Once upon a time, The Association owned a large chunk of the pop-rock landscape.
During the late 1960s, the group charted numerous radio-friendly hits such as “Cherish,” “Never My Love,” “Windy” and “Along Comes Mary.”
Fifty years later, those classic songs have sustained the group who maintain a loyal following.
“It’s just amazing to see these 70-year-old people turn back into kids when we play those songs,” says Jules Alexander, lead guitarist, vocalist and co-founder member of The Association. “We have a shared body of experience with our audience and it’s so much fun to play for them.”
The Association is also sharing an experience with five other headline artists of the ’60s and ’70s when The Happy Together Tour returns to Phoenix’s Celebrity Theater at 8 p.m. Friday, July 21.
The acclaimed summer tour is back and will feature 53 Billboard hits and some of the biggest songs of the era. In addition to the Association, the lineup includes The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, The Box Tops, The Cowsills, Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night and The Archies’ Ron Dante.
The Association is one of the most popular and successful bands to have come out of the ’60s. They have sold millions of records and have seven Grammy Award nominations, and kicked off the historic Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.
“It was a magical time and I remember having a great talk with Janis Joplin that weekend,” Alexander says. “We were backstage and just started talking about this, that and the other. It was the coolest thing.”
He also thinks being a part of The Happy Together tour is cool, too.
“I’ve known some of these folks and maintained a relationship with them for more than 50 years and then we’ve made some new friends, like the Cowsills, who are the funniest and most interesting people I think I’ve ever met in the music business,” Alexander says.
Alexander says he also likes the format of the show, which allots each band 20 minutes to play its greatest hits.
“We’d always want to play more but it’s fun to go out there and go petal to the metal,” Alexander says. “If you’re doing 30 songs, you have to pace yourself. On this tour, we don’t have to worry about it.”
The Happy Together Tour, Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd Street, Phoenix, 602.267.1600, celebritytheatre.com, 6 p.m., $38 and $65.