It’s part of life, I suppose. Losing a friend. Losing a colleague. Losing a relative. Each loss has its own significance and each loss diminishes. It is also true of losing musicians who helped shaped personal taste and preferences. John Lennon is often (for instance) cited for his contribution to popular music and his too-soon passing in 1980. I recently discovered that Larry Ramos (of The Association) passed away earlier this year (April 30th). A memorial is being held on June 14th to celebrate the man and the musician.
That in mind, I thought brief retrospective in order.
Larry was born in Hawaii in 1942. Coming from a musical family, it is not surprising that he displayed his musicality from an early age. While in California he was enlisted to join The New Christy Minstrels (of “Green, Green” fame) and remained with the group for about four years. After a brief stint as a solo artist (he released one single… It’ll Take a Little Time) with Columbia Records he was invited to join The Association following the departure of Jules Alexander.
His arrival coincided with a very big year (1967) for the band. They were the opening act for the Monterey Pop Festival and released Insight Out (the band’s third album) with major hits Windy and Never My Love. Although Windy was the monster hit of the album at the time, Never My Love did well on the charts and now has the distinction of being (according to BMI) the second most-played song on radio and television of the 20th century. Larry and Terry (oft mentioned here) shared lead vocals on the song.
He also wrote some of the band’s songs and one of my Ramos favourites can be found both on the Goodbye Columbus movie soundtrack and Stop Your Motor. I’ve chosen the “Columbus” version of It’s Gotta Be Real just because it was recorded at a time when all group members were present (yes, Jules returned and Russ had not yet left).
Larry performed with the band during its later incarnations… his final concert was February 24th this year.