The Association is a highly acclaimed and veteran sunshine pop/folk rock group with distinctive close knit harmonies that became famous during the late 1960s. They are best known for such era-defining classics as the enigmatic and catchy "Along Comes Mary" (1966), the heartfelt "Cherish" (1966), the trippy and playful "Windy" (1967), and the hauntingly romantic "Never My Love" (1967).
Formed in Southern California in 1965, the original sextet consisted of Jules Alexander (lead guitar), Ted Bluechel, Jr. (drums, rhythm guitar, bass), Russ Giguere (rhythm guitar, percussion), Terry Kirkman (woodwinds, percussion), Jim Yester (rhythm guitar, keyboards), and bassist Brian Cole (September 8, 1942 - August 2, 1972) who also played woodwinds. Yester was briefly preceded by Bob Page who was with the group for only a few months in early 1965. All members shared vocals, with different members providing the lead on different songs. Larry Ramos, Jr. (April 19, 1942 - April 30, 2014) joined in 1967, replacing Alexander who then returned in late 1968, making the group a septet. The Association released its first recordings in 1965 on Jubilee before moving to Valiant Records (later sold to Warner Bros.). The Association was the opening act at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival at the height of the group's fame.
The Association debuted on the Pop/Rock charts in 1966 with the Tandyn Almer-penned "Along Comes Mary," a song then rumored to be about marijuana that became a Top 10 hit and the first of several AM radio staples by the group. This smash was followed by "Cherish" (1966), a lush romantic ballad written by group member Terry Kirkman which topped the charts in both Canada and the U.S. and soon after went gold. A longtime wedding standard, this oldies classic is considered to be among the 20th Century's most played songs by BMI. The Association had a second #1 hit in 1967 in both Canada and the U.S. with the Ruthann Friedman-penned "Windy," which also went gold along with the group's rendition of "Never My Love," a pop standard written by Don and Dick Addrisi which reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 later that year.
The Association's long string of hits, which continued through 1973 on both the Adult Contemporary and Pop/Rock charts, also includes "Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies" (1966), "No Fair At All" (1967), "Requiem For The Masses" (1967), "Everything That Touches You" (1968), "Time For Livin'" (1968), "Six Man Band" (1968), the Jim Yester-penned "Goodbye, Columbus" (1969, title song from the movie co-starring Richard Benjamin and Ali MacGraw), and "Names, Tags, Numbers & Labels" (1973). In addition to the title theme to "Goodbye, Columbus," two other songs from the movie's soundtrack were also written and performed by members of The Association: "It's Gotta Be Real" (Larry Ramos) and "So Kind To Me" (Terry Kirkman). The Association had one final hit in 1981 with "Dreamer," which made the Adult Contemporary Top 20.
Over its long history, The Association had many personnel changes both before and after its brief split in 1978 and subsequent reformation the following year with all surviving original members plus Larry Ramos and other key early members. The group has continued to perform actively to the present day as part of the "Happy Together" tour and other oldies package events. The Association was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Pop Music Hall of Fame in 2016. The current lineup is a sextet that includes two original members - Jules Alexander and Jim Yester - along with newer members Jordan Cole (keyboards, rhythm guitar), Paul Holland (rhythm and lead guitar, vocals), Bruce Pictor (drums, vocals), and Del Ramos (bass, vocals).
- For more info about The Association and the band's current projects, visit the group's official website at theassociationwebsite.com.
- The Music's Over remembers original bassist Brian Cole of The Association.
- Ultimate Classic Rock remembers singer and guitarist Larry Ramos of The Association.
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- Along Comes Mary 1966
(This song later also became a hit for the Baja Marimba Band (1967).)
- Cherish 1966
(This song topped the charts and later also became a hit for David Cassidy (1971).)
- Everything That Touches You 1968
- Never My Love 1967
(This song, which was written by the Addrisi Brothers, later also became a hit for the Sandpebbles (1968), the 5th Dimension (1971), Blue Swede (1974), and the Addrisi Brothers (1977).)
- Time For Livin' 1968
- Windy 1967
(This song topped the charts in 1967 and also became a hit that same year for Wes Montgomery.)
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