Since 1957, Herb Alpert and his trumpet have been part of the cultural scene.
Today is his 75th birthday, an appropriate time to remember that he has had five #1 hits, as well as nearly 30 albums that were certified gold or platinum, in his long career. In the 1960s, with his Tijuana Brass, Alpert began to attract attention from mainstream music fans with the group's first hit, "The Lonely Bull."
That song didn't reach the top spot on the charts, but it enjoyed more commercial success in the United States than anything else the Tijuana Brass ever recorded.
The group disbanded in 1969, but they were popular throughout that decade, appearing on numerous TV specials in what were sort of early versions of music videos. After the split, Alpert went on to enjoy many years of success as a solo artist. Not long before the breakup, he had a #1 recording — a singular effort called "This Guy's in Love With You."
The title may not be familiar to young listeners, but I'll bet the melody is.
A decade passed before Alpert reclaimed the top spot on the charts, but he did so with the recording that I've always liked the best — "Rise." The album of the same name was a huge hit, a Grammy Award winner, and the song made Alpert the first (and, to my knowledge, the only) performer to reach the top spot on the American charts with a vocal recording ("This Guy's in Love With You") and a purely instrumental recording ("Rise").
Alpert is a unique talent. In addition to his recordings, he co–founded A&M Records with Jerry Moss nearly 50 years ago. A&M is probably a familiar label to many contemporary music fans. It has released several albums by noteworthy artists, including Joe Cocker, Joan Baez, Burt Bacharach, The Carpenters, Peter Frampton, The Captain and Tennille, Procol Harum, Free, Carole King, Styx, Supertramp, Sting, Sheryl Crow, Soundgarden. The list goes on and on.
And, in 1996, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognized Alpert and Moss for their work by inducting them in the non–performer category.
Happy birthday, Herb. Thanks for all you've done.