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Music Friday: Trumpeter Herb Alpert Teams Up With Janet Jackson in 1987’s ‘Diamonds’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you memorable songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Back in 1987, legendary jazz trumpeter Herb Alpert reinvigorated his career and climbed back to the top of the charts by collaborating with a 21-year-old Janet Jackson on a song called “Diamonds.”

Borrowing from “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” — the song famously performed by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes — the Alpert/Jackson tune delivers the clear message that when a guy is serious about a girl, he needs to give her a tangible reminder of how much he cares. Specifically, Jackson wants something she can see — something on her finger that “shines so brightly.”

Jackson sings, “Don’t you know / Diamonds are a girl’s best / Best friend / When you go / They stay with me until the end.”

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass had been one of the most successful acts of the 1960s, but faded from view by the end of the 1970s. With the 1987 release of his album Keep Your Eye on Me and the accompanying music video for “Diamonds,” the 52-year-old Alpert was back in the spotlight.

The video takes place at “Bucky’s” nightclub, where the DJ is spinning “Diamonds” for an excited crowd and Alpert — trumpet in hand — gets into the act by playing live.

“Diamonds” charted in nine countries, including a #5 spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and a #4 position on the Canadian Singles chart. Jackson performed the song during her 2011 tour, “Number Ones: Up Close and Personal.”

Born in Los Angeles in 1935, Alpert began trumpet lessons at the age of eight. After graduating high school in 1952, he joined the U.S. Army and played the trumpet at military ceremonies. While attending the University of Southern California in the mid-1950s, he was a member of the USC Trojan Marching Band.

In 1957, Alpert decided to pursue a career in music. He set up a recording studio in his garage and adopted a trumpet style inspired by the mariachi bands of Tijuana, Mexico.

The artist and his band, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, are credited with 14 Top 40 singles, 14 platinum albums and more than 72 million records sold. Alpert has won nine Grammy awards and is the only artist to have a #1 instrumental and a #1 vocal single. He is also the co-founder of A&M Records.

Please check out Alpert doing what he does best in the “Diamonds” music video. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Diamonds”
Written by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Performed by Herb Alpert, featuring Janet Jackson and Lisa Keith.

You told me you love me
You told me you care

But when I’m around you
It’s like I’m not there
I need a reminder
Something I can see

Something on my finger shines so brightly

Don’t you know
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

When you go
They stay with me until the end

Don’t you know
Diamonds are a girl’s best
Best friend

When you go
They stay with me until the end

Don’t want your money
Don’t want your key
Diamonds – love don’t come for free

Don’t want your money
Don’t want your key
Diamonds – love don’t come for free

They say you need some roses
But roses do die

You gave me some candy
It melted
Nice try
I’m not that demanding
I have simple taste
I just want a token that can’t go to waste – Diamonds

Don’t want your money
Don’t want your key
Diamonds – love don’t come for free

Don’t want your money
Don’t want your key
Diamonds – love don’t come for free

Don’t you know
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

When you go
They stay with me until the end

Don’t you know
Diamonds are a girl’s best
​​​​​​​Best friend

When you go
They stay with me until the end

Don’t want your money
Don’t want your key
Diamonds – love don’t come for free

Don’t want your money
Don’t want your key
Diamonds – love don’t come for free

Don’t want your money
Don’t want your key
Diamonds – love don’t come for free

Credit: Image by General Artists Corporation (GAC)/A&M Records (management and record companies) / Public domain.

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