A primarily soft-rock and ballad band, the Association sold over 15 million records in the '60s. The group first formed when Terry Kirkman, who had played in several bands, including Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, and Jules Alexander recruited Brian Cole and Jim Yester (whose brother Jerry was a member of the Lovin' Spoonful). Russ Guguere and Ted Bluechel joined soon after, and following six months of rehearsal the band debuted in Pasadena.
The hits, most written by various group members, began in 1966 with the group's first single, "Along Comes Mary" (which some listeners believed was an ode to marijuana), and continued with the more romantic songs for which the Association is best remembered. "Cherish" (#1, 1966), "Windy" (#1, 1967), "Never My Love" (#2, 1967), and "Everything That Touches You" (#10, 1968). Its singles, including the theme song from the movie Goodbye Columbus ((1969), continued to chart but never again reached the Top 30. After an unsuccessful try at progressive rock from 1969 through 1973, the group faded from the charts and began working nightclubs. Several members (Ramos, Bluechel, Yester) released a single in 1975, but the Association attracted no further notice until early 1981, when all of the band's original surviving members (Cole died in 1972 of a heroin overdose) made a comeback attempt. Giguere and Ramos continued to tour with other musicians under the Association name into the '90s. In 1990, BMI designated "Never My Love" (along with the Beatles
' "Yesterday") one of the most often played songs in history.