ise" was the first Herb Alpert single to appear on the Billboard Hot 100 in over five years. After 17 instrumental chart entries with the Tijuana Brass, he recorded "This Guy's in Love With You," a vocal effort that went to number one in 1968. His singing career was purposefully short, and he continued to chart with the Tijuana Brass until 1974. When he returned to the pop chart, he had a family member and television's most popular daytime drama to thank.
Herb's cousin Randy "Badazz" Alpert suggested that his uncle re-record his Tijuana Brass hits disco style, but Herb resisted, not keen on altering 17-year-old songs that had become pop standards. When the 3M Company loaned A&M records a 32-track digital machine to experiment with, Herb finally agreed to go into the studio with Randy and try the idea.
The musicians were already booked for three more sessions, so Herb told Randy they should try some other material. Randy gave his uncle a tape of songs he had written with a friend, Andy Armer, and Herb immediately liked one called "Rise." It was also a dance song, but Herb decided to slow it down from the standard 128 beats per minute to about 100 bpm, so "People could dance and hug each other at the end of the night."
The song was recorded live in A&M's Studio D. After the third take Alpert had goosebumps, and he leaned over to Randy and predicted, "I think we have a number one record."
Handclaps and another guitar were added to the final take and the song was released.
"Rise" debuted on the Hot 100 at number 83 on July 28, 1979, and rose slowly for the first three weeks. Then Jill Phelps, music director for ABC's number one daytime program, General Hospital, decided to use "Rise" as the theme music to illustrate one of the series' most dramatic storylines -- the rape of Laurie (Genie Francis) by Luke (Anthony Geary).
"Tony was very musical," says Phelps, who went on to become the producer of NBC's Santa Barbara. "It was his idea to use 'Rise' for the rape scene. It was a suggestion he made walking up the stairs -- he said, 'Hey, you ought to listen to Herb Alpert's 'Rise.'' It had a very guttural, sensual beat... it was a wonderful thought."
The song was heard several times a week. "Every time Laura thought of the terrible rape by Luke it was played to evoke that memory," Phelps says. "Consequently, we used constantly for a while. Then we turned the story around so that he was no longer the rapist and it became a whole other kind of love story, and that was no longer an appropriate piece of music."
The airplay on General Hospital helped the song rise even faster. Alpert succeeded Michael Jackson ("Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough") at number one on October 20.
In England, where 12" singles are normally recorded at 45 rpm, British disc jockeys in dance clubs failed to notice the imported American 12" pressings were recorded at 33 rpm, and played "Rise" at the wrong speed, making it sound much faster than even Randy had originally intended. As it was an instrumental there were no clues to suggest they were wrong and "Rise" became a United Kingdom hit in its speeded-up version.
- Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Billboard, 1988.
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