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.