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The Tijuana Brass "sound"

Discussion in 'The Beat of The Brass: Herb Alpert/Tijuana Brass' started by Harry, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. Harry

    Harry Charter Member Moderator Thread Starter

    Back in the sixties, Herb's Tijuana Brass sound was everywhere - and not just on his records. As an example - and there are many, listen to the backing to this RC Cola commercial that was sung by Nancy Sinatra on her MOVIN' WITH NANCY TV special in December of 1967. Listen especially to the second half:

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  2. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    As I mentioned elsewhere Others have Emulated the sound in the form of numerous tribute albums for example Chet baker ( albeit under unfortunate circumstances) recorded several Mariachi Brass Lps then there was The Bob Crewe Generation doing their Music to watch Girls by Which had that Tijuana brass sound I believed it was used in a Pepsi commercial in 1967 ( I may Be wrong on that) but it's true There was no escaping That wonderful sound.
  3. Steve Sidoruk

    Steve Sidoruk Founder, A&M Fan Net Moderator

    Just another cheap imitation.
  4. Captaindave

    Captaindave Active Member

    Many will imitate, but none will duplicate.

    It is certainly true...the Herb Alpert/Tijuana Brass sound was a dominant presence on the musical "landscape" of the 1960s.

    I'm glad I came along at that time, growing up in the sixties, and therefore had the opportunity to experience it in person. Those were exciting times. In my opinion, there hasn't been anything like it since, nor is it likely to be repeated in any way in the future.
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  5. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    Ever so true. Even though I was born between the Sounds like and Ninth albums I believe Herb's music was obviously part of my musical psyche while I was in the womb and is still very much if not more so ingrained in me in retrospect it was worth being teased in school for liking it and sticking with my musical roots rather than following the cliques and crowds and their various fads .
  6. Harry

    Harry Charter Member Moderator Thread Starter

    My purpose in pointing out the ad above was just as an example of the absolute saturation effect that Herb's music had on the entire latter half of the decade. That trumpet sound was everywhere, to varying degrees and deftness; it was found in commercials, movie soundtracks, TV soundtracks, and of course game shows.

    Even by the end of the decade and the start of the next, Richard Carpenter incorporated that sound on "Close To You". To this day, people still ask if that trumpet was Herb Alpert on that record. (It was Chuck Findley.)

    If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I'm sure Herb was quite flattered in those days.
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  7. Captaindave

    Captaindave Active Member

    I was born in 1951, graduating from high school in 1969, so I was well into my teenage and high school years at the time. I was in 6th grade in 1962 when Lonely Bull came along. When I graduated from high school, WARM was the latest album. So, I had the opportunity to be around when all the original recordings were released between 1962 and 1969, saw the TV specials when they originally aired, and attended some concerts by the original Tijuana Brass. Those were great times.

    Most of my friends back then were also Herb Alpert fans, instrumental musicians like me, and band-mates.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
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  8. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    For a while there, anytime I heard a trumpet solo on any song, I assumed it HAD to be Herb Alpert playing it... after all, he was "the" trumpet guy.

    I'm not sure what all TJB albums were out when I bought my first one -- I bought Going Places for my mom for Mother's Day -- I think it was the same year the first TJB special aired, so whatever was out at that time. Not too much later, I bought What Now My Love for myself.
  9. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    There used to be a commercial from the 70s for a diet snack bar named Figurines, from Pillsbury. It featured the melody from an upbeat version of the tune "Tangerine" with that "paired trumpet" sound in the music bed behind the vocals.
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  10. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Active Member

    I'm old enough to remember "The Lonely Bull", the lull and then the big burst of success from WHIPPED CREAM.

    I'm the oddball in that the stuff that made Herb rich and famous (the mariachi sound) is what I liked least. I didn't actively dislike it, but I heard it as a gimmick. Herb got huge points in my 11-year-old brain for making fun of it with "Carmen".

    My first big favorite was "Lollipops and Roses", then "Flamingo", "Casino Royale", "Love So Fine", "The Robin", "Slick" and "This Guy's In Love With You". WARM is by far my favorite album because it's the least Tijuana-flavored, and I'm a major pushover for Brazilian music.

    I will say this about the Tijuana sound, though---and I think I said it here about ten (maybe 15) years ago...Herb's success gave non-rock artists about six more years of chart success than I think they would have had otherwise. Remember that record stores had separate sections for 'Rock' and 'Easy Listening'. Herb's stuff was filed in 'Easy Listening', meaning his hot records would bring more people to 'Easy Listening' than otherwise, and they'd browse.

