Terry Kirkman, Frontman and Co-Founder of the Association, Dies at 83 – Billboard
Written by GRB on 25/09/2023
Terry Kirkman, the singer, songwriter, and co-founder of the Association, a band that, during its heyday in the 1960s, landed major hits with “Windy,” “Cherish” and more, died Saturday (Sept. 23) at his home in Montclair, CA. He was 83.
“We’re saddened to report that Terry Kirkman passed away last night, RIP Terry,” reads a post on the Association’s official social channels. “He will live on in our hearts and in the music he so brilliantly wrote. Sending hugs and lots of love to Heidi and Sasha!”
Born in Salina, Kansas, Kirkman and his friend Jules Alexander relocated to Los Angles in the early ’60s, where the seeds for the Association were planted.
Early in his California journey, Kirkman played with Frank Zappa, before the late bandleader went on to form the Mothers of Invention.
Kirkman and Alexander were founders in the Men, which would disband, and from it the Association was formed in 1964. The folk-rock group peaked two years later with a string of recordings that also included “Along Comes Mary,” “Never My Love” and “Everything That Touches You.”
Known for their sharp sense of style and smooth harmonies, the Association opened the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, recognized as the first commercial American rock festival, with a bill including Jimi Hendrix and the Who, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, the Byrds, Canned Heat, and many more. They held their own among the legends of rock, onlookers noted at the time.
Kirkman wrote several hits for the Association, including “Cherish”, “Everything That Touches You”, and “Six Man Band,” and played a variety of wind, brass and percussion instruments on their recordings.
Kirkman left the Association at the end of 1972, following the release of seven albums, led by their 1966 debut And Then… Along Comes the Association. He returned to the fold in 1979, splitting once more in 1984 – having had enough of relentless touring.
That earlier ‘80s reunion included recording sessions which followed an appearance on the HBO special Then and Now. The Association did release a couple of singles for Elektra around that time — including “Dreamer,” which hit No. 66 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981.
Over the years, the Association was nominated for six Grammy Awards, and earned a Golden Globe nomination in 1970 for best original song, with “Goodbye Columbus.”
Various incarnations of the band continue to perform, and their albums have achieved three platinum and six gold RIAA certifications, according to the Association’s official site, with its Greatest Hits (via Warner Brothers) now double platinum.
Kirkman dies 20 years following the Association’s induction into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, in 2003. Bandmate Russ Giguere told his side of the band’s story in 2020’s Along Comes The Association: Beyond Folk Rock and Three-Piece Suits.
The artist died of congestive heart failure following a long illness, his wife Heidi Berinstein Kirkman confirmed to the Los Angeles Times.