23 Facts About Al Hirt


Alois Maxwell "Al" Hirt was an American trumpeter and bandleader.


Al Hirt is best remembered for his million-selling recordings of "Java" and the accompanying album Honey in the Horn, and for the theme music to The Green Hornet.


Al Hirt's nicknames included "Jumbo" and "The Round Mound of Sound".


Al Hirt received 21 Grammy nominations during his lifetime, including winning the Grammy award in 1964 for his version of "Java".


Al Hirt was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of a police officer.


Al Hirt played in the Junior Police Band with friend Roy Fernandez, the son of Alcide Nunez; by the age of 16, Hirt was playing professionally, often with his friend Pete Fountain, while attending Jesuit High School.


In 1940, Al Hirt went to Cincinnati, Ohio, to study at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music with Dr Frank Simon.


In 1950, Al Hirt became first trumpet and featured soloist with Horace Heidt's Orchestra.


Al Hirt posted twenty-two albums on the Billboard charts in the 1950s and 1960s.


The albums Honey in the Horn and Cotton Candy were both in the Top 10 best sellers for 1964, the same year Al Hirt scored a hit single with his cover of Allen Toussaint's tune "Java", and later won a Grammy Award for the same recording.


Al Hirt was chosen to record the frenetic theme for the 1960s TV show The Green Hornet, by famed arranger and composer Billy May Based on Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee from his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan, it showcased Al Hirt's technical prowess.


Al Hirt opened his own club on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, which he owned from 1962 to 1983.


Al Hirt became a minority owner in the NFL expansion New Orleans Saints in 1967.


In 1962, in an effort to showcase him in a different musical setting, Al Hirt was teamed with arranger and composer Billy May and RCA Victor producer Steve Sholes to record an album titled Horn A Plenty that was a departure from the Dixieland material that he was generally associated with.


Al Hirt appeared opposite Troy Donahue and Suzanne Pleshette in the 1962 motion picture, Rome Adventure.


In 1965, Al Hirt hosted the hour-long television variety series Fanfare, which aired Saturday nights on CBS as the summer replacement for Jackie Gleason and the American Scene Magazine.


Al Hirt starred along with marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling State University at the first Super Bowl halftime show in 1967.


On February 8,1970, while performing in a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, Al Hirt was injured while riding on a float.


Whatever the actual cause of his injuries, Al Hirt underwent surgery and made a return to the club scene.


In 1987, Al Hirt played a solo rendition of "Ave Maria" for Pope John Paul II's visit to New Orleans.


Al Hirt is referred to in the 1987 film Good Morning, Vietnam, in a broadcast made by Lieutenant Hauk.


Al Hirt died of liver failure at the age of 76, after having spent the previous year in a wheelchair due to edema in his leg.


Al Hirt was survived by his wife, Beverly Essel Hirt, and eight children from a previous marriage.