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The Association

Their national break would come with the song "Along Comes Mary", written by Tandyn Almer. Alexander first heard the song when he was hired to play on a demo version and persuaded Almer to give the Association first crack at it. The song, which brought the group a bit of controversy at first due to "Mary" allegedly being slang for marijuana, went to No. 7 on the Billboard charts and led to the group's first album, And Then... Along Comes the Association, produced by Curt Boettcher, which had originally been started at Gary S. Paxton's converted garage studio with the vocals being done at Columbia Studios. Another song from the album, "Cherish", written by Kirkman, would become the Association's first No. 1 in September 1966 (covered 6 years later with great international success by David Cassidy.)

The group followed with their second album, Renaissance, released in late 1966. The band changed producers, dropping Boettcher in favor of Jerry Yester (brother of Jim and formerly of the Modern Folk Quartet, and later, a member of The Lovin' Spoonful). The album did not spawn any major hits (the highest charting single, "Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies" stalled at No. 35), and the album only reached No. 34, compared with a No. 5 showing for And Then... Along Comes the Association.

Jules Alexander (born September 25, 1943, Chattanooga, Tennessee) was in Hawaii in 1962 serving a stint in the Navy when he met Terry Kirkman (born December 12, 1939, Salina, Kansas, who had grown up in Chino, California, and attended Chaffey College as a music major), a visiting salesman. The two young musicians jammed together and promised to get together once Alexander was discharged. That happened a year later; the two eventually moved to Los Angeles and began exploring the city's music scene in the mid-1960s, often working behind the scenes as directors and arrangers for other music acts. At the same time, Kirkman played in groups with Frank Zappa for a short period before Zappa went on to form The Mothers of Invention.

Eventually, at a Monday night hootenanny at the LA nightclub The Troubadour in 1964, an ad hoc group called The Inner Tubes was formed by Kirkman, Alexander and Doug Dillard, whose rotating membership contained, at one time or another, Cass Elliot, David Crosby and many others who drifted in and out. This led in February 1965 to the forming of The Men, a 13 piece "folk-rock band", reportedly the very first use of this hybrid term. This group had a brief spell as the house band at The Troubadour.

After a short time, however, The Men disbanded, with six of the members electing to go out on their own. (Some of the remaining players continued on as Tony Mafia's Men, and one of the others, Mike Whalen, joined The New Christy Minstrels.) At the suggestion of Kirkman's then-fiancée, Judy, they took the name The Association. The original lineup consisted of Alexander (using his middle name, Gary, on the first two albums) on vocals and lead guitar; Kirkman on vocals and a variety of wind, brass and percussion instruments; Brian Cole on vocals, bass and woodwinds (born September 8, 1942 in Tacoma, Washington, and had played with the Portland folk group "Gnu Folk"); Russ Giguere (born October 18, 1943, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and moved to San Diego at age 4) on vocals, percussion and guitar; Ted Bluechel, Jr. (born December 2, 1942, San Pedro, California, who was first chair percussionist in the All Southern California High School Band while attending North Torrance High School and eventually moved on to El Camino College) on drums, guitar, bass and vocals; and Bob Page (born May 13, 1943) on guitar, banjo and vocals. However, Page was replaced by Jim Yester (born November 24, 1939, Birmingham, Alabama, who had played with his brother Jerry in the Yester Brothers before joining the army as a radar technician) on vocals, guitar and keyboards before any of the group's public performances.

The new band spent about five months rehearsing before they began performing around the Los Angeles area, most notably a regular stint at The Ice House in Pasadena (where Giguere had worked as lighting director) and its sister club in Glendale.[1] They also auditioned for record labels but faced resistance due to their unique sound. Eventually, the small Jubilee label issued a single of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" (a song originally recorded by Joan Baez, later popularized by Led Zeppelin), but nothing happened. Finally, Valiant Records offered them a contract, with the first result being a version of Bob Dylan's "One Too Many Mornings", which was produced by Valiant's owner, Barry De Vorzon, at Gold Star Studios.

The Men were first managed by Doug Weston, owner of the Troubador, before switching to actor Dean Fredericks, who remained on board when the Association was formed and helped get them the Valiant deal. In 1966 Fredericks turned the reins over to Pat Colecchio, who managed the group for the next eight years.

The Association is a pop music band from California in the sunshine pop genre. They are best known for their popularity in the 1960s, when they had numerous hits at or near the top of the Billboard charts. As of 2008, they are still performing.

They are also notable for being the lead-off band at 1967's Monterey Pop Festival, essentially the first multi-group rock festival. They are known for their tight vocal harmony.

50s, 60s Hits

Along Comes Mary
Never My Love

Members of this Group






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