My Secret Life: Herb Alpert, musician, 75


My parents were ... pretty brave. My father was born in Russia. He came to New York alone, on a ship, around 1916, escaping the nasty things going on there. He couldn't speak a word of English, but little by little he built himself up. He met my mother, became a tailor, and over the years brought his entire family over to America to join him.

The house/flat I grew up in ... was in LA. I'm a native. I was born and raised here. I was here before the smog, when you could see all the way from the sea to the mountains.

When I was a child I wanted to be ... older.

If I could change one thing about myself ... I'd like to have my hair back. In its heyday, I was the pompadour kid.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... helping people. There are so many kids out there who think about doing something in the arts, but are afraid to take that step. So about 20 years ago, I set up a foundation to help them. It's done some great things.

You may not know it but I'm no good at ... dancing. I thought I was good, but then I met my wife. Then I realised that I got the rhythm, but I don't have the groove.

At night I dream of ... a world where we'd all get along together and be at peace.

What I see when I look in the mirror ... somebody who tries to be honest.

My favourite item of clothing ... probably my underwear. I like it to be nice and loose, to give the boys some freedom.

I wish I'd never worn ... I don't think in those terms. You can't go back.

It's not fashionable but I like... a good waffle.

I drive ... a BMW.

My house is ... in Malibu. I've always liked to live near the water.

My favourite building ... I really like the structure Frank Gehry did in Bilbao. Beautiful. Contemporary. Magic.

My favourite work of art ... When I was in Florence and I saw Michelangelo's statue of David for the first time, I thought: "That's what art's all about!" With my own sculptures (my exhibition 'Black Totems' is currently showing in Beverly Hills), I try to make art that appeals more to the soul than the eyes.

A book that changed me ... My friend Sir Ken Robinson wrote a book called 'The Element'. It nails it perfectly in terms of how we have to train people differently.

Movie heaven ... When I was a kid I saw 'Diabolique'. It still haunts me.

The last album I bought/downloaded ... I'm a jazz musician but I was classically trained, so I'm crazy about Ravel and Beethoven. With Beethoven, the last record I bought was his Seventh Symphony. With Ravel, it was 'Daphnis et Chloé'.

My secret crush ... was on my wife, before we got together. We've been married for 36 years.

My greatest regret ... when I owned A&M, I didn't sign The Beatles. It was 1962, and they were available. I just wasn't aware of them.

My real-life villain ... anybody who's nasty to people.

The person who really makes me laugh ... Richard Pryor.

The last time I cried ... was when I watched the TV programme 'So You Think You Can Dance?' There are things that just touch me about the kids and the hard work they put in.

My five-year plan ... To be still breathing.

What's the point? There is no masterplan. You make your own way.

My life in six words ... I'm a guy who spends 85 per cent of my time on the right side of the brain. It works for me. Is that six words?

A life in brief

Herb Alpert was born in Los Angeles in 1935. He began playing the trumpet aged eight, and achieved fame in the 1960s with the Latin band Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, which sold over 50m records. In 1962, he co-founded A&M records with Jerry Moss. After selling it to Polygram in 1990 he created the Herb Alpert Foundation, which gives $10-$20 million a year to good causes. He will be featured on BBC4's 'Legends' on 17 September

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map