Thursday, January 26, 2012

Forgotten Music Thursday: The Turtles

The Turtles are another one of those great bands from the 1960s that almost nobody except the baby boomers who came of age during the Lyndon Johnson Administration will remember. The quintet had a nice run during the second half of the decade as they landed many folk influenced soft-rock hits on Top 40 radio. Despite the political turbulence of the era their music was typical of the sunny, Southern California sound popular at the time, offering tight, pleasing harmonies and upbeat, melodic arrangements. Formed by Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman in Los Angeles the band began their career with a fine cover version of a Bob Dylan song, "It Ain’t Me, Babe" that became a top ten hit in 1965 and their popularity grew from there.

In short order they had two more hits, "Let Me Be" and "You Baby" and then in 1967 The Turtles became huge with the tune that really made them famous. "Happy Together," their only #1 record, was one of the most popular songs of the decade and if young people today know the band at all it will be through this monster chart-buster. Their follow-up to that smash hit was the exuberant "She'd Rather Be With Me" which went to #3. The group's next couple of years continued to be fruitful. They had successes with "You Know What I Mean," "She’s My Girl," "Elenore," "You Showed Me," "Can I Get To Know You Better," and more.

The team of Kaylan and Volman really were The Turtles. They led a band with a constantly changing supporting cast that at one time included Chip Douglas who later went on to produce The Monkees. After The Turtles disbanded the duo, believe it or not, did a complete musical metamorphosis by joining Frank Zappa in The Mothers of Invention followed by a separate career where they were known for a long time as Flo & Eddie. At various times they also sung with Bruce Springsteen, T. Rex, and Alice Cooper. In the '90s there was a Turtles reunion and Kaylan and Volman are still active in the new century as you can see on The Turtles official website.

Here are videos of The Turtles singing "She'd Rather Be With Me," and "Happy Together." Next is a live TV performance of "You Baby" and finally we'll close things out with Jimmy Durante introducing the band on TV apparently lip-syncing "Can I Get To Know You Better."

4 comments:

  1. Oh, I think folks remember "Happy Together" and then Flo and Eddie got them another audience, and then Salt and Pepa might've helped them a little with another yet with their cover of "You Showed Me"...

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  2. I loved THE TURTLES as a kid. Flo and Eddie certainly had a long and productive career.

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  3. What a fine band. "You Dont Have To Walk In The Rain" is another favourite.

    According to legend, they once played at the White House for Nixon's daughter's birthday party. Evidently they were her favourite band at the time. Also according to legend, the band members were completely stoned out of their minds at the occasion. I really want to believe that story is true.

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  4. Another thing: in 1978, Flo & Eddie produced the first and only LP by DMZ, themselves a prime example of Forgotten Music... "Mighty Idy" is a killer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8Bq_4vKUZs

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