When I got tired of playing songs like “The Volga Boatman’s Song,” “The Old Folks at Home,” and the ever-popular “Etude #3” from Mel Bay’s Modern Guitar Method, Book 1, I asked my guitar teacher if I could please play something a little more modern. He said fine and told me to bring in a song that I wanted to do. I was back the following week with the sheet music for “Windy” by The Association. I’m not sure if I really wanted to play it, but it was either that or “Etude #4” by Mel Bay. (Note to parents: if your child wants to take guitar lessons and his or her prospective guitar teacher says “get a copy of Mel Bay’s Modern Guitar Method, Book 1,” find someone else.)
The Association were squeaky-clean, nicely dressed, and played catchy Top 40 music. And they even had a recorder player! (Wonder if he learned from Mel Bay’s Modern Recorder Method, Book 1?) Even our parents liked them. They grew out of a 13-piece folk-rock ensemble called The Men, who at one time was the house band at The Troubadour in Los Angeles. Their first hit, “Along Comes Mary,” our first song today, was issued in 1966 and rose to #7 on the Hot 100 and #9 on the Cash Box survey. Their next hit, “Cherish,” went all the way to #1 on both surveys. In 1967, Warner Brothers bought their record label; their first single for them, the aforementioned “Windy,” our second song, rose to #1 on both the Hot 100 and Cash Box. Their next hit, “Never My Love,” was their last big hit, reaching #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on Cash Box.
Original members Jules Alexander and Jim Yester have managed to keep the group alive, and, as their website tells us, performs year-round “as schedules permit.” There’s plenty more music on YouTube, including several complete albums.
The Association, your Two for Tuesday, January 20, 2015.