Synopsis of Pop Music
“Cherish is the word I use to describe,
All the feeling that I have hiding here for you inside…”
Few artists forged a sound as uniquely smooth as that of The Association. This band built a rich, silky sound around their vocal harmonies that infused a series of memorable hits in the late 60’s. Their sound bridged the gap between easy-listening and psychedelia and was the kind of music that could be enjoyed by people of all ages.
The Association’s roots lie in the friendship of keyboardist Terry Kirkman and singer/guitarist Jules Alexander, two members of the Los Angeles music scene. They formed a six-man unit in 1965 that also included Russ Giguere, Ted Bleuchel, Brian Cole and Jim Yester. Their soon-to-be band name came from a dictionary flip-through by Kirkham's wife. The newly-named Association rehearsed intensively for six months before going public in 1965.
The Association scored their first hit in 1966 with “Along Comes Mary,” an uptempo song that defined the band’s sound by weaving folk, pop, classical and rock elements into a singular style. It also showcased the group’s multi-layered harmonies to stunning affect. The song attracted a bit of controversy because some people thought its lyrics made reference to marijuana, but “Along Came Mary” quickly became a Top-10 hit and stayed on the pop charts for most of the year.
The Association followed “Along Comes Mary” with another smash hit, “Cherish.” It was a lovely, richly-harmonized ballad punctuated with a distinctive ‘bell’ sound. Ironically, this song was not considered for single release but became a breakout hit when a disc jockey in Ohio began playing the song in heavy rotation. “Cherish” sold a million copies within a month of its release as single and became the band’s signature song.
The Association continued to place an array of hits on the pop charts through the end of 1968. Bouncy pop tunes like “Windy” alternated with trademark ballads like “Never My Love” and “Everything That Touches You.” The band also put out occasional experimental singles like the psychedelic “Pandora’s Golden Heebie Jeebies” and the impassioned anti-war song “Requiem For The Masses.” In the process, the group created a sound that broke down older listeners’ resistance to rock music with its lovely sense of melody and lush instrumentation.
During this time, the group added new member Larry Ramos to replace Alexander when he went on hiatus. Alexander rejoined the band in late 1968 and the now seven-piece unit broke new ground when they did the score for a feature film, Goodbye, Columbus, in 1969. Members came and went, but The Association continued to tour and record until 1975. The group reunited in 1980 to do a reunion concert special for HBO. It was a big success and led to a reunion album, Dreamer, in 1981.
The Association’s Greatest Hits sold over two million copies by 1989, proving the enduring popularity of the group’s sound. The Association continues to record and tour today, presenting their intricate yet accessible sound to fans new and old.
Artist Release History1966 - And Then... Along Comes The Association
1967 - Renaissance
1967 - Insight Out
1968 - Birthday
1968 - The Association's Greatest Hits
1969 - Goodbye, Columbus
1969 - The Association
1970 - The Association Live
1971 - Stop Your Motor
1972 - Waterbeds In Trinidad!
1981 - The Association
1986 - Songs That Made Them Famous (compilation)
1987 - The Association's Golden Heebie-Jeebies
1995 - The Association '95: A Little Bit More
2000 - Ten Best
Pop Sub Categoriespop
Essential Music AlbumsThe Association’s Greatest Hits (Warner Bros.)
Band MembersGary "Jules" Alexander lead vocals, guitar (1965-67, 1969-73)
Terry Kirkman keyboards, vocals, assorted instruments
Russ Giguere percussion, guitar, vocals (1965-70)
Ted Bleuchel drums, vocals
Brian Cole bass, vocals (1965-72)
Jim Yester rhythm guitar, vocals
Larry Ramos guitar, vocals (1967- )
Richard Thompson vocals, guitar, keyboards (1970-74)