In the late 50s and early 60s, Herb Alpert, an American jazz musician of Jewish descent, was tired of recording unsuccessful singles for record labels that went out of business frequently. In the early 60s, he attended a bullfight in Tijuana (Mexico). Deeply influenced by the experience, he added he added bullfight sound effects to a song he had earlier been overdubbing on, called ‘Twinkle Lake’. The song was written by his friend Solomon Lachoff aka Sol Lake.
To release his new creation, and to avoid the mistake of his earlier releases, Alpert and his partner Jerry Moss formed a record label called Carnival Records. When they discovered that the name was already taken, they used the initials of their last names and formed A&M records. Recorded in Alpert’s garage on a shoestring budget, the song, now called ‘The Lonely Bull’, went on to become a Billboard Top 10 hit, peaking at #6 on the charts in 1962.
The success of The Lonely Bull spawned many cover versions. There was a French lyrical version, sung by Petula Clark, called ‘Le soleil dans les yeux’, in 1963.
Famous instrumental bands like The Venturers and The Shadows covered it, in 1963 and 1964, respectively.
Fellow American Trumpeter Harry James covered it in 1965.
The tune is so iconic that it been used in the background score for director Cameron Crowe’s Tom Cruise starrer Jerry Maguire, as well as director Ridley Scott’s Matchstick Men, with music by Hans Zimmer.
If a song is so popular, with so many cover versions, can India be left behind? Of course not. R.D. Burman gets the dubious distinction of being the only person in this list to cover ‘The Lonely Bull’ without any permission or royalty whatsoever. As you might have already guessed by the tune by now, the Hindi song is, ‘Kahin Karti Hogi’, from the 1974 film, Phir Kab Milogi, directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, starring Dilip Kumar, Biswajeet and Mala Sinha. The song was sung by Mukesh, and lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri.
It’s a typically skillful cover by Pancham, who evens out the original melody beautifully, in his unique flavor. How does this unauthorized cover version affect the original, besides the fact that it is plagiarised? This is how – when the Indipop singer Anamika, who was very popular in the 90s, created a pop remix version of R.D.Burman’s Hindi song, ‘Kahin Karta Hoga Woh Mera Intezaar’, it was wildly popular on the musical TV channels of the day.
For most Indians, it was merely a cover of R.D.Burman’s ‘original’ Hindi song, and even Anamika credited only R.D.Burman for the song!!