This Guy’s in Love With You

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See also the previously published Songbook page

Herb Alpert and first wife Sharon Mae Lubin, c. 1968

This Guy’s in Love With You (m. Burt Bacharach, w. Hal David)

From the History section of the Wikipedia page on “This Guy’s in Love With You”:

As documented in a Biography cable [television] episode featuring Bacharach, the recording originated when [Herb] Alpert asked Bacharach, “Say, Burt, do you happen to have any old compositions lying around that you and Hal never recorded; maybe one I might use?” Alpert said he made it his practice to ask songwriters that particular question; often a lost “pearl” was revealed. As it happened, Bacharach recalled one, found the lyrics and score sheet, and offered it to Alpert: “Here, Herb … you might like this one.”

Alpert saw the possibilities in it for himself. The composition had a recognizable Bacharach-David feel, a spot for a signature horn solo in the bridge and in the fadeout, and it was an easy song to sing within Alpert’s vocal range. He originally sang “This Guy’s in Love with You” on a 1968 television special, The Beat of the Brass.

A brief description of the song’s genesis given by Burt Bacharach, however, differs markedly from the story reportedly told by Alpert in the aforementioned Biography episode. Referring to the Herb Alpert special and the request for the song, Bacharach, in an interview conducted by Ken Sharp and published at popentertainment.com on 24 July 2006, said:

It was a television show. Herb was very hot and his band, The Tijuana Brass was very hot. I was signed to A&M as an artist. There were great guys running the record company, Herb and Jerry (Moss). They asked me to do it, to write a song with Hal David, come in and write the arrangement and conduct the orchestra. I did it as a favor.

The composer says nothing about digging into his chest of unused manuscripts to magically pick out a neglected gem. He specifically says that the song was written in response to a request by the heads of A&M, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss.

Hal David’s recollection of the song’s creation, on the other hand, while not explicitly confirming the version of events provided by Alpert, is at least compatible with it. According to Songfacts.com, in the book Bacharach by Michael Brocken (full title Bacharach: Maestro! The Life of a Pop Genius, published in 2003), David is quoted saying:

He wanted to do our song on a TV special he was doing. It was a song he was going to sing to his wife, and the lyric was not quite appropriate for what he wanted to say. He asked us whether we could change it so it would fit what he needed. And I did; and he did it on the show and got a terrific reaction and recorded it. And it turned out to be a stunning hit!

Herb Alpert and Burt Bacharach (1)

Wikipedia says,

[Herb Alpert] originally sang “This Guy’s in Love with You” on a 1968 television special, The Beat of the Brass. In response to numerous viewer telephone calls following the broadcast, Alpert decided that the song should be released as a single recording, and it reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart in June of that year, remaining in the top position for four weeks.

Songfacts agrees partially with the Wikipedia article, but adds questionable details, saying:

Alpert sang this to his first wife in a 1968 TV special called The Beat of the Brass. The sequence was taped on the beach in Malibu. The song was not intended to be released, but after it was used in the TV special, thousands of telephone calls to CBS asking about it convinced label owner Alpert to release it as a single two days after the show aired.

The Songfacts description is factually inaccurate on at least two points:

1. In the The Beat of the Brass segment, Alpert is shown singing to his wife only during the first minute and a quarter of the song sequence, from about 0:37 to 1:14, and not at all in its final 3 minutes. The parts of the sequence filmed on the beach don’t appear until over 3 minutes into the song. Earlier parts may have been filmed in Malibu Creek State Park or in one of the numerous other scenic parks in the Santa Monica Mountains, but they weren’t shot on or near a beach.

2. The single was probably not released “two days” after the show aired. According to IMDb, the airdate of the TV special was 22 April 1968. The single was issued in May, according to 45cat.com, and a list of hit recordings of Bacharach songs at BacharachOnline.com indicates that it debuted on the Billboard chart on 18 May 1968 (though a note on the 45cat.com page on the single reads “BB May 11, 1968”).

Herb Alpert provides an interesting detail regarding a modification he made to the Bacharach arrangement in a recent interview conducted by Marc Myers, and published under the title “Herb Alpert Readies New Album” in the Arena section of the Wall Street Journal, dated “updated September 23, 2014.” The exchange:

Myers: In 1968, you recorded “This Guy’s In Love With You.” Why did it work?

Alpert: You have to start with a great song. I asked Burt Bacharach, a friend, if he and Hal David had a song for me. He gave me this one and wrote the orchestral arrangement. He was even in the studio when I recorded it. I wanted this two-second pause between my vocal and my trumpet solo. Burt said, “Oh, man, you can’t do that. Take it out.” I thought it felt good and wanted to keep it. Burt didn’t think the gap was radio-wise. I thought a pause would be a dramatic and sensitive way to segue from the vocal to the horn. Actually, my vocal on the record was supposed to be the demo, just to see if it was in the right key. But when we listened to the playback, the musicians said, “Don’t touch it.” I agreed. 

Herb Alpert — from the Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass TV special The Beat of the Brass, which aired on 22 April 1968

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1968 This Guy's in Love With You-Herb Alpert-A&M 929 (1)-d20-hx15

Herb Alpert   single issued in May 1968 on A&M 929, b/w “A Quiet Tear (Lagrima Quieta)” — The performance of the music on the B-side is credited to Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, but Alpert is the lone credited performer on the A-side.

BacharachOnline.com’s list of Bacharach hit recordings indicates that the single entered the Hot 100 chart on 18 May 1968. It rose to #1 on the week of 22 June 1968 and remained atop the chart for four consecutive weeks. The recording was also included as a track on the band’s 1968 album The Beat of the Brass, released in the same month as the single.

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From the 1969 television special The Brass Are Comin’ Alpert sits among selected audience members, all quite young, and serenades a rather embarrassed teenage girl

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Selected interpretations

See also the previously published Songbook page:

Willie Bobo — from his 1968 LP A New Dimension, Verve Records V6-8772

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1968 I Pretend (LP) Des O'Connor, Columbia (UK) SCX 6295

Des O’Connor — from his 1968 LP I Pretend, Columbia ‎(UK) SCX 6295

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Sammy Davis, Jr.  — live performance for an episode of the BBC TV early evening chat show Dee Time, 1968

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Jimmy Smith — from the 1969 LP The Boss, MGM SVLP 9247 and Verve VLP 9247; recorded in 1968 at Paschal’s La Carousel, Atlanta, GA

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Barney Kessel — recorded on 13 February 1969, and issued on the 1969 LP Feeling Free, Contemporary Records ‎S7618 — The duration of the track listed back of an album cover on display at Discogs, 4:13, is incorrect. It’s actually a little over 5 minutes long, although the time listed at AllMusic (5:14) seems a bit high.

Barney Kessel (guitar)
Bobby Hutcherson (vibraphone)
Chuck Domanico (bass)
Elvin Jones (drums)

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1969 Rain Drops Keep Fallin' On My Head (LP) B.J. Thomas, Scepter 580, gatefold inside cover

B.J. Thomas — from his album Rain Drops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, Scepter Records ‎SPS 580 (and SPS-580), released on 14 October 1969

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Burt Bacharach — originally released on the 1969 A&M Records album Make It Easy On Yourself — album arranged and conducted by Burt Bacharach, and produced by Bacharach and Phil Ramone

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Tony Joe White 2a1969 Continued-Tony Joe White

Tony Joe White — recorded c. 1969; released on the 2006 box set compilation Swamp Music: The Complete Monument Recordings, Rhino Handmade RHM2 7731, where it is included among a dozen previously unreleased tracks on the …Continued disc (disc 2), suggesting that it was recorded around the time of or during sessions for the 1969 album of this title

Video created and published by Paulo Sílvio

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1969 Georgie Does His Thing With Strings (LP) - Georgie Fame, CBS (UK) S 63650

Georgie Fame — originally released on the 1969 album Georgie Does His Thing With Strings, CBS (UK) S 63650

This is my nominee for the worst of the pre-Gallagher recordings of the song. Only the tone-deaf will find it difficult to understand why.

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Larry Goldings — from the 2002 album Sweet Science, Palmetto Records

Larry Goldings – organ
Peter Bernstein – guitar
Bill Stewart – drums

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Malcolm Griffith — from his 2003 album Come Love With Me, (US, Canada) Jazz Cottage ‎825848195820

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Doctor Bombay (Stephen Teller) — electronic pop version, uploaded on 21 July 2006

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Sui Zhen — guitar and vocal — uploaded on 25 January 2012

Becky Sui Zhen links:

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These New Puritans — opening track on the 2013 album Field of Reeds, Infectious Music INFECT156CD

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Tyrone Davis and Sebastian Goldberg —  published on 24 September 2013

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Psalmo Koro Group — live studio recording, 22 February 2014, Auckland, New Zealand

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Selected links

song history and discography

Herb Alpert TV special, single, album:

biography:

lyric:

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ReBrodzky
    Feb 27, 2015 @ 06:23:15

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    Reply

  2. doc
    Nov 04, 2017 @ 15:52:03

    Thanks, ReBrodzky!
    (he says, hoping that they don’t notice that he’s more than 32 months late in responding).

    Reply

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