Larry Ramos

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Larry Ramos
The Association 1968.JPG
Larry Ramos, with the musical group the Association, in 1968
Top row, from left: Jim Yester, Brian Cole, Ted Bluechel; bottom row, from left: Russ Giguere, Larry Ramos, Terry Kirkman
Hilario Ramos

(1942-04-19)April 19, 1942
DiedApril 30, 2014(2014-04-30) (aged 72)
OccupationSinger, guitarist, banjo player
m.1964–2014 (his death)
Children5 (2 sons, 3 daughters)

Larry Ramos (born Hilario Ramos; April 19, 1942 – April 30, 2014)[1] was a guitarist, banjo player, and vocalist with the 1960s American pop band the Association. In 1963, he won a Grammy with The New Christy Minstrels.[2]

Early years[edit]

Ramos, of Filipino descent[1] with a blend of Chinese and Spanish,[3] was born and raised in Waimea, Kauai County, Hawaii.[2] He was born to Larry Ramos, Sr. and Pat Ramos. His father operated pool halls in Honolulu, Kakaako and Kalaheo.[3][4] Ramos' father taught him how to play the ukulele, learning "My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean" at the age of 4.[5] He recalled practicing on the floor of the hotel gift shop where his mother worked and sleeping with the instrument so he could wake up and play.[5] He won a local music contest with his sister at the age of 5, and when he was 7, Ramos played ukulele on The Arthur Godfrey Show after winning a statewide ukulele contest organized by Godfrey.[5] That year, he also played ukulele and sang in the 1950 musical romance film Pagan Love Song starring Esther Williams after Arthur Freed heard him playing the song in Hawaii behind the counter at the gift shop where his Mother worked,[5] although his part, singing "The House of Singing Bamboo" was cut in the final edit to shorten the run time.[6]

In the early 1950s, the family moved to Bell, California.[7] At 13, he performed in the national tour of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musical The King and I, as understudy (to Patrick Adiarte) in the role of the crown prince of Thailand opposite Yul Brynner.[3][5] He performed the lead role with Leonard Graves and Patricia Morison in 1955 (when the movie was being filmed) at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, Canada.[8] Concerned that his education was inadequate, his mother withdrew him from the tour after a year[5] and he attended Bell High School, then majored in political science at East Los Angeles College and Cerritos College.[7]


The New Christy Minstrels[edit]

He joined The New Christy Minstrels, an American folk music group, in 1962.[7] The group served as a backup band on The Andy Williams Show.[1] At the audition, he noted he was "the only brown kid in the group" and he did not hear back from them for a few weeks.[5] When they called him back, they said the delay resulted from clearing him with the show's producers, as he would be the only non-white in the group.[5][7] Ramos settled into a role providing vocals and playing banjo as well as other stringed instruments.[1] He was noted as being "one of the more popular ones" as he "stood out like a sore thumb."[5]

They recorded their 1962 debut album, Presenting The New Christy Minstrels, which subsequently won a 1963 Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Chorus. Ramos toured almost every day for three years after joining the group.[5] While on tour, he met and married his wife, in Reno, Nevada,[5][9] originally from Grangeville, Idaho.[6] He was there the day his wife delivered twin daughters, but did not see his family again until the girls were aged six months, prompting him to quit the group in January 1966[7] because he "wanted to watch his children grow up."[5] The producers of the group vowed he would never work in music again.[5]

The Association[edit]

After quitting The New Christy Minstrels, Ramos worked as a studio musician and back-up singer,[5] releasing a solo single in 1966,[7] "It'll Take A Little Time"[10] (later collected in the 2002 album Anthology: Just The Right Sound by The Association).[11]

In 1967, a member of The Association asked Ramos to join the band because their lead guitarist, Jules Gary Alexander, was planning to leave the group for a spiritual pilgrimage to India.[5][7] According to Ramos, he went to watch the band while they were touring in the San Francisco Bay Area to get a feel for their music, but after the bass player, Brian Cole, injured his fingers in a firecracker accident,[7] Alexander asked Ramos to go on as the lead guitarist with a few hours' notice. Ramos recalled he learned the chords after listening to the band's two albums for two hours.[7]

Later that year, Ramos performed with the band at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. While he was with The Association, he recorded five studio albums and several singles.[2] Most notably, Ramos contributed his voice to the hit singles "Windy" (lead vocals by Russ Giguere and Ramos) and "Never My Love" (lead vocals by Terry Kirkman and Ramos) from The Association's first studio album with Ramos, the gold-selling Insight Out.[7]

Ramos left The Association in 1975 due to differences over the group’s music, but reunited with the surviving members in 1979.[3] In 1984, Ramos and Russ Giguere acquired the rights to the name 'The Association' and Ramos was considered its leader.[7]

On February 24, 2014, Ramos gave his final performance with the band,[2] two sold-out shows at the Blue Fox Theatre[12] in Grangeville, Idaho, with proceeds to benefit a local Relay For Life.[13]

After Larry's death, his role in the group was taken over by his brother, Del Ramos.

Illness and death[edit]

Ramos, a longtime resident of Grangeville, Idaho since the 1980s,[12] had numerous ailments over his last few years.[1] On August 31, 2011, he suffered a heart attack.[3] In 2013, he was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. He died at a hospital in Clarkston, Washington on April 30, 2014 at age 72.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Passings: Larry Ramos, Billy Frank Jr". Los Angeles Times. May 5, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Swanson, Dave (May 7, 2014). "Larry Ramos of the Association Dies at Age 72". Ultimate Classic Rock.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Harada, Wayne (May 4, 2014). "Larry Ramos (1942-2014)". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Larry Ramos April 19, 1942 - April 30, 2014". Lewiston Morning Tribune. May 4, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Bauer, Jennifer K (19 February 2014). "The Association's Larry Ramos says farewell after a career that took him from childhood stardom to the top of the Billboard". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Inland360. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  6. ^ a b Ramos, Larry (19 February 2014). "'It's probably why I became a singer... ': Ramos talks on career beginnings, The Association" (Interview). Interviewed by David Rauzi. Idaho County Free Press. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ramos, Larry (11 April 2013). "Into the next stage: Interview with Larry Ramos of the Association" (Interview). Interviewed by Guy Aoki. The Rafu Shimpo. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Palmer, Lorie (July 2008). "A Familiar Face In Small-Town Idaho" (PDF). Ruralite. pp. 12–13. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  10. ^ "It'll Take A Little Time" at Discogs
  11. ^ Anthology: Just The Right Sound (2002) at Discogs (list of releases)
  12. ^ a b Palmer, Lorie (5 February 2014). "The Association: Ramos to offer 'farewell concert' Feb. 24". Idaho County Free Press. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Larry Ramos, The Association concert raises $17,000 for Relay for Life". Idaho County Free Press. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2016.

External links[edit]