A Quad-City musician joins fans around the world mourning the loss of a founder of an iconic band.
Josh Duffee, of Davenport, was more than a fan – although he certainly was that – of musician Terry Kirkman, who passed away Saturday. He also was a friend.
Kirkman was one of the founders of The Association, a band whose multiple hits include “Windy,” “Cherish,” and “Never My Love.”
According to Billboard, Terry Kirkman, the singer, songwriter, and co-founder of The Association, was 83 when he passed away Saturday at his Montclair, California home.
“I met Terry Kirkman (he’s on the left in the picture with Duffee) at the Rock Justice Awards event in Los Angeles on Jan. 18, 2019, where The Association were the recipient of the award,” Duffee said. Kirkman didn’t sing or perform that night, but watched the performance of the band, of which he was a founding member.
Kirkman was a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, lyricist, composer and arranger. Some of the songs he composed/co-composed for the band include “Cherish,” “Enter The Young,” “Requiem For The Masses,” “Come On In,” “Everything That Touches You,” “Look At Me, Look At You,” “Silver Morning,” and “Come The Fall,” says Duffee, whose own music was influenced by the band’s sound.
“I remember hearing ‘Enter The Young’ when I played their album ‘And Then … Along Comes The Association,’ and was immediately drawn to their sound and vocals. Every member of the band could contribute compositions or arrangements for the group to perform, and they could all harmonize their vocals beautifully together,” says Duffee, a multi-faceted musician himself.
“We had corresponded through letters and phone calls before the event in 2019, but this would be the first time I would get to meet him in person. Terry sat on the far left of the hall with his wife, Heidi, watching the concert. I was seated in the middle of the hall, and had a good view of them both from my seat,” Duffee remembers.
“It was an incredible feeling to hear the music he composed for the band, while seeing him in the same room,” Duffee said. “At the end of the concert, each member, current and past, received their Rock Justice Award. The award validated key artists of our time for their vital impact during the rock ‘n roll era. ”
After the awards were given, the current and past band members were invited to an after-party with the guests attending the event. “I was able to meet Terry Kirkman in person at the after party, where we visited for a few minutes before he greeted another guest. He was very happy to meet me in person since we had already corresponded by letter and phone.”
When Duffee told Kirkman he was from Davenport, Iowa, Kirkman said “That’s Bix Beiderbecke’s home town!”
“Terry was a big fan of jazz music from the 1920s-1940s, so he and I had a lot to talk about,” said Duffee, who often performs music from those eras. “I thanked him for all of the music he composed and lyrics he wrote for the band, and let him know that his music was still appreciated and loved by my family and me. He shook my hand and looked me in the eye and said ‘It means a lot to hear that. Thank you.’ As I was getting ready to walk away he said with a smile on his face ‘Call me and let’s chat more.'”
Duffee remembers growing up and hearing the music of The Association on local radio stations. “I’d call in to request their music to the local deejays so I could hear more selections,” he said. “I was drawn to the drumming of Ted Bluechel Jr, whom I also met for the very first time at the Rock Justice Awards.”
Duffee says the musicians in the group wrote songs that had beautiful lyrics, accompanied by a strong instrumental arrangement.
After Kirkman left the band, he became an addictions counselor, “where he was able to save countless lives,” Duffee says.
The Association still performs – 58 years after the band began – with founding members Jules Alexander and Jim Yester leading the way.
Hear “Windy” here.
Hear “Never My Love” here.
Hear “Requiem for the Masses” here.
Hear “Cherish” here.