    I really think Dean Martin's "Everybody Loves Somebody" would have been the last gasp for Easy Listening in terms of chart success on the Hot 100 singles and the Hot 200 albums had it not been for WHIPPED CREAM and what followed. Andy Williams, Perry Como, Ed Ames, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Dean and others owed Herb for making Easy Listening viable on the charts and on Top 40 radio through 1971.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
  11. Captaindave

    Captaindave Active Member

    I think that instrumental music during the sixties stayed alive in large part because of the Tijuana Brass.

    I can think of songs from the sixties that have no resemblance to the Herb Alpert sound, but the enormous popularity of the Tijuana Brass as an instrumental sound made it possible for some other instrumental music to get radio airplay and have some measure of success in the period of time from about 1963 on (that's just an arbitrary starting point in my mind) till the end of the decade.

    I do remember Dean Martin with "Everybody Loves Somebody" back in 1964 - he was on the charts with that one even amid the huge presence of The Beatles at the same time. I also remember some other tunes I would call easy listening at the time, such as the Ray Charles singers with "Al-Di-La", Stan Getz/Astrud Gilberto "Girl From Ipanema", and Eydie Gorme "I Want You To Meet My Baby" in the summer of 1964. Easy Listening, in my opinion.
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  12. Michael Hagerty

    Michael Hagerty Active Member


    To an extent, yes. Remember, "The Lonely Bull" looked like a one-hit wonder for three years...and it only hit #6 at that. Instrumentals had been big before and after...from "April In Paris" to "Moonglow and Theme from Picnic" to "Last Date" to "Our Winter Love". In the rock vein, "Telstar", "Wipeout", "Walk-Don't Run" and a kajillion others (including everything ever recorded by Booker T. and the MGs). But did Herb's success make songs like "Music To Watch Girls By", "Whatever Shape (Your Stomach's In)" and "Soulful Strut" more likely to hit? Probably.

    And in Easy Listening, the songs you cite were before "Everybody Loves Somebody". It was strong enough to knock the Beatles out of number one. But I believe (looking at chart data) that would have been the last gasp had it not been for Herb. Songs by that generation of artists had been performing worse and worse leading up to that point...and didn't do especially well after that. But there's an upswing after Herb's "A Taste of Honey".

    There's a site, americanradiohistory.com, with an exhaustive back collection of Billboard magazine. For a couple of years before WHIPPED CREAM hit big, there were several articles about how "Easy Listening" stations needed to figure out what they were going to do, because it was clear that rock and roll was all that was really selling huge and the major artists of just a few years before (Sinatra, Dean, Peggy Lee, Andy Williams) were in decline.
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  13. DeeInKY

    DeeInKY Well-Known Member

    This was the soundtrack of the 60s. You heard Herb all over the place, and the imitators filled in with the knockoff sound.
  14. Sort of on-topic, sort of not:

    My sister and I were both in grade school during the 60's. She had Nancy Sinatra records; I had Herb Alpert records. I don't remember the Nancy Sinatra version of the RC Cola commercial in the original post. I do remember Dino, Desi, & Billy's version of the same jingle:

    Being a kid from rural Western Kentucky, I had a bit of a fascination with Hollywood and Los Angeles and California in general. My fascination was started by both The Beach Boys and Herb Alpert. I also enjoyed seeing Dino, Desi, & Billy (kids of major stars) playing pop music at the Hollywood Bowl in this commercial. My daughter has lived in the L.A. metropolitan area for several years now. Her desire to move to L.A. came in no small part from her dad's lifelong fascination with Southern California. And yes, I've been to the Hollywood Bowl on a couple of occasions.

    Speaking of The Beach Boys and Herb Alpert, I've had the opportunity to see both Brian Wilson and Herb Alpert in concert this year - my first time to see either in concert and I've seen them both in 2017! It's been a very good year!

    Oh, by the way, Billy Hinsche (the Billy, of Dino, Desi, & Billy) has been one of Brian Wilson's long-time friends and band members. So, I saw Billy the same evening I saw Brian Wilson (in Indy on April 23rd; nine days before I saw Herb & Lani in Cincy).

    Anyway, the clip in the original post brought back childhood memories of Nancy Sinatra; Dino, Desi, & Billy; and the desire to someday see the Hollywood Bowl in person. Thank you, Harry, for posting that clip!
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
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