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Julius Wechter
Julius Wechter
 Lung CancerFeb. 1st 1999
Age 63
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Julius Wechter 

          LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Julius Wechter, a marimba player with Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass who composed ``Spanish Flea,'' died Monday of lung cancer. He was 63.  

          ``Spanish Flea'' was recorded by Alpert and more than 60 others. It was used as the theme for television's ``The Dating Game'' and has been heard on everything from commercials to the soundtrack of ``Beverly Hills Cop II'' to a recent episode of the TV series ``The Simpsons.''  

          Wechter's musical career began at age 5 when he started playing piano. He played with small bands during college, he went on to play marimba for Martin Denny in Hawaii for four years.  

          Wechter returned to Los Angeles to do studio work with such performers as the Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher and the Righteous Brothers. That work led to a spot in Alpert's band.  

          At Alpert's urging, Wechter formed the Baja Marimba Band, whose trademark song was ``Comin' in the Back Door.'' The nine-person group recorded 18 albums in five years.  

 

 
JULIUS WECHTER
1935-1999 

            For me, Julius Wechter was the epitomy of "good time music."  I 
            certainly had a lot of fun growing up listening to those often zany 
            recordings of the Baja Marimba Band. And yet beneath the bushy 
            moustache and sombrero, and whoops and hollers, was the hard 
            working and dedicated musician and composer that we all grew to 
            admire since he first put his touch to Herb Alpert's "The Lonely Bull" 
            single way back in 1962. We were very fortunate to have Julius visit 
            us here at A&M Corner a couple of times in the summer of 1998, 
            ironically, when I was on vacation in California.  I feel especially 
            touched that Julius would eventually find our little Corner here, and 
            would get a lot of joy from seeing that there is still a lot of interest 
            in his music by music lovers all over the world. 

            And as sad as we are that Julius left us, he did get the last laugh, 
            and took the secret of the "album cover hombré," the identity of that 
            infamous Baja who would turn from the camera to take care of 
            business while the rest of the band dutifully posed for their next 
            album cover photo, with him. And his good humor carried over into 
            his music. I can't listen to a song like "For Animals Only" without 
            getting a silly grin on my face. This kind of fun is infectious, and 
            Julius did it best. 

             
            Neil Rudish, chief cook and busboy of A&M Corner

 
 
 NY TIMES
 
       
 

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