sold everything else to PolyGram for close to half a billion dollars.

In June of 1993 Alpert and Moss departed the management posts they had retained at A&M/PolyGram. By the fall of that year, Rondor Music was well on its way to spinning off a full-fledged label. Herb Alpert had come a long, long way from the garage.

Selected discography

On A&M Records

The Lonely Bull, 1962.

Herb Alperts Tijuana Brass, Volume 2, 1964.

Whipped Cream & Other Delights (includes A Taste Of Honey), 1965.

Going Places, 1965.

What Now My Love, 1966.

S.R.O., 1966.

Sounds Like, 1967.

Herb Alperts Ninth, 1967.

The Beat of the Brass (includes This Guys in Love With You), 1968.

Warm, 1969.

Greatest Hits, 1970.

Solid Brass, 1972.

Coney Island, 1975.

Herb Alpert/Hugh Masakela, 1978.

Rise, 1979.

Magic Man, 1981.

Fandango, 1982.

Bullish, 1984.

Keep Your Eye on Me (includes Diamonds), 1987.

My Abstract Heart, 1989.

North on South St., 1991.

Midnight Sun, 1992.

Sources

Billboard, May 1, 1993.

Daily Variety, August 3, 1988; April 26, 1993; June 21, 1993.

Down Beat, September 1991; October 1992; February 1993.

Forbes, October 31, 1988.

Newsweek, April 25, 1966; August 5, 1968.

People, October 24, 1988.

Rolling Stone, May 16, 1991; August 8, 1991.

Time, November 12, 1965; July 19, 1968.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from A&M Records publicity material, 1989, 1991, and 1992.

Ben Edmonds

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Alpert, Herb

ALPERT, HERB

ALPERT, HERB (1935– ), U.S. trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and producer. Born in Los Angeles, Alpert studied jazz and classical trumpet and served two years in the army as a trumpeter and bugler. His first success in the music industry was the writing and recording of the instrumental hit "The Lonely Bull" (1962) with his backup group the Tijuana Brass. Alpert's style influenced a number of other groups, such as Diana Ross and the Supremes and the Beatles. In 1962 he used his royalty monies to purchase the old Charlie Chaplin studio and form A&M Records in partnership with Jerry Moss. Under Alpert's guidance, A&M signed many famous pop performers such as the Police, Cat Stevens, Joan Baez, and the Carpenters. In addition, Alpert himself recorded the number one hit single "This Guy's in Love" (1972). In 1990 he and Moss sold A&M and in 1994 started a new record label – Almo. His albums showed an eclectic style with influences from Africa, funk and disco, Big Band sounds, and hip-hop. Among his recordings are Herb Alpert and Hugh Masekela (1978); Rise (1979); My Abstract Heart (1989); North on South Street (1991); the jazz album Midnight Sun (1992); Second Wind (1996); and Passion Dance (1997).

bibliography:

Grove online; mgg2.

[Jonathan Licht /

Israela Stein (2nd ed.)]

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Alpert, Herb

Alpert, Herb

Alpert, Herb, the trumpet player who translated mariachi music into a half-billion dollars; b. Los Angeles, Calif., March 31, 1935. Herb Alpert’s father, Louis Goldberg, was a tailor, an immigrant from Kiev who settled in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles. His mother, Tillie, encouraged his classical trumpet studies, which he started in elementary school. He started exploring other avenues after seeing Louis Armstrong perform.

After spending some time at the Univ. of Southern Calif., Alpert took a job as an A&R representative for Keen Records. He produced Jan and Dean’s first record, “Baby Talk” and the hit “Alley Oop” for Dante and the Evergreens. He also co-wrote Sam Cooke’s 1960 #12 single, “Wonderful World.”

After attending a bullfight, Alpert wrote a tune on his trumpet to capture the feeling of the event. The song took on a mariachi flavor. Called “The Lonely Bull,” it was released by Alpert and his business partner Jerry Moss as the first record by The Tijuana Brass (Alpert and studio musicians) on their own A&M Records label. The company operated out of Alpert’s garage and the two partners distributed records out of the trunks of their cars. Nevertheless, the record sold more than 700, 000 copies.

