Herb Alpert (born March 31, 1935 in Los Angeles, California) is an American musician most associated with the Tijuana Brass, a now-defunct brass band of which he was leader.
He is also famous as a recording industry executive - he is the "A" of A&M Records.
As a child Herb took up both the trumpet and the drums, and by high school he was recording himself on his own wire recorder (an ancestor of the tape recorder).
He gained quite a reputation on the horn, performing during his post-graduate Army stint and again with the USC Trojan Marching Band in college.
He also worked as a songwriter and movie extra, learning all aspects of the entertainment business.
By the early '60s he'd built his own home studio.
Success: Alpert's friend Sol Lake had written an instrumental entitled "Twinkle Star," which the trumpeter began to record in his studio, overdubbing his horn with very slight delay in order to create the illusion of a full brass section.
After seeing a mariachi band at a bullfight in nearby Tijuana, Mexico, he revamped the tune to match the style, and dubbed the result "The Lonely Bull." Alpert had already formed his own label, Carnival Records, with partner Jerry Moss, and had released a vocal solo single as Dore Alpert; he used this label, later renamed A&M, to release the new single.
It was an instant hit, and both Alpert's career and the label's took off.
Having released "Bull" with the name "Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass," he set about finding musicians for his fictional band.
His 1965 album Whipped Cream and Other Delights became a landmark in the adult contemporary field, defining the sound for the decade. In 1967, Herb actually sang again, performing Burt Bacharach's "This Guy's in Love With You" on a Tijuana Brass TV special.
Demands for a single resulted in a rare vocal hit for Alpert.
Later years: Herb continued in this vein until 1974, recording various incarnations of the Tijuana Brass and augmenting them with Los Angeles' famed "Wrecking Crew" sessions musicians.