Gary: On my way home from the Golf Course today, I turned on Sirus Radio and chose “Sixties on Six” with Pat St. John. Have you ever really loved a song, but not the group as much. Well this exists for me.
This group from California, I really enjoy, but one song just does it for me. Now in talking with my friends (the real musicians), Paul Denyes (Piano and vocals), he once made the statement that when playing at Hidden Valley (a ski/golf resort in Ontario) around 65/66 this group played there. He said it was one of the biggest and one of the most “full” sounds he had ever head. One of the originators of the group plays over a dozen instruments, their vocal harmonies where second to none and they where one of the most advanced groups technically in recording at that time.
Now before I get to the group, My Song was, and is, the #2 Song for Airplay in the 20th Century “Never my Love”. The #1, well OK, it is the Phil Spector Song featuring the Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” and now the…
The group in 1968
Top row, from left: Jim Yester (singer/guitarist), Brian Cole (electric bass, vocals), Ted Bluechel (drums, bg vocals); bottom row, from left: Russ Giguere (guitar, vocals, perc), Larry Ramos (vocals, guitar, banjo), Terry Kirkman (singer/songwriter, brass, perc)
1967 / Along Comes Mary /
1967 / Cherish / (Larry Ramos introducing the song)
1967 / Windy / Highland Park Illinois /
1. Along Comes Mary/ Valiant 741/ June 1966/ #7 Billboard
2. Cherish/ Valiant 747/ Sept. 1966/ #1 (3) Billboard
3. Pandora’s Golden Heebie Jeebies (Sunset Strip Nightclub Pandora’s Box/ Dec 66/ #35 Billboard
4. Windy/ Warner 7041/ June 1967/ #1 (4) Billboard
5. Never My Love (Gary’s favourite)/ Warner 7074/ September 1967/ #2 (2) Billboard
6. Everything that touches You/ Warner 7163/ February 1968/ #10 Billboard
7. Time for Livin’/ Warner 7195/ June 1968/ #39 Billboard
The Association was formed in 1965 after the breakup of an eleven-man electric “folk” group called THE MEN, the first “folk rock” group in America.
The six-man Association rehearsed for five solid months and then began performing at nightclubs (The Troubador, The Icehouse, etc.), coffeehouses, folk clubs, high schools, colleges, proms and parties throughout California.
The intense rehearsal and hard work paid off. Before the release of their first album, the group had a fan base exceeding twenty-five thousand. That base soon became millions as “Along Comes Mary” and “Cherish”, both from their first album, topped the charts.
The Association is the first electric group to break through the anti-rock biases in many of the major venues across the country. They were the first electric group to perform at Hollywood’s Greek Theatre, The Coconut Grove, The Copacabana, Tanglewood Music Festival, Blossom Music Festival, The Latin Casino, Saratoga Performing Arts Center and Ravinia Park.
In 1967 The Association was given the honor of opening the first international pop festival in America, The Monterey Pop Festival.
The Association appeared on every major television variety show at the time — Ed Sullivan (twice), The Smothers Brothers (three times), American Bandstand (again and again), Shindig, The Carson Show, The Cavett Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Carol Channing Special…the list goes on and on.
However, being on the road for so many years, with over two thousand concerts and television performances, inevitably took its toll, and the group began parting ways in 1972 to pursue individual careers and interests.
After a one-time-only reunion for a cable TV music special in 1979, The Association, with much industry encouragement, got it together again and put in on the road.
Members for the 1985 Hits Tour
“On the road” is right. During the last five years, The Association has sung and played every state in the Union, most of the Canadian provinces, Bermuda, Athens, the Phillipines, the major showrooms in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, The Happy Together Tour 1984, music festivals, colleges, fairs, every large theme park on the continent, supper clubs, hotels and conventions, television shows (Tom Snyder Show, John Davidson Show, Mike Douglas Show, American Bandstand, Solid Gold Summer Special), and countless local radio and television interviews.
Here is what Mark Faris said of The Association in a review:
“Remarkably, not only did the six-man band sound as fresh as it did in the old days, it looked even fresher…dancing and laughing throughout the show, the finely-tuned outfit swept through the room like a summer breeze complete with blue skies and sunshine, smoothly and confidently exchanging leads, then blending in precision vocal harmonies. Jules Alexander, Larry Ramos, and Russ Giguere (who looks like a combination of Clint Eastwood and David Bowie, with a touch of Dance Fever) wasted no time in refreshing the crowd’s memories.”
The bottom line is simple. They’re looking and sounding better than ever! (castproductions)