However, Alpert really didn’t catch fire until the release of his 1965 masterpiece Whipped Cream and Other Delights. The album featured cover art out of Playboy—an undressed woman in a pile of whipped cream—and produced a string of hits, including “A Taste of Honey.” From the fall of 1965 through the fall of 1967, Alpert was one of the few artists giving The Beatles a run for their money. He earned a dozen Top 40 hits, ten gold albums, and five Grammy Awards: three for “A Taste of Honey,” including Record of the Year in 1965, and two for “What Now My Love” the following year. Singles like “The Spanish Flea,” “Casino Royale,” and “Tijuana Taxi” hit the charts. Alpert earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for simultaneously having five records in Billboard’s Top 20 (in 1966), a feat not even The Beatles could manage.

By 1967, Alpert was feeling burned-out from the combination of running A&M Records and touring and recording with his band. A&M started releasing artists other than Alpert, starting with Sergio Méndez, Chris Montez, George McCurn, and The Kenjolairs in the mid-1960s. The label’s roster in the late 1960s and early 1970s included Joe Cocker, Carole King, The Baja Marimba Band, Cheech and Chong, and The Carpenters. A&M had become big business, an independent record company to contend with.

Alpert, in the meantime, cut a vocal version of Burt Bachrach’s “This Guy’s in Love with You” that went to #1, proving he wasn’t just a trumpet sensation. He disbanded The Tijuana Brass and put away his horn for close to two years, going without his daily practice for the first time in over a quarter of a century. Alpert’s career as a pop star sagged in the 1970s; he recorded several albums with South African jazz star Hugh Masakela, even touring for a while. In 1979, he returned to the charts with a vengeance, catching disco lightning in a bottle with the instrumental “Rise.” It was his second #1 single in a row, albeit they were 11 years apart! The song won the Best Pop Instrumental Grammy (his third). The follow-up, “Rotation,” also got good dance floor play and hit the pop Top 40.

Alpert recorded sporadically through the 1980s. He scored a minor hit in 1982 with “Route 101,” and a pair of hits in 1987 with “Diamonds” and “Making Love in the Rain,” both of which featured vocals from A&M artist Janet Jackson. The following year, he mined a gold single with “Keep Your Eye on Me.”

Meanwhile, A&M continued to sign and break new artists. They had huge hits with artists as diverse as The Police, Cat Stevens, Peter Frampton, Supertramp, Styx, The Go-Go’s, Bryan Adams, and many others. They built one of the finest studios on the West Coast, taking over a two-block-long stretch of Sunset Boulevard that included Charlie Chaplin’s old studio for their offices.

In 1989, Alpert and Moss sold A&M records for half a billion dollars to PolyGram Records, retaining only their publishing company. They stayed on as figureheads for a few years, but then left the company they’d started in Alpert’s garage 25 years earlier and launched Almo Sounds. Starting from the ground up, they signed the band Garbage and developed it into a platinum act.

Alpert continued to record for the new company. He put out an album of jazz called Second Wind. He also invested in Broadway plays, including Angels in America and Jelly’s Last Jam. With some of the millions he now had, he created a foundation to give grants to artists via the Calif. Inst. of the Arts. Into his 60s, he continued to play and record with anyone who suited his fancy. Passion Dance hooked him up with some hot Latin artists. The “Colors” in the name of his 1999 album referred to the rhythm section of the funk-rock group Living Colour. Neither sold especially well, but having sold over 72 million records and grown a half- billion dollar record company, Alpert had nothing left to prove.

Discography

Lonely Bull (1962); Whipped Cream & Other Delights (1965); Greatest Hits (1970); Four Sider (1973); Greatest Hits No. 2 (1973); Rise (1979); Classics (1987); North on South St. (1991); Midnight Sun (1992); Second Wind (1996); Passion Dance (1997); Herb Alpert and Colors (1999).

—Hank Bordowitz

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