The Turtles

Gary: “Lets take a look at a rather Happy Band with good harmonies from Los Angles that peaked in the Mid-Sixties.  This band had two people who made it work, two prominent singers – Howard Kaylan (‘Eddie’) and Mark Volman (‘Flo’ a.k.a. ‘The Fluorescent Leech’, and these guys continued to make it work for some time.

The played happy music, not hard edged Rock and Roll, kind of a combination of Folk and Surf,  but a very enjoyable band…

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The Turtles!

Videos:

Shindig “It Ain’t Me Babe” (a Bob Dylan song)

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1966 / You Baby /
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1967 / Happy Together /
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1967 / She’d Rather be with me /
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1969 / Elenore  

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The Turtles
(1965–1966)
  • Howard Kaylan – vocals
  • Mark Volman – guitar, saxophone, vocals
  • Al Nichol – guitar
  • Jim Tucker – guitar
  • Chuck Portz – bass
  • Don Murray – drums
The Turtles
(1966)
  • Howard Kaylan – vocals
  • Mark Volman – guitar, saxophone, vocals
  • Al Nichol – guitar
  • Jim Tucker – guitar
  • Chuck Portz – bass
  • Joel Larson – drums
The Turtles
(1966)
  • Howard Kaylan – vocals
  • Mark Volman – guitar, saxophone, vocals
  • Al Nichol – guitar
  • Jim Tucker – guitar
  • Chip Douglas – bass
  • John Barbata – drums
The Turtles
(1967–1968)
  • Howard Kaylan – vocals
  • Mark Volman – guitar, saxophone, vocals
  • Al Nichol – guitar
  • Jim Tucker – guitar
  • Jim Pons – bass
  • John Barbata – drums
The Turtles
(1968–1969)
  • Howard Kaylan – vocals
  • Mark Volman – guitar, saxophone, vocals
  • Al Nichol – guitar
  • Jim Pons – bass
  • John Barbata – drums
The Turtles
(1969–1970)
  • Howard Kaylan – vocals
  • Mark Volman – guitar, saxophone, vocals
  • Al Nichol – guitar
  • Jim Pons – bass
  • John Seiter –

1.   It Ain’t Me Babe/ White Whale 222/ August 1965/ #8

2.   Let Me Be/ White Whale 224/ November 1965/ #29

3.   You Baby/ White Whale  227/ February 1966/ #20

4.   Happy Together/ White Whale 244/ May 1967/ #1 (3)

5.   She’d Rather Be With You/ White Whale 249/ May 1967/ #3

6.   You Know What I Mean/ White Whale 254/ August 1967/ #12

7.    She’s My Girl/ White Whale 260/ December 1967/ #14

8.   Eleonore/ White Whale 276/ October 1968/ #6

9.   You Showed Me/ White Whale 292/ January 1969/ #6


Having begun their career playing in college-based surf instrumental groups, “The Nightriders” and “The Crossfires“, this Westchester, Los Angeles-based sextet abruptly switched to Beat music during 1964 in imitation of the Beatles. The line-up comprised Howard Kaylan (Howard Kaplan, 22 June 1947, the Bronx, New York, USA; vocals, saxophone) and Mark Volman (b. 19 April 1947, Los Angeles, California, USA; vocals, saxophone), backed by Al Nichol (b. 31 March 1945, North Carolina, USA; piano, guitar), Jim Tucker (b. 17 October 1946, Los Angeles, California, USA; guitar), Chuck Portz (b. 28 March 1945, Santa Monica, California, USA; bass) and Don Murray (b. 8 November 1945, Los Angeles, California, USA, d. 22 March 1996; drums).


By the summer of 1965 they found themselves caught up in the Folk Rock boom and, impressed by the success of local rivals The Byrds, they elected to call themselves “The Tyrtles“.

That idea was soon dropped, but as “The Turtles“, they slavishly followed The Byrds blueprint, covering a Bob Dylan song, ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ to considerable effect (the song reached US #8 in autumn 1965).

After rejecting ‘Eve Of Destruction’ as a possible follow-up, they used the services of its composer, the new ‘king of protest’ P.F. Sloan. His pen provided two further US hits, ‘Let Me Be’ (# 29, October 1965) and ‘You Baby’ (#20, February 1966) before their commercial appeal wilted.

The psychedelic boom of 1967 saw a change in the band’s image and coincided with line-up fluctuations resulting in the induction of drummer John Barbata and successive bass players Chip Douglas and Jim Pons (ex-Leaves).

The exuberant ‘Happy Together’ revitalized their chart fortunes, hitting the #1 spot in the US in February 1967, and providing the band with their first UK hit when it reached #12 in March. (The song has now achieved classic status and is a perennial turntable hit.)

The follow-up ‘She’d Rather Be With Me’ (U.S. #3/UK #4) was another zestful sing-along establishing the Turtles, now minus Tucker, as expert pop craftsmen.

The mid-tempo ‘You Know What I Mean’ (US #12) and ‘Elenore’ (US #6/UK #7) were also impressive, with the usual sprinkling of affectionate parody that worked against the odds.

The Turtles hardly looked like pop stars but sang delightfully anachronistic teen ballads and ended their hit career by returning to their Folk Rock roots, courtesy of ‘You Showed Me’ (US #6, January 1969), first recorded by the Byrds in 1964.

With a final touch of irony their record company issued the once rejected ‘Eve Of Destruction’ as one of their final singles.

After the band dissolved, Kaylan and Volman (with Pons) joined Frank Zappa and his Mothers Of Invention and later emerged as Flo And Eddie, recording solo albums and offering their services as producers and backing singers to a number of prominent artists.

Volman and Kaylan later revived the band, as the Turtles… Featuring Flo And Eddie, for touring purposes. Don Murray died following complications during surgery in 1996.

–o–

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One response to “The Turtles

  1. Can you tell me where I can download Number 5 She’d Rather Be With Me …that version White Wale 249?

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