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Herb Alpert Biography

31 March 1935, Los Angeles, California, USA. A trumpet player from the age of eight, Alpert proved an exceptional arranger, songwriter and entrepreneur. In collaboration with Lou Adler, he wrote Sam Cooke’s hit ‘Wonderful World’, then turned to production, enjoying successes with surfing duo Jan And Dean. After a short-lived partnership with Lou Rawls and a failed attempt at acting, Alpert teamed up with promoter/producer Jerry Moss. Together they founded A&M Records, in 1962, and launched Alpert’s own hit recording career with ‘The Lonely Bull’. Backed by the Tijuana Brass, Alpert enjoyed a number of instrumental hits such as ‘Taste Of Honey’, ‘Tijuana Taxi’, ‘Spanish Flea’ and ‘Casino Royale’. A regular in the album charts of the 60s, he cleverly cornered the market by signing and producing his easy listening rivals Sergio Mendes And Brasil ’66. In 1968, a rare Alpert vocal outing on Burt Bacharach’s ‘This Guy’s In Love With You’ became a US chart-topper, and also reached UK number 3. Meanwhile, A&M flourished and by the end of the 60s had ventured into the rock market with signings such as the Flying Burrito Brothers, Joe Cocker, Carole King, and Leon Russell. It was the easy listening, soft rock act the Carpenters, however, who proved the label’s most commercially successful act of the early 70s.In spite of Alpert’s record company commitments, he sustained his recording career and earned his second US number 1 with the instrumental ‘Rise’ in 1979.

One of the most successful music business moguls of his era, Alpert finally sold A&M in 1989 for a staggering $500 million. In 1994 Alpert and Moss started a new record label, this time with the even more imaginative title of Almo. Alpert returned to recording in the late 90s with a series of slick jazz/AOR albums. He also exhibited his abstract expressionist paintings and co-produced a number of Broadway shows, including Angels In America and Jelly’s Last Jam. Alpert and Moss sold their music publishing company Rondor, to Universal Group in 2000 for an estimated $400 million. Alpert was inducted, alongside Moss, into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in March 2006.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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