Saturday, July 11, 2009

Herb Alpert's other delight

He was a horn player, not a vocalist, but that didn't seem to matter. The timing was right for Herb Alpert when his single "This Guy's In Love With You'' entered the Billboard chart on May 18, 1968.

Everything was clicking. He had charted with 17 instrumental songs, starting with "The Lonely Bull'' in 1962. His 1965 album Whipped Cream & Other Delights had sold more than 6 million copies, and its cover instantly became a yummy classic. He had his own record label, A&M (founded with business partner Jerry Moss), and a hot band, the Tijuana Brass.

One of the world's most popular trumpet players certainly didn't need a vocal arrangement at this stage of his career. But he got one anyway, from a couple of guys named Burt Bacharach and Hal David. And "This Guy's In Love With You'' became one of those magical songs that hit the mainstream and soared to the top.

The song became the first No. 1 single for Alpert, for Bacharach-David and for A&M Records, which would add credibility with its growing stable of artists, including Joe Cocker, Cat Stevens and Procol Harum. Another worthy achievement: The song kept Richard Harris' "MacArthur Park'' from ever reaching the summit.

Here was the Billboard Top 5 on this date in 1968:

1. This Guy's In Love With You, Herb Alpert
2. MacArthur Park, Richard Harris
3. Mrs. Robinson, Simon & Garfunkel
4. Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, Ohio Express
5. The Look of Love, Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66

As for the Whipped Cream album cover, it didn't really ruin anything to learn later that the model, Delores Erickson, was pregnant at the time of the photo shoot. Or that the substance slathered over her body was shaving cream (except for the dollop on her head). Whipped cream, shaving cream, creme brule, who cares when you have a look like that.

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