Arts + Culture

UCLA Library Acquires A&M Records Collection


TheUCLA Library has acquired the A&M Records Collection, donated by company co‑foundersHerb Alpert and Jerry Moss. Founded in 1962 in Los Angeles, A&M becameAmerica's largest independent record company. The collection includes soundrecordings, manuscript musical arrangements, photographs, correspondence,promotional materials, posters, gold albums, awards, books and ephemera fromthe company's founding in 1962 through its sale to Polygramin 1989.

"A&Mis a legendary company, and we are deeply honored that Herb and Jerry havechosen to give this collection to the UCLA Library," said University LibrarianGary E. Strong. "These materials providea unique insight into the Southern California music scene and will form aninvaluable resource for students and scholars researching the creation andbusiness of popular music."

Thematerials are housed in the Music Library Special Collections. Alpert and Mosshave also made possible the organization and preservation of the collection,the digitization of portions of it, and the creation of an online finding aid,or inventory. In addition, the library's Oral History Program plans to conductinterviews with Alpert and Moss as part of its series on popular music in LosAngeles.

"As music scholarship broadens its scope toinclude popular music of the 20th century, collections like these representmusic history in the making. Alpert and Moss were at the center of importanttrends in music and entertainment, as well as pivotal figures on the LosAngeles music scene during a period of explosive growth," said Robert Fink,associate professor in the department of musicology. "In the old days amusicologist might spend years studying handwritten pay records, hoping for aninsight into the way things worked at a provincial German court chapel; if weever want to have the same level of understanding about the music‑makinggoing on right under our noses, this is the place to start."

Both Alpert andMoss were born in 1935, Alpert in Los Angeles and Moss in New York City. The twomet in the early 1960s, when Alpert was writing and recording songs and Mosswas an independent record promoter.

Their socialacquaintance quickly became a partnership when in 1962 the two formed CarnivalRecords, based in Alpert's garage. With contributions of $100 from each man,the company released the single "Tell It to the Birds." After discovering laterthat year that the Carnival name was already in use, Alpert and Moss createdthe company's new name from the initials of their last names.

A&M Records'first release, the single "The Lonely Bull" by Herb Alpert and the TijuanaBrass, came out in August 1962. It reached No. 6 on the Billboard charts andsold some 700,000 copies, setting the tone for the band's and the company'ssuccess.

Other best-sellingTijuana Brass albums followed, including "Whipped Cream and Other Delights" and"What Now, My Love." Led by the success of the Tijuana Brass, A&M revenuetopped $50 million by 1968; by the end of the decade, the group had sold some45 million albums and had been outsold only by the Beatles and Elvis Presley.

From itsfounding, A&M worked with recording artists other than the Tijuana Brass,and its roster featured many of the top pop and rock acts from the 1960s, '70sand '80s. Among those represented in the collection are Bryan Adams, Burt Bacharach, the Baja Marimba Band, the Captain and Tennille,the Carpenters, Cheech and Chong,Joe Cocker, Peter Frampton, LaniHall, Janet Jackson, Joe Jackson, Sergio Mendes and Brasil'66, the Neville Brothers, Jeffrey Osborne, the Police, Squeeze, Cat Stevens,Sting, Styx, Supertramp and the Tubes.

Another focus ofthe company's attention was on jazz. Represented in the collection are a numberof jazz composers and performers, including ChetBaker, Gato Barbieri, StanGetz, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Quincy Jones and PaulWinter.

Even thecompany's home was legendary. In 1966, Alpert and Moss purchased the formerCharlie Chaplin Studios, built by Chaplin in 1917, from CBS. Named as anhistoric cultural monument by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board in 1969,the complex still contains the sound stage where Chaplin made all of hisclassic silent films. The collection includes photographs, drawings andarticles related to the facility.

Selectionsfrom the collection have been digitized and can be viewed online at

The MusicLibrary's Special Collections include rare books and scores, manuscripts,archives and the Archive of Popular American Music. Important holdings include18th-century opera scores and librettos, collections of ballads and songs ofthe British Isles, film and television music archives and music manuscripts,and archives of Southern California composers including the Ernst Toch Archive and the Eric ZeislArchive.

The A&MCollection complements the library's extensive holdings documenting the historyof music and the music industry in Southern California. These include jazzcollections, such as those that document the Central Avenue jazz scene; popularmusic archives such as those of Jimmy Van Heusen,Jimmy Durante and Carole Burnett; and film andtelevision music collections such as those of Henry Mancini, Alex North and CBSInc.



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