Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, Vol. 2 featured the song “A-me-ri-ca” from the wildly successful cultural milestone West Side Story. While the story was originally produced on Broadway, it was the film that became a cultural phenomenon, and cover versions of the film’s most popular songs were found on seemingly everone’s albums back in the day.
Alpert changed up the original’s polyrhythmic structure and set it to his own mariachi-themed arrangement, a favorite track on the Brass’s second album that is as much fun to listen as the original movie clip from which it was taken.
On a chance meeting in a Vienna bistro, film director Carol Reed heard Anton Karas’s playing the zither (for tips!). Upon having the revelation that this was the sound he wanted for his film The Third Man, Reed convinced the 40-hear-old Karas to compose the entire film score. Karas revived a tune he hadn’t played in 15 years as the main theme song for the film. In the UK, where the song was as wildly popular as it was in the US, the theme was more popularly known as “The Harry Lime Theme,” named after the main character in the film (played by actor Orson Welles). It topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, spending 11 weeks atop the Billboard best sellers chart in the US.
Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass originally recorded the tune as a single, with “A Taste of Honey” on the B-side. DJs began playing “Honey” instead, which opened the floodgates for the immensely popular Whipped Cream & Other Delights album. “Third Man Theme” would end up on the following album, Going Places, several months later.
Leading off side two of the Sounds Like… Tijuana Brass album was “Town Without Pity.” The tune was originally a 1961 recording by pop crooner Gene Pitney, with music composed by Dimitri Tiomkin and lyrics by Ned Washington. It was composed for the film of the same name, and received a Golden Globe along with an Academy Award nomination for best motion picture song.
Very often, Herb Alpert’s albums were very “topical.” Like a newscaster dispensing the latest news, many Tijuana Brass albums would feature recent hits. Back in the era of the Lonely Bull album, another great style was taking over American airwaves and record stores: the Bossa Nova. “Desafinado” today is considered a Bossa Nove standard, composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Newton Mendonça. The earliest recordings of this tune by Joao Gilberto are for the most part unavailable today, but the most popular hit version was recorded by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd, on their 1962 album Jazz Samba, reaching the Top 20 in the US. Here is their version of “Desafinado.”
Two lucky winners will win a copy of the latest Herb Alpert CD, Come Fly With Me, signed personally by Herb Alpert and Lani Hall! To enter the giveaway and read the details, visit our forum. Contest ends on Feb. 21, 2016, so don’t delay!
Click here to jump over to our forum and enter the giveaway.
The Coney Island album would stretch the “new” T.J.B. even further into new musical territory, covering tunes from many diverse artists and genres. “Señor Mouse” originated on the 1973 album Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy by Return To Forever. This was the first jazz-rock lineup of RTF which featured Chick Corea (keys), Stanley Clarke (basses), Lenny White (drums) and Bill Connors (guitars). Al DiMeola would replace Connors on the next album, taking RTF into its most popular and successful era.
Explaining both the album’s title track and “Captain Señor Mouse” as reminiscent of being in outer space, Corea explained that the song “…reminded me of a mouse at the helm of a spaceship;” hence, the title. Here is the Return To Forever version of “Señor Mouse.” Enjoy!
On January 19, 1991, Janet Jackson’s hit single “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” reaches #1 on the Billboard singles chart. Making a guest appearance on trumpet is our main man, Herb Alpert. This would be Jackson’s fourth #1 hit, and was part of the Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis produced album Rhythm Nation: 1814. Jam and Lewis would also produce Alpert’s album Keep Your Eye On Me for release in 1990.
Released in 1978, the Herb Alpert/Hugh Masekela album brought an entirely new sound to Alpert’s worldwide fans–a mix of funk, jazz and African stylings that was unlike anything he had ever recorded previously. One track that intrigued us was “Lobo,” penned by the great Brazilian composer Edu Lobo, whose tunes were featured on many A&M albums throughout the 60s and 70s. “Lobo” is originally the title track to Lobo’s 1976 album Limite das Aguas. Here it is!
Originals is a series of featured original or hit recordings which Herb Alpert would cover on his solo or Tijuana Brass albums. From the popular to the obscure, we’re digging to find you the best!
Today’s Original is a 1966 hit from the duo Peter & Gordon (Peter Asher and Gordon Waller), a British pop duo who were part of the British Invasion of the 60s, whose tune “A World Without Love” would top the charts internationally. Our featured Original, “Lady Godiva,” would peak at #6 US and sell over a million copies. Worldwide it became a #1 hit in Australia and Canada, and hit the Top 20 in other countries. In this case, the Tijuana Brass rendition (from the Sounds Like album) did not stray too far from the music hall style of the Peter & Gordon hit version.
In this new series, called Originals, we will take a quick look at the original or “hit” versions of songs which Herb Alpert would rearrange and include on his Tijuana Brass or solo albums. The fascinating part of looking at Alpert’s entire body of work is the widely diverse musical styles he would use as sources for his own recordings. From current pop hits to world music and even classical, you are bound to find a sample of these on his records.
We’re pleased to report that 26 Herb Alpert albums are available for download in high-resolution from both HDTracks and Acoustic Sounds. The Tidal streaming service also has CD-definition lossless FLAC downloads available as well from their store.
We have posted a simple guide to explain what high-resolution audio is, and for a future set of posts we will be explaining various means of playing these files, whether it be through a portable device, a network media player, or computer hardware and software.
While the meticulously mastered vinyl is probably the closest version to the studio tapes you’ll hear, the high-res digital comes awfully close. This is a chance to own studio-quality releases of these classic albums. If and when other online stores offer high-res downloads, we will let you know here first. For the very latest, you may want to check out our forum thread about the downloads.