Few artists have had the monumental life and career of Herb Alpert. As the leader of the Tijuana Brass, Alpert led one of the most successful touring bands of 1960s while earning numerous Grammys, number one albums, and hit singles in the process. Some of his hits during this period include "The Lonely Bull," "A Taste of Honey," and "This Guy's in Love With You," the last of which was written by the iconic songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. In addition to his impressive musical output, Alpert also co-founded A&M Records with Jerry Moss. Together, the duo released all of Tijuana Brass's records and discovered such notable artists as The Carpenters and Cat Stevens. Alpert and Moss sold off their interest in A&M in the late 1980s before leaving the label altogether in 1993. Alpert remained actively involved in the music industry well into the 2010s, releasing a new album, Steppin' Out, in 2013, which went on to win a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album. The word legend is thrown around a lot, but with a career spanning seven decades, worldwide acclaim, and just about every accolade under the sun, there are few more deserving of the title than Herb Alpert.
Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles to a family of talented musicians, Alpert first picked up the trumpet when he was eight. He excelled at the instrument almost immediately, and by thirteen was playing at sock hops in and around Los Angeles. However, after graduating from high school in 1952, Alpert put his music career on hold to enlist in the United States Army. During his tenure as an enlisted man, Alpert's gift for performing never quite left him and he spent most of his time playing the trumpet at military ceremonies. Once his Army service was complete, Alpert made a brief foray into acting, before deciding that playing music was his true calling. An accomplished songwriter, by the late '50s Alpert was writing Top 20 hits for the likes of Jan and Dean and Sam Cooke, and even had a brief career as a solo vocalist at RCA Records under the name Dore Alpert. Feeling a need to branch out on his own, however, in 1962 Alpert and his friend Jerry Moss formed A&M Records, which would soon become one of the most successful record labels in the country.
Of course, A&M's most profitable act at first was Alpert's very own big band, The Tijuana Brass. After the band's first single, "The Lonely Bull," became a huge hit in 1962, The Tijuana Brass quickly became one of the most in-demand live acts on the concert circuit. The band also recorded a minimum of one album a year throughout the '60s, which included such hit songs as "A Taste of Honey," and "Spanish Flea." Alpert's band won six Grammys and sold several million albums, but by 1969 The Tijuana Brass had disbanded. Undeterred, Alpert continued to enjoy a successful career as a solo artist; his biggest solo hit, 1979's disco instrumental "Rise," won a Grammy Award, and later was sampled by hip hop star Notorious B.I.G. for his 1997 song, "Hypnotize." In 1987, A&M was sold to Polygram for a reported $500 million, and despite staying on with the label as managers for six additional years Alpert and Moss eventually decided to leave the label altogether in 1993. However, Alpert continued making music through the 2010s, with 2013's Steppin' Out winning a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album.