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Herb Alpert on 80 years in music: ‘Mozart, Thelonious Monk … all of us have the same 12 notes’

The trumpeter and co-founder of A&M Records answers your questions on writing a Bond theme, selling 72m albums and signing Janet Jackson, Karen Carpenter and the ‘appalling’ *** Pistols

What was it like singing such a famous, beautiful Burt Bacharach song as This Guy’s in Love With You? eamonmcc
Burt and I were dear friends. When I was doing this TV special with the Tijuana Brass in 1968, the director, Jack Haley Jr, said: “I’m tired of filming you with a trumpet in your mouth, why don’t you try singing a song?” I called Burt and asked: “Is there a song you maybe didn’t get the right recording of, or that you think I can handle as a non-singer?” Burt sent me This Girl’s in Love With You, which he’d recorded with Dionne Warwick [that version was released as a single in 1969]. I loved the feeling of the song and changed the gender. Burt played piano and I did a rough vocal to see if my voice would fit. Burt and the musicians walked into the control room and said: “That’s it! Don’t touch what you just did.” So it was one take.

Did anyone in the Tijuana Brass come from Tijuana? Flashbleu
No, and I never listened to mariachi music. I heard a brass band playing at a bullfight in Tijuana – the music would soundtrack the different stages of the fight – and I got caught up in the sound. I started thinking about how I could express that afternoon with a song, and that’s how we started.

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