A fascinating and enigmatic footnote to the West Coast pop scene of the late 1960s, pianist, composer, and producer Tandyn Almer is best known for writing the Association's classic "Along Comes Mary." Virtually nothing is known of Almer's origins and upbringing.
In 1965, Associate Jules Alexander was hired by producer Curt Boettcher to play on a demo of "Along Comes Mary," and was so impressed by the song he asked if his group could record it officially. Released in 1966, the single emerged as a blockbuster, defining the Association's pioneering harmony pop sound. It should have made Almer one of the hottest songwriters in Los Angeles, but he never again scored a major hit. That doesn't mean he was missing in action, however, any number of obscure psych pop singles bear Almer's writing and production credits, among them the Paper Fortress' "Sleepy Hollow People," the Garden Club's "Little Girl Lost and Found," Pleasure's "Poor Old Organ Grinder," and Dennis Olivieri's full-length Come to the Party. He and Boettcher also teamed to write another Association song, "Message of Our Love," as well as Sagittarius' "Musty Dusty." In 1969, Almer recorded his lone solo single, "Degeneration Gap," for Warner Bros.; he also was credited alongside Brian Wilson as a co-writer on a handful of Beach Boys efforts, including "Sail On, Sailor," and "Marcella." In the mid-'70s, Tandyn Almer moved to Washington, D.C., taking odd jobs and writing songs, but his bipolar disorder impacted his ability to be consistent within his music or relationships. By the '90s, rumors circulated that he had died. He was alive and penniless, but still writing songs. In 2011 he developed serious health problems, resulting in the partial amputation of his left leg. On January 8, 2013 Almer died at his home in Washington D.C. at age 70. In March 2013, Sundazed released Along Comes Tandyn containing 15 rare demos from the mid-'60s. ~ Jason Ankeny & Al Campbell