Terry Kirkman, the Association founding member and singer, dies at 83

Terry Kirkman, the Association founding member and singer, dies at 83

Terry Kirkman, founding member and singer of the '60s folk-rock outfit the Association, died on Sept. 23 at 83. His death was announced by the band on Facebook.

"We're saddened to report that Terry Kirkman passed away last night," the band wrote on Facebook. "RIP Terry. He will live on in our hearts and in the music he so brilliantly wrote."

Kirkman was born in Kansas in 1939 but was raised in Chino, Calif. After heading to Los Angeles with fellow musician Jules Gary Alexander, another co-founder of the Association, he spent time playing in bands with Frank Zappa. He then formed a group called the Inner Tubes, which counted musicians such as Cass Elliot and David Crosby among its members at times. That band transformed into the Men.

Terry Kirkman
Terry Kirkman

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images Terry Kirkman of The Association

Kirkman and Alexander founded the Association after the Men disbanded in 1965. The band was formed with Russ Giguere, Ted Bluechel Jr., Brian Cole, and Bob Page. The band quickly found success with songs like "Cherish," written by Kirkman, and "Along Comes Mary" from the debut album And Then... Along Comes the Association.  They were ultimately nominated for six Grammy Awards, including three nominations for "Cherish" on that debut recording.

They would be recognized for songs with rich harmonies sung by co-lead vocalists Kirkman, Giguere, and Larry Ramos. Those vocals eventually landed them in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. The Association also performed at the legendary Monterrey Pop Festival in 1967. They were the first band to take the stage for the weekend.

Kirkman would leave the band in 1972 after the Association released their seventh album. However, he rejoined for a five-year stretch starting in 1979. He would retire from performing after leaving the Association a second time. Kirkman went on to become an addictions counselor and spent time as the clinical director of the Musicians Assistance Program, now known as MusiCares, per Pitchfork.

Kirkman is survived by his wife Heidi, daughter Sasha, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren.

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