The Association is a pop / rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1965. Although the group’s members preferred to be called a rock band, they have since been categorized as a sunshine pop band thanks to their creative use of layered vocal harmonies. After meeting in Hawaii, Tennessee-born Jules Gary Alexander and Kansas transplant Terry Kirkman relocated to Los Angeles, California in 1963 and played together in folk rock band called The Men. Eventually, Alexander and Kirkman left and formed the vocal harmony-heavy sextet The Association with Jim Yester (guitar), Brian Cole (bass), Russ Giguere (guitar), and Ted Bleuchel, Jr. (drums). Their first big hit single was “Along Comes Mary” in 1966. It went to number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August that year followed quickly by “Cherish,” which topped the chart in September and earned three Grammy Award nominations. Both songs were featured on the group’s debut album, And Then Along Comes The Association (1966), which reached number 5 on the Billboard 200. After their second album, Renaissance (1966), Alexander left the band and was replaced by former New Christy Minstrels member Larry Ramos (guitar). Their single “Windy” topped the chart in 1967 and also earned a Grammy nomination. “Never My Love” earned them another Grammy nomination and peaked at number 2 in the same year. Their third album, Insight Out (1967) rose to number 8 on the Billboard 200 and earned The Association a Grammy nomination. After the release of their fourth album, Birthday (which included the number 10 hit “Everything That Touches You”) in 1968, Jules Alexander returned, and The Association became a seven-member band. However, after the release of Greatest Hits (1969) and appearances on the Goodbye Columbus soundtrack, the group’s sound fell out of favor when heavier rock became more popular with music buyers. After the release of their self-titled album in 1969 and The Association Live (1970), Russ Giguere left the Association and was replaced by Richard Thompson (not to be confused with the British folk artist). The group’s next two albums - Stop Your Motor (1971) and Waterbeds in Trinidad (1972) – failed to chart and their popularity continued to decline. Bassist Brian Cole died of a heroin overdose on August 2, 1972, and the group soldiered on with various line-ups until 1978. Several members of the group were involved with various reunions since then, but they seldom released new recordings and they became a beloved attraction when ‘oldies’ package tours became popular. Larry Ramos was involved with various incarnations of The Association until his death on April 30, 2014. Founding member Terry Kirkman, who wrote their biggest hit “Cherish,” died on September 23, 2023, at the age of 83.