In a somber note for music enthusiasts, Terry Kirkman, the prolific singer, and songwriter renowned for his contributions to the iconic 1960s folk ensemble, The Association, has left the stage of life at the age of 83. The news of his passing, reported by the venerable Los Angeles Times, marks the end of an era in the music world.
Born on December 12, 1939, in Salina, Kansas, Terry Kirkman’s journey through life’s musical tapestry took him from the heartland of America to the epicenter of creativity, Los Angeles, in 1963. His venture to the West Coast was in the company of his friend and fellow musician, Jules Gary Alexander. In the vibrant musical landscape of Los Angeles, Kirkman briefly collaborated with none other than the legendary Frank Zappa, leaving an indelible mark on his musical odyssey.
The genesis of Kirkman’s musical journey continued as he, along with Jules Gary Alexander, formed a group named the Inner Tubes. This formation would later evolve into a 13-piece ensemble aptly titled “the Men,” boasting luminaries like Cass Elliott and David Crosby among its ranks.
However, the winds of change brought Kirkman and Alexander to the formation of what would become a legendary musical entity—the Association. The lineup solidified with the addition of Russ Giguere, Ted Bluechel Jr., Brian Cole, and Bob Page, although Page would soon exit, making way for Jim Yester. This collective became synonymous with their intricate harmonies, showcasing the remarkable synergy of multiple vocalists.
In 1966, The Association introduced themselves to the world with their debut album, “And Then… Along Comes the Association.” The album featured timeless hits like “Along Comes Mary” and “Cherish,” the latter being a Kirkman creation that earned three Grammy Award nominations. The impact of their music was not only felt in the hearts of fans but also in the annals of music history when, in 2003, The Association was enshrined in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
Kirkman’s musical journey with The Association experienced its own ebbs and flows. He left the band in 1972, only to return when the group reformed in 1979. This rollercoaster ride with the band reached its final crescendo in 1984 when Kirkman retired from the music industry. In a profound shift, he transitioned into a new role as an addiction counselor, lending his expertise to those in need. Furthermore, Kirkman assumed the role of clinical director at the Musicians Assistance Program, now known as MusiCares, extending his influence and support to fellow musicians.
The passing of Terry Kirkman leaves a void in the world of music that can never be filled. His melodies and harmonies will forever echo through the corridors of musical history, a testament to the enduring power of his artistry. In the hearts of fans and the annals of music, Terry Kirkman’s legacy remains etched in gold—a reminder of the indomitable spirit of creativity that defines the world of music.
As we bid farewell to this musical maestro, we remember the joy he brought to our lives through his songs and the profound impact he made in both music and the realm of addiction counseling. Terry Kirkman may have taken his final bow, but his music lives on, a timeless treasure for generations to come.