Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Slick”: Musical Athletics as Envisioned by Herb Alpert

Herb Alpert demonstrates music’s connection with athletics in this playfully surreal video for “Slick” by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, from ‘Beat of the Brass’ – Alpert’s 1968 television special:

“Slick” by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (1968)

Filmed at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles

There’s a comically dangerous moment (or is it dangerously comic?) around the 2:09 mark when Herb Alpert has to duck swiftly to avoid getting beaned by a line drive.

PBS’s American Experience explains the concept for “Beat of the Brass:

CBS produced several television specials featuring Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, each one a ratings success.  The Beat of the Brass, which aired in April of 1968, was the most ambitious:  it showed the band in a range of locales, including New Orleans and Ellis Island, and received gobs of advance coverage in the entertainment press.

In an article entitled “2nd TV Special Climaxes Albert Month at A&M,” Record World reported in its April 20, 1968 issue that the first television special Singer Presents Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass “garnered the highest Nielsen ratings of any hour special in the history of television, label reports, and the encore showing landed in the list of the 12 top-rated shows of the week.”  The article also notes that “nine albums later, they could be the top audio-visual unit in the nation” and that “every Alpert album has made more than a million dollars.”

“Slick” can be found on 1968’s Beat of the Brass album (the group’s twelfth, I believe), as well as the B-side for “Cabaret.” 

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