This is a real rise morning

HerbAlpertRotationOn 26 January, 1980, “Rotation” by Herb Alpert peaked at #30.

I feel kind of bad for radio DJs in the last weeks of 1979 and early weeks of 1980.  They had two Herb Alpert songs drifting around the top 40 — “Rotation” and “Rise” (which I covered a few entries back) — which means they must have had to play one or the other more or less every hour and a half or so.  That’s far too much Herb Alpert for normal people to be exposed to.

It’s not that Herb is particularly bad, it’s just that there’s only so much pointless noodling one can take.  His instrumentals don’t really get much of anywhere, and that’s particularly true of “Rotation”.  It’s an uninspiring credit-roll synthesizer rhythm backing track over which Herb plays a trumpet with no particular goal in mind and without a particularly interesting journey along the way.  Just aimless drifty blares that are about as nutritious to your ears as caramel is to your digestive system — pleasant but lacking in substance.


Herb Alpert RiseOn 12 January 1980, “Rise by Herb Alpert was at #94, its highest position in the 80s.  Its peak position was #1 in 1979. 

So, crazy random trivia about Herb Alpert.  He’s the A in A&M records!  Who knew?  Well… obviously he did, but you know what I mean.  He also did the theme song to the original Casino Royale, the first unofficial James Bond movie, and his wife, Lani Hall, performed the theme song to Never Say Never Again, the other unofficial James Bond movie.  He’s also the only artist to have hit number one on the Billboard charts with a vocal performance and an instrumental.  The vocal was “This Guy’s in Love with You” from 1968 and the instrumental is this entry’s topic, “Rise“.

How “Rise” got to be a hit is bizarre in of itself.  Lest you think I watch soap operas, I’ll tell you that this is what Wikipedia says:  “Rise” was the background music used on General Hospital when Luke Spencer raped Laura Webber.  Wait, you say, didn’t Luke marry Laura?!  Everyone knew that!  It was on the cover of People magazine!  Well, they got married later; when Luke raped Laura, he was drunk, and there was mob activity involved, and… well it’s complicated.  And sure it may not be the best of examples to have a daytime soap heroine marry her rapist, but at least he wasn’t Scorpio!  Now he was a cad!  Anyway, back to “Rise”:  this song was played repeatedly on General Hospital, whenever Laura was remembering the rape, so people got really used to hearing it, and it climbed up the charts, never mind that it was essentially a theme song for date rape.

Musically… eh, it’s pretty harmless.  As easy listening goes, it’s ok:  it’s not adventurous, but it’s not bad.