Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

In 1962 while watching a bullfight in Tijuana, Mexico, Jewish trumpeter and A&M Records co-founder Herb Alpert was inspired to capture the excitement and mariachi horn section he experienced at the bullring. Adapting a song titled Twinkle Star, Alpert added trumpet and crowd noises and renamed it The Lonely Bull.

His interpretation of mariachi music, dubbed “Ameriachi,” on songs such as The Lonely Bull, A Taste of Honey and Spanish Flea became enormously popular and helped introduce mainstream audiences to Latin-influenced music. 

Originally, Alpert worked with session musicians, but he soon created a backing band, the Tijuana Brass, and Albert became the flagship artist for A&M Records. In 1966 he became the first and only artist to have five albums in the Top 10 of the Billboard  Pop Album chart at one time.

As the co-founder of A&M Records, Alpert signed and promoted several Latin artists, including the Baja Marimba Band, whose marimba player Julius Wechter was in the Tijuana Brass and wrote the hit Spanish Flea; Chris Montez, a Chicano rocker who had a hit with the mellow Call Me;  Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66, whose lead singer, Lani Hall, later married Alpert.

Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
The Bullfight