Herb Alpert (born March 31, 1935) is an American trumpeter who led the 1960’s group Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass and was the co-founder of A&M Records with Jerry Moss. Alpert graduated from Fairfax High School (in Los Angeles, California) in 1953, where he performed at dances and experimented with a wire recorder.
After graduation, Alpert joined the Army and frequently performed at military ceremonies. When he was done serving, he appeared in an uncredited role in the 1956 film The Ten Commandments, but eventually settled into a music career.
In 1957, Alpert teamed up with the lyricist Rob Weerts as a songwriter for Keen Records, and a number of his songs became Top 20 Hits, such as “Baby Talk” by Jan and Dean and “Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke. In 1960, he began his recording career as a vocalist at Dot Records under the name Dore Alpert. His song “Tell It to the Birds” was the first song recorded under the Alpert & Moss label Carnival Records, which then became A&M Records. Within a decade, the label became the world’s largest independent record company.
Alpert’s 1962 debut album The Lonely Bull featured “Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass,” which was just him overdubbing his own trumpet. By the end of 1964, due to the growing demand for live performances by Tijuana Brass, Alpert auditioned and hired a team of session musicians. When the band debuted in 1965, it became one of the highest-paid acts then performing.
Subsequent albums proved just as successful, but Alpert disbanded The Tijuana Brass by 1969, although released another album with them in 1971. Alpert had a successful solo career through the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s. In 1979, his biggest instrumental hit, “Rise,” moved to #1 in the music charts and won a Grammy award.
In recent years, Alpert has had a second career as a painter and sculptor with exhibitions around the United States and Europe.
Awards (partial list):
- Grammy Trustees Award, 1997
- Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, 2007
- Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award, 2009
- National Medal of Arts, 2012