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Association, The

giguere voc pop issued

Association, The, pop band, formed 1965. M EMBERSHIP: Gary “Jules” Alexander, lead gtr., voc. (b. Chattanooga, Term., Sept. 25, 1943); Terry Kirkman, brs., rds., pere, voc. (b. Salinas, Kans., Dec. 12, 1941); Jim Yester, rhythm gtr., kybd., voc. (b. Birmingham, Ala., Nov. 24, 1939); Russ Giguere, gtr., voc. (b. Portsmouth, N.H., Oct. 18, 1943); Brian Cole, bs., voc. (b. Tacoma, Wash., Sept. 8, 1942; d. Los Angeles, Aug. 2, 1972); Ted Bluechel Jr., drm. (b. San Pedro, Calif., Dec. 2, 1942); Russ Giguere was replaced by Richard Thompson (b. San Diego, Calif.) in 1971.

Hitting in 1966 with the psychedelic classic “Along Comes Mary,” The Association is best remembered for the softer and more urbane sound of pop hits such as “Cherish,” “Windy,” and “Never My Love” through 1968. Like the Byrds, the Association grew out of the vibrant folk-rock scene in Los Angeles. Kirkman and Alexander had the original idea to put a group together; both had been active on the scene (Kirkman playing briefly as a duo with Frank Zappa on the local coffeehouse circuit). They brought Cole and Yester into the group to form a quartet, and then Giguere and Bluechel joined while the band was rehearsing in mid-1965. They made their first public performance in Pasadena, Calif.

The group signed with a small local label, Valiant, which issued their first single, “Along Comes Mary,” in 1965. (Some conservative critics thought the song was drug-inspired, “Mary” being one of the names for marijuana; to modern ears the song sounds like a harmless pop love ballad.) This was followed by the group’s biggest hits, all pop-flavored ballads. Warner Bros, absorbed the Valiant label to purchase the group’s contract, and issued their single “Windy” in 1967 to much hype and fanfare. The group supplied the title song for the 1969 film Goodbye Columbus, but soon after their work fell off the charts. They took a more psychedelic-rock turn, but listeners were uninterested in hearing this sunny harmony group take on a more groovy persona.

Giguere left in 1971 and made a solo album issued also by Warner Bros. The Association suffered a crippling blow with the death of group mentor Brian Cole in 1972. The group pretty much disbanded in 1973. Ramos, Bluechel, and Yester released a single together in 1975, and the surviving members of the original group came back together in 1981. Giguere and Ramos have managed to keep the “Association” name alive with various touring groups to the present.

Assumption [next] [back] Association for the Study of Negro Life and History - WOODSON’S EARLY LIFE, WOODSON’S EDUCATION, NEGRO HISTORY WEEK, FUNDING THE ASSOCIATION, GREAT LEADERSHIP

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