Although some may not realize it, trumpeter Herb Alpert changed the course of music in the 1960s and 1970s, paving the way for thousands of musicians that followed in his wake. And while he may best be remembered for the series of hits with The Tijuana Brass (TJB), he was – and is – so much more than that. He was the co-founder – alongside the late Jerry Moss – of A&M Records, the label responsible for hit records by the Carpenters, Peter Frampton, Squeeze, Bryan Adams, Soundgarden, Burt Bacharach, Split Enz, Captain & Tennille, UB40, Styx, Joe Cocker, The Police, Rita Coolidge, Rick Wakeman, Supertramp, and so many others. He sold millions of albums – both solo and with the TJB – and even shifted more units than The Beatles in 1966! His work with the TJB inspired many similar artists – The Brass Ring, The Baja Marimba Band, etc. – and his music still inspires listeners decades later.
His career started on an idea he had while watching a bullfight in Tijuana. Inspired by the energy, excitement, and feeling he got from the audience, he vowed to capture that experience in his music. That idea became “The Lonely Bull,” his 1962 debut single with The Tijuana Brass. Over the next 13 years, he sold millions of records – including the #1 single “This Guy’s In Love With You” and the iconic 1965 album WHIPPED CREAM & OTHER DELIGHTS – before he brought the TJB to an end and refocused on pursuing a solo career. In 1979, he scored another #1 hit with the song “Rise,” and scored hits in 1987 with two songs featuring Janet Jackson: “Diamonds” and “Making Love in the Rain.” Between 1996 and 2019, he had nine albums reach the Top 10 on Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart. And at the age of 88, he is still going strong, recording albums and touring with his wife Lani Hall (Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66).
Now, 61 years after the release of his debut album, Herb Alpert returns with his 49th album, WISH UPON A STAR. While the album’s title may lead you to believe that the album might be a tribute to the music of Disney, it is most certainly not. WISH UPON A STAR is a celebration of music in general and includes covers of songs originally recorded by Elvis Presley (“(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame”), The Carpenters (“We’ve Only Just Begun”), Jerry Reed (“East Bound And Down”), and even The Beatles (“And I Love Her”). And yes, he closes the album with the Disney classic “When You Wish Upon A Star!” The album’s heavy nod to Bossa Nova and Mariachi is woven into every song, eschewing slick, polished production and embracing a more acoustic sound that is both modern and retro at the same time. This is an album that is not worlds away from his TJB days and will most certainly appeal to fans that have followed him throughout the years as well as those only familiar with his ‘60s recordings. And there’s more joy and passion here than on albums by artists one-fourth his age. All of these years later, Herb Alpert is still an inspiration!
WISH UPON A STAR