…we know each other very well

It was 1968 and Herb Alpert, known for his phenomenal success with his trumpet, but certainly not for his singing, asked Burt Bacharach if he had any original songs lying around that had never been recorded.  As it happened, Bacharach recalled one, dug it out and said, “Here, Herb, you might like this one.”

The song had an easy-going, Bacharach-David melody, was well within Alpert’s vocal range, and even had a spot for a signature horn solo.  Alpert sang it during a television special (“The Beat of the Brass”) and decided to record it when the network received hundreds of enthusiastic telephone calls after the broadcast.  The resulting single charted at Number 1 on the Billboard Chart and remained there for four straight weeks in 1968. Not only was it Alpert’s first Number One Single, it was also the first Number One Single for his A & M Records label.  But then again, “A & M” stands for “Alpert” & (his partner) “Moss” so perhaps that’s not such a huge surprise after all.

Born and raised in Los Angeles into a musical family with Ukrainian and Romanian roots, Herbert Alpert began his trumpet lessons at the age of eight and played at dances as a teenager. After a stint in the U.S. Army (where he regularly performed during military ceremonies) he gave acting a go (that’s him in the uncredited role of the drummer on Mt. Sinai in the 1956 film, “Ten Commandments”) but while attending the University of Southern California (where he was a member of the Trojan Marching Band) he decided that his future was in music.  This was solidified while attending a bullfight in Tijuana, Mexico, where he (and the rest of the crowd) became inspired by the arousing fanfare of a Mariachi band, whenever it was time for a new event.

Having set up a recording studio in his garage, Alpert adapted the mariachi trumpet style to a tune called “Twinkle Star” and provided his own backing by overdubbing his own trumpet, slightly out of sync.  After mixing in some crowd noise for ambiance he called the song, “The Lonely Bull” by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass” and spread copies around to various radio stations until it caught on.  The song reached Number 6 on the Billboard charts in 1962 and the follow-up album (also called “The Lonely Bull”) was also the first album released by “Alpert & Moss”

In light of the song’s success, Alpert needed a “real” Tijuana Brass” (TJB) and hired a team of session musicians (none of them Hispanic) initially for appearances and then for all ensuing recordings (fourteen of them platinum) with Alpert recordings outselling the Beatles (in North America) in 1966 and with an unprecedented (and never repeated) five simultaneous Top 20 albums (four of them Top 10) on the Billboard Pop Album Chart.

A number of years later, he would become the only solo recording artist ever to chart at Number 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 both with an instrumental performance (1979’s “Rise”) and with a vocal performance, for this expressive 1968 recording of “This Guy’s in Love With You”.

LISTEN TO TODAY’S PERFORMANCE – Wednesday 30 May  

This Guy’s in Love With You

You see this guy, this guy’s in love with you

Yes I’m in love; who looks at you the way I do?

When you smile I can tell we know each other very well

 How can I show you

I’m glad I got to know you ’cause

I’ve heard some talk, they say you think I’m fine

Yes I’m in love and what

I’d do to make you mine

Tell me now is it so, don’t let me be the last to know

My hands are shakin’

Don’t let my heart keep breaking ’cause

I need your love, I want your love

Say you’re in love, in love with this guy

If not I’ll just die

 Tell me now is it so, don’t let me be the last to know

My hands are shakin’

Don’t let my heart keep breaking ’cause

I need your love, I want your love

Say you’re in love, in love with this guy

If not I’ll just die.

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