Terry Kirkman, Co-Founder of the Association, and Composer of ‘Cherish,’ Dies

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The Association in a 1968 publicity photo; Terry Kirkman at right in bottom row (Photo from Wikipedia)

Terry Kirkman, an original member of the Association and the author of the vocal group’s hits “Cherish” and “Everything That Touches You,” died Sept. 23, 2023, in Montclair, Calif. His death was confirmed by Ruthann Friedman Carlisle, writer of the group’s hit “Windy,” and by the group on their official Facebook page, where they wrote, in part, “[Terry] will live on in our hearts and in the music he so brilliantly wrote. Sending hugs and lots of love to Heidi and Sasha! ❤” The cause of death was congestive heart failure following a long illness.. He was 83.

The Association was formed in 1965 by Jules Alexander (vocals, lead guitar), Kirkman (vocals, multiple instruments), Brian Cole (vocals, bass, woodwinds), Russ Giguere (vocals, percussion, guitar), Ted Bluechel (drums, guitar, bass, vocals) and Bob Page. Jim Yester (vocals, guitar, keyboards) replaced Page two weeks later, before the group had performed publicly. By 1967, Larry Ramos had replaced Alexander.

During their heyday in the second half of the ‘60s, initially on the Valiant label and later on Warner Bros., the group charted 11 songs on the Hot 100. Five reached the Top 10, beginning with 1966’s psychedelic “Along Comes Mary.”

Their very next single, Kirkman’s “Cherish,” a lush ballad that he also sang, reached #1 and was nominated for three Grammys. In 1967, they earned their second #1 single, “Windy,” which was followed by another ballad, “Never My Love,” which reached #2.

Related: The #1 singles of 1967

Their final Top 10 single, 1968’s “Everything That Touches You,” penned by Kirkman, showcased the group’s beautiful harmonies.

The group, often referred to as a “sunshine pop band,” earned several Gold albums. Their Greatest Hits album, released in 1968, was certified double Platinum in 1989.

Terry Kirkman (Photo from Wikipedia)

Terry Robert Kirkman was born December 12, 1939, in Salina, Kansas, and raised in Chino, Calif. He met Alexander in 1962 and the two friends moved to Los Angeles the following year, performing in a folk group. That group expanded into a 13-piece ensemble called The Men, and when it disbanded in 1965, Kirkman and five other members formed the group that would become the Association.

Related: Behind the scenes at the Monterey Pop Festival

In 1967, the Association performed as the opening act at the famed Monterey Pop Festival. That same year the band appeared on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, performing “Never My Love” and the solemn antiwar suite “Requiem For the Masses,” which Kirkman also wrote. Watch that clip below.

Kirkman left the group in 1972, returned to it in 1979 when it reunited after a split, then left again permanently in 1984. As a member of the Association, Kirkman was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003.

Watch the Association perform “Along Comes Mary” on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1968

Related: Musicians we’ve lost in 2023

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  1. JCB
    #1 JCB 26 September, 2023, 09:24

    One of the best pop / rock bands of the 60’s. Very tight. RIP Terry.

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