1965 (Los Angeles, CA)
Pop, Pop-rock, Soft rock, Adult contemporary, Folk-rock, Psychedelia, Bubblegum
Jules Alexander (b. Gary Alexander, September 25, 1943, Chattanooga, TN): vocals, guitar
Terry Kirkman (b. December 12, 1941, Salina, KS): vocals, brass, woodwinds
Russ Giguere (b. October 18, 1943, Portsmouth, NH): vocals, guitar
Jim Yester (b. November 24, 1939, Birmingham, AL): vocals, guitar, keyboards
Brian Cole (b. September 8, 1942, Tacoma, WA; d. August 2, 1972, Los Angeles, CA): vocals, bass
Larry Ramos (b. Hilario Ramos, Jr., April 12, 1942, Waimea, Kauai, HI): vocals, bass, guitar
Ted Bluechel, Jr. (b. December 2, 1942, San Pedro, CA): vocals, drums
Contributions to music:
- At the forefront of the folk movement's assimilation into California pop
- A multi-instrumentalist band that also performed six-part harmonies live on stage
- Experimented with psychedelic and protest music earlier than most pop groups
- Created a lush adult contemporary sound that still contained a hipster's edge
- Thought to have been one of the first bands to endorse marijuana on their hit "Along Comes Mary"
- One of pop's all-time most romantic groups
The Association began life as the thirteen-member (!) vocal group The Men, formed by Kirkman and Alexander as a response to what they saw as the timidity of large folk groups like The New Christy Minstrels. Keeping all those people on the same page proved to be difficult, and though they'd already become the house band at Los Angeles' influential Troubadour club, a heated argument led to six members walking out of the room. Originally planning to call themselves the Aristocrats, Kirkman's wife went to look the name up in a dictionary and instead came back with The Association, which seemed a better name.
A few ambitious singles flopped, but the b-side of a single called "Your Own Love" caught the ear of several deejays, and the song "Along Comes Mary" became a smash in 1966. Several followups scored, some written by the band, some not: "Cherish," one of their most popular original ballads, was garnering massive crowd support at the Minstrels' shows, but Kirkman refused to let anyone but his band cut it. At the same time, the group experimented with the burgeoning psychedelic and protest movements, but these singles sold considerably worse than the ballads and breezy sunshiny pop hits like "Windy."
As the Sixties progressed, the Association fell more and more out of favor with youth due to their AM radio sound and the fact that they didn't play their own instruments on those hit records (they were classically trained musicians, but their labels insisted on L.A.s famous Wrecking Crew of session men anyway). The death of founding member Brian Cole in 1973 was the final nail in the group's coffin, yet after a 1979 television special found them still in possession of the old magic, they began an Eighties touring comeback that continues -- in various forms, with various members -- today.
- Other members have included: Bob Page [b. May 13, 1943): vocals, guitar
- The group's 1968 hit "Windy" was composed by an outside writer about her freewheeling grandfather, and the lyrics changed
- The vocal tracks on the Association's early hits were recorded at completely different studios than the music, an almost unheard-of practice at the time
- The vocals on "Windy" were actually handled mainly by assorted people hanging around the studio, as the two leads had burned their voices out on multiple takes
- Jim Yester has played with versions of the Modern Folk Quartet, The Four Preps, and The Lovin' Spoonful
- Vocal Group Hall of Fame (2003)
Top 10 hits
- "Cherish" (1966)
- "Windy" (1967)
Top 10 albums
- "Along Comes Mary" (1966)
- "Never My Love" (1967)
- "Everything That Touches You" (1968)
Other notable recordings:
- And Then... Along Comes The Association (1966)
- Insight Out (1967)
- Greatest Hits (1969)
"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You," "One Too Many Mornings," "Enter The Young," "Forty Times," "Your Own Love," "Don't Blame It On Me," "I'll Be Your Man," "Remember," "You Hear Me Call Your Name," "Memories Of You," "Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies," "Looking Glass," "No Fair At All," "When Love Comes To Me," "Happiness Is," "Requiem For The Masses," "Barefoot Gentleman," "Time For Livin'," "Six Man Band," "Goodbye, Columbus," "Look At Me, Look At You," "Goodbye Forever," "Just The Right Sound," "What Were The Words," "Along The Way," "Names, Tags, Numbers And Labels"
David Cassidy, Bloodhound Gang, The Ventures, Booker T. & The MG's, Blue Suede, The 5th Dimension, Nina Simone, Acker Bilk, Andy Williams, Vonda Shepherd