Monday, March 7, 2016

"Garden Party" by Herb Alpert

Song#:  1573
Date:  08/20/1983
Debut:  88
Peak:  81
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary, Instrumental

Pop Bits:  Alpert's previous album Fandango contained the single "Route 101," which returned him to the Pop Top 40 for the first time in four years (#4 AC). For his follow-up, Alpert didn't change his formula too much and even tried to modern things up a bit by enlisting the great Holland-Dozier-Holland team to write and produce a couple of tracks. But first out of the gate was this instrumental single. The tune found some traction at AC where it reached #14, but Pop lost interest quickly and the song fell off the chart after a short month.

ReduxReview:  I guess this is kind of catchy in a dentist office-Muzak kind of way, but it's not very exciting or memorable. The droopy tempo may have something to do with it (see below). I'm not sure why Alpert thought this would be a good single, especially in this 80s time period. By this time, Alpert probably wasn't all that interested in selling to the kids and was relying on his older, built-in audience for support. I'm sure it was enough to keep concert seats filled and his name kickin' around (and I'm sure it was convenient that he owned his label - A&M). He'd keep floating around like this for another couple albums before hitting the mainstream again with a major 80s pop/R&B star.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of an original song done by the Icelandic jazz-fusion band Mezzoforte. Formed in 1978, the group would unexpectedly score a #17 hit in the UK with this song near the beginning of 1983. Although the song would not be issued in the US, the single did find its way into the hands of Alpert who chose to record it for his new album. Oddly, the story goes that Alpert was learning to play the song via the 45 rpm single. What he didn't realize was that he had the record player on the wrong setting and it was playing at 33 rpms. Apparently, he must have liked that speed because even after discovering the error, he pretty much stuck to the slower tempo for his version. The Mezzoforte original is far more upbeat.

Note:  There must be some copyright issues with this song as it is greyed out on Spotify and the YouTube video versions are deleted. However, I did find it available to listen to on The Music Hutch. Their embed didn't work here, but you can either go to their site and search for the song or click here to be taken to the page.